You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hurd hears Craney’s ‘Whisper’

Tale of Navajo codemakers optioned by Pacific Western

Producer Gale Anne Hurd hopes to break the code of silence surrounding a group of Navajo Indians and their contribution to the U.S. military during World War II.

Her Pacific Western Prods. has optioned rights to Glen Craney’s Nicholl Fellowship-winning screenplay “Whisper the Wind,” which chronicles the story of a group of young Navajos who developed a code used by the Marines in the Pacific Theater. The code was never broken by the Japanese armed forces.

Pacific Western is developing “Wind” as a feature film in association with Los Angeles-based Red Horse Native Prods.

While Hurd is best known for big-ticket sci-fi action blockbusters such as “Armageddon,” “Aliens” and “Terminator 2,” “Wind” likely will be closer in spirit to “The Waterdance,” a critically acclaimed 1992 niche pic she produced.

Codetalkers to help

The filmmakers will get help from the Navajo Codetalkers Assn., a nonprofit group of veterans involved in developing and implementing the code.

“We’re very happy that our story is finally being told,” said Sam Billison, president of the association. “Until 1968, the military had kept our existence classified. The movie will hopefully preserve the memory of our accomplishments, and serve to educate our people about our pride and part in helping to win the war.”

The film will be shot partly on location on the 17-million-acre Navajo reservation, which has a population of 200,000 and spreads across Arizona, western New Mexico and Utah.

Lived on reservation

First-time screenwriter Craney spent six months living on the reservation researching the story.

” ‘Whisper the Wind’ is a fascinating story about the sacrifice and heroism which balances action with compelling characters,” said Hurd, who is developing the project along with Native American filmmakers Valerie Red-Horse, Yvonne Russo and Dawn Jackson.

More Film

  • Loureiro’s Abano, Aragón’s Caribe Music Team

    Chelo Loureiro, Emilio Aragón Team on Animated ‘Valentina’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES – Spanish producer-turned director Chelo Loureiro of Galicia’s Ábano Producións has teamed with Spanish multi-hyphenate Emilio Aragón at Caribe Music to produce the upcoming animated feature “Valentina.” Valentina turns on a girl who is tired of having Down syndrome, and believes it to be the reason she’ll never be a trapeze artist. But Valentina’s [...]

  • Morelia Brings Four Shorts To Cannes

    Morelia’s Daniela Michel Presents Four Standout Mexican Shorts at Critics' Week

    Since 2005, the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week and Mexico’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM) have enjoyed a reciprocal relationship. Each year, a selection of short competition films from Morelia is shown in a special selection at Critics’ Week, with the features from the Cannes section screening five months later in Morelia. The short film [...]

  • Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction

    Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES–Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk and his Art Pictures Studio have released the English-subbed teaser to “Attraction 2,” the sequel to Bondarchuk’s 2017 sci-fi blockbuster, which Variety has acquired exclusively. The director behind record-breaking Russian films such as World War II epic “Stalingrad” was in Cannes this week, where he presented footage from Art Pictures’ slate of upcoming [...]

  • Gkids Takes North American Rights for

    Gkids Takes North American Rights for ‘Weathering With You’

    CANNES–Gkids, the U.S. distributor of 11 best animated feature Oscar nominees, has acquired North American rights for “Weathering With You,” the new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura. Gkids has set an awards-qualifying run for 2019 with a theatrical release in early 2020, in both the original Japanese and a new English-language [...]

  • Transilvania Film Fest Launches New SVOD

    Transilvania Film Fest Launches New SVOD Platform

    CANNES–The Transilvania Intl. Film Festival has announced a new SVOD service, TIFF Unlimited, which will launch during the festival’s 18th edition, which bows May 31 in Cluj, Romania. The service will curate titles from current and previous editions of the festival, while also showcasing other hand-picked auteur-driven productions, presented in partnership with local distributors. It [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content