A unique Award-winning Feature Length Documentary Film
from David P. Crews

Link to TRAILER in a new window

A Circle in the Desert

It's the News and Updates Page!
Here, we'll post updates and progress reports on the making of the film and beyond.
(The most current news is at the top.)

January, 2024:

YouTube Views have leveled off after reaching more than 24,000.

This is probably due to the YouTube search and recommendation algorithms having reached as many people as they will naturally do. Further growth will hopefully be generated with more word-of-mouth, marketing, and exposure. So, please tell your friends!

To help this, I am about to release select excerpted segments from the film that may help entice casual surfers to try a shorter part of the film and, hopefully, be intrigued enough then to watch the entire documentary. The first one will be "In Goblin Valley."

I have one new WIN to announce!
On January 15th, the film won Best Nature Film from the Berlin New Wave Film Festival! This brings the total award wins to 44.
This is the third win in Berlin from one of that city's several great film festivals.
I also was surprised with an actual REVIEW of the film by the director of that festival!

Here is his unsolicited review in full:

"A Circle in the Desert" isn't merely a documentary or a travelogue; it's a poetic expression of the filmmaker's soul-searching journey. It invites audiences to join the quest for meaning, urging them to connect with the natural world and find inspiration in the vastness of the American West. The film is not just a visual feast for the eyes but a contemplative exploration of the human spirit in harmony with the land.

What sets the film apart is its unique blend of visual storytelling, introspection, and a quest for meaning in the vast wilderness. The film transcends conventional boundaries, offering audiences a chance to witness the ineffable through the lens of Crews' camera. The cinematography captures the grandeur and intricacies of the landscape, allowing viewers to vicariously experience the spiritual journey as it unfolds on screen.

David P. Crews wears many hats in the production, serving as director, writer, producer, key cast member, and even composer. This multifaceted involvement lends a personal touch to the film, creating an intimate connection between the creator and the subject matter. The film becomes more than a visual spectacle; it transforms into a reflective exploration of the human connection with nature and the quest for deeper understanding.

The soundtrack, composed by Crews himself, complements the visual narrative, enhancing the emotional and spiritual resonance of the film. The choice to take on such varied roles demonstrates Crews' commitment to creating an authentic and immersive cinematic experience.”


Earlier Updates

July 23, 2023:

A Circle in the Desert – YouTube Views are Climbing!
Plus, Links to Free Streaming of the Full Film and to the Full Orchestral Score:

The film was placed on YouTube for free public streaming (no password) on May 9, 2023 on my JaguarFeather Studios Channel.

As of this writing, there have been over 15,800 views of the film. Over 1,100 of those viewers watched the entire film! For an independent film with no advertising or other social marketing, this is phenomenal growth and awareness of it in an entirely "organic" way.

I've also received a few comments from some of those viewers. All positive so far. Here is my favorite one:

"This was FANTASTIC. As a Southern Utah native you did my state justice. I seriously loved all the questions you asked. Because I have asked myself these very same questions. Everyone has a different reason to why they love the desert, but it really is such a magical, spiritual, and special place. It has such a different feeling to anywhere else in the country. And that is why I will live in the Southwest until my last breath! Thank you for creating this masterpiece!"

Here are the live links to the Full Film on YouTube, and

the Full Orchestral Score, – the music only, without narration.

May 1, 2023:

A Circle in the Desert – SPECIAL AWARDS UPDATE:

I have to say that I am absolutely AMAZED with the response of the film festivals to my film!
A Circle in the Desert has now been honored with a total of 41 national and international awards, so far, from festivals in sixteen cities in nine countries worldwide!
Honestly, I did not ever dream that the film would win this many awards in the film festival circuit, which is crowded with many thousands of films, all competing for a few top awards!
Here is a comprehensive list of what the film has won up to this point. There are still a few festivals that A Circle in the Desert is entered into, so there is a chance for even more.
[For this list, "Award" means any commendation above the initial "Official Selection" level.]

New York International Film Awards (New York City, USA):
• WINNER: Best Inspirational Film
• FINALIST: Best Cinematography

Accolade Global Film Competition (La Jolla, USA):
• WINNER: "Award of Excellence" Scriptwriting
• WINNER: “Award of Merit Special Mention” Documentary Feature
• WINNER: “Award of Merit Special Mention” Original Score

London Independent Film Awards (London, England):
• WINNER: Best Original Score

Los Angeles Film Awards (Los Angeles, USA):
• SEMI-FINALIST: Best Inspirational Film
• SEMI-FINALIST: Best Original Score

Milan Gold Awards (Milan, Italy):
• WINNER: Gold: Best Original Score

Chicago Indie Film Awards (Chicago, USA):
• WINNER: Best Cinematography

Rome Prisma Independent Film Awards (Rome, Italy):
• FINALIST: Best Feature Documentary

White Vulture Film Festival (New Jersey, USA):
• WINNER: Best US Feature Film

Berlin International Art Film Festival (Berlin, Germany):
• NOMINEE: Best Indie Feature Film
• NOMINEE: Best Composer
• WINNER: Best Cinematography

Red Movie Awards (Reims, France):
• FINALIST: Documentary
• FINALIST: Cinematography
• FINALIST: Original Score

Snow Leopard International Film Festival (Madrid, Spain):

Vegas Movie Awards (Las Vegas, USA):
• WINNER: Excellence: Best Nature Film (Extra Award from the Festival)
• WINNER: Prestige: Best Inspirational Film
• WINNER: Merit: Best Original Score

Toronto Film & Script Awards (Toronto, Canada):
• WINNER: Best Feature Documentary

Melbourne Independent Film Festival (Melbourne, Australia):
• SEMI-FINALIST: Best Cinematography
• SEMI-FINALIST: Best Music Score

Sensei Tokyo Film Fest (Tokyo, Japan):
• FINALIST: Best Feature Documentary
• FINALIST: Best Cinematography (Festival’s Choice)
• FINALIST: Best Film Essay (Festival’s Choice)
• FINALIST: Best Nature Documentary (Festival’s Choice)

MAGMA Film Awards (Honolulu, USA):
• NOMINEE: Best Feature Documentary
• NOMINEE: Best Documentary Cinematography
• NOMINEE: Best Performative Documentary

Lonely Wolf International Film Festival (London, England):
• NOMINEE: Best Feature Documentary
• NOMINEE: Best Nature Documentary (Extra Award from the Festival)
• NOMINEE: Best Film Essay (Extra Award from the Festival)
• SEMI-FINALIST: Best Documentary Cinematography (Extra Award from the Festival)

Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards (Hollywood, USA):
• HONORABLE MENTION: Feature Documentary

FilmHaus Berlin (Berlin, Germany):
• NOMINEE: Best Feature Documentary
• NOMINEE: Best Nature Documentary
• NOMINEE: Best Film Essay
• NOMINEE: Best Documentary Cinematography

Total Awards = 41

Best Film (any kind) Awards = 24

Best Cinematography Awards = 9

Best Original Score/Composer Awards = 8

Festivals In 9 countries around the world.

Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, La Jolla, Honolulu, New Jersey, New York, Toronto, London, Berlin, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Reims, Melbourne, Tokyo

The film is now presented on YouTube without the password protected status it has had so far. This makes it available to a world-wide General Audience for FREE VIEWING, right now!


August 11, 2022
A Circle in the Desert – SPECIAL AWARDS UPDATE:
The film has been entered into more than 20 different Film Festivals (so far), from all over the world.

The film has now received its first AWARDS!
The New York International Film Awards awarded my film in two categories:
Winner of "Best Inspirational Film" and Finalist for "Best Cinematography"



July 18, 2022
A Circle in the Desert – PROJECT REPORT #7

Great News!! The time has arrived for viewing the Full Feature Film!
You are part of a special limited audience to see the film now!
When you are ready to sit down and watch, navigate to our



June 8, 2022
A Circle in the Desert – PROJECT REPORT #6
The Film is FINISHED!

Time for a quick text-only update here.
I will send out a more detailed report soon and give a link for viewing the film, so standby. I wanted to update this page first to let you know that the film has now been successfully completed.

I spent another four weeks on location in Utah in April and May to film the remaining footage and I've spent the last several weeks editing those shots into place and then doing the final detailed post-production finishing.
The film is now complete and I'm excited to get it ready for select premiere showings very soon.
For me, it's really rewarding to see the final version of almost two years of concentrated effort!

Thanks for your continued interest in A Circle in the Desert!

- David

February 8, 2022
A Circle in the Desert – PROJECT REPORT #5 VIDEO
Review Comments, Drone Update, Animation, and More!

As explained in earlier Updates, I plan to return to Utah in the spring (probably in May) to shoot some additional footage for the film due to some road closures last year and other circumstances. It’s frustrating to have everyone wait for the summer to see the finished film, but it’s essential to first obtain that new footage to complete the show into its final form.

In the meantime, I needed to get some initial feedback, so in January, I gave a tiny and select test audience the first opportunity to view the current “beta” version of the entire film. This is a complete program but contains some temporary proxy images standing-in during those unfinished sections.

I’m pleased and honored to share here some of the initial audience review comments received after these select screenings of the entire film:

“Two words come to mind: Majesty and Mystery!
  It was just a moving experience. Very moving!”


“A wonderful journey to view and be a part of!”

“The music was evocative – perfect! It just belonged to the landscape!”

“Works on every level for any viewer.”

“I found it really fun to watch!”

“The score is fantastic!”

“It’s hard to believe how just one guy did all that. Outrageous! It’s just a ton of locations.”

“For viewers who know that landscape, you gave a completely new experience.”

“Universal themes! It will stay with me.
  That’s one of the marks of great cinema.”

Also discussed in the video: a Drone Update that will provide exciting new capabilities, and information on the Animation segments, and a remix of the Orchestral Score.

Lots of scenes and music in this update. Enjoy!

- David

Here is the link to the new PROJECT REPORT #5 VIDEO:

December 1, 2021
A Circle in the Desert – Project Report #4 VIDEO
Main Editing Completed and a Newly Finished Trailer!

I have the pleasure of reporting to you that the main edit for the film has been completed! As I mentioned in the last update, there is still a missing section that depicts the marvels of the northern portion of Capitol Reef National Park. I intend to capture imagery of that area in the Spring of 2022 when the damaged road has, hopefully, been repaired and reopened.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to take the over 2,000 video files that I shot in September and October and select and edit them into the film. This has been a fulfilling pleasure as I watch my film come together visually for the first time, shot by shot!

The only major things left to create are a special animation segment and some other graphic animations and effects, and I’ll be digging into those sub-projects over the next weeks.

Now, for the news you can use: With the completion of the majority of the actual edit, I’ve been able to create the first real trailer for the film, one that features actual cinematography that is in the final film, rather than proxy imagery! I’ve appended this new trailer to the Project Report #4 Video, and I’ll link it below and update it elsewhere here on the film website. It’s about three minutes long. Please do give it a view and I hope you enjoy it!

I can’t wait to finish my film and present it to you. Again, I thank you for your continued interest in my upcoming feature-length, nature and philosophical documentary, “A Circle in the Desert!”

- David

Here is the link to the new PROJECT REPORT #4 VIDEO, with the new TRAILER appended:


Here is the link to the new TRAILER (by itself):

October 15, 2021
A Circle in the Desert – Project Report #3 VIDEO
Successful Filming on Location and an Unexpected Setback!

I have recently returned from a four-week cinematography tour of my special lands on the Colorado Plateau in Utah–landscapes that are the visual heart of my film. I can’t express how pleased and gratified I am to have gathered the bulk of the footage I needed for the film, including many amazing aerial shots that I’m excited to share upon its completion!

But, the wild and high deserts of the Colorado Plateau are not a theme park. Nature rules, as always, and during the monsoon season of rains in July and August of this year, the 65-mile loop dirt road that winds through the northern section of Capitol Reef National Park was flash-flooded in two places, washing the road completely away in those spots. The road was and still is entirely closed, which meant that I could not access this important area for the show. Road crews were working on rebuilding the roads there as I was filming in September, but their progress was and is unknown at the time of this writing.

Disappointing for sure, but it is what it is, and I will simply have to return in the spring, hoping that they have had time to repair the path and open it again for myself and others to travel.

That means, of course, a necessary delay in the finishing up of the film and its premiere. I had hoped to get it done by spring, but this will delay me a few months. I’m now projecting a premiere sometime in the summer instead, successful road repairs allowing.

Patience, they say, is a virtue!

In the meantime, I will have a nice long winter season to work on some animation segments for the film and do some other finish work on the music. Mainly, though, I’ll be able to process the amazing amount of footage I did acquire in my recent trip and proceed with the final editing for most of the film! Maybe this was a blessing in disguise? Perhaps, but I will guide it to serve me and the film anyway!

Even with nature’s delay, I’m hoping I will retain your interest in my project of the heart and I’ll keep you informed as things progress. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some new updates that I filmed in the field last month and show a few of the areas that I’ll feature in the final film! Stay tuned and thank you for your continued interest in “A Circle in the Desert!”


Here is the link to the new PROJECT REPORT #3 VIDEO:
Project Report #3

September 1, 2021
A Circle in the Desert – Project Report #2 VIDEO
The Joint Trail

Music Score Finalization

Approaching my month-long principal cinematography trip to Utah, I wanted to finish out the music for the film and did so with this brief orchestral interlude, highlighting a magical place in Canyonlands National Park called the Joint Trail.

There are three characters in this film: the amazing landscapes of the canyon lands and arches country of Utah, my own self and my powerful vision quest story that takes place within that landscape, and, carrying equal importance to the other two, the music I’ve created to bring an emotional set and setting to this story.

Stay tuned for more adventures as I make my big trip in September and October, and then begin the final editing and post production of A Circle in the Desert!

Here is the link to the new PROJECT REPORT #2 VIDEO:
Project Report #2

July, 2021
A Circle in the Desert – Project Report #1 VIDEO
First Drone Tests

The first flight tests of the cinematography drone. Watch the Project Report #1 link below to see David launch the first flight and become familiar with the new drone! You'll also hear a sample of some of the music from the film.

Here is the link to the new PROJECT REPORT #1 VIDEO:
Project Report #1


June, 2021
The Initial Teaser Trailer for the film was completed. Take a look at the newer real Trailer below or from elsewhere in our site!
Current full Trailer


June, 2021
"Pre-viz" or pre-visualization has been completed. Storyboard art and proxy images have been pre-edited into the film so that David can shoot the new footage in a targeted and organized way when on location in September and October of 2021.

June, 2021
All Narration and Music has been completed for the film. 1 hour and 25 minutes of full-orchestral scoring!

October, 2020
The script, voice narration, and music composition has begun for "A Circle in the Desert!"

“A Circle in the Desert is a joyful, inspiring, and introspective visual, musical,
and spiritually-seeking experience in one of the most amazing places on our planet.” – David Crews

See the complete film from the VIEW THE FULL FILM page.

Navigate to our other pages to learn more about the Film project, the Vision Quest, the Music, and about David.

“Perhaps I could find insights to my quest by again moving through these special landscapes, seeking a message from the old ones. Alert to any sign or revelation buried under the weight and debris of time that has gathered here.
Looking for a theory of purpose in the shapes and moods of the desert."

- David P. Crews
  From the film


Watch the trailer for
A Circle in the Desert!

"Awards" listed are any award above the film being "Selected" for a film festival.
© Copyright 2024 David P. Crews. All Rights Reserved.

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