Scheduled for nationwide release in April 2009, Tornado is a true life story of patience, endurance and passion. Directed by Regardt van den Bergh, the picture tells the story of two damaged souls: Pierre, a depressed and damaged young man and Tornado, an emotionally tormented horse. Sensing Tornado’s potential, Pierre travels to Noenieput, in the Groen Kalahari, to find Barrie Burger, a horse whisperer. With Barrie’s advice, Pierre and Tornado embark on a journey of healing and self discovery, one that will change their lives forever.
“This film is about broken people,” says director Regard van den Bergh. “I believe we are all broken and we could all do with some healing.” Fresh from the completion of his previous film Faith Like Potatoes, van den Bergh is eager to tell another life derived story. “As a filmmaker, for me it is the most exciting thing to tell a true story and, in the telling of the story discover the integrity of the story and remain true to that without compromising anything of that person's life.”
Having spent more than twenty years as a missionary traveling the Kalahari on horseback, Barrie developed a special talent. He gained a deep understanding of horses and learnt how to whisper to them. He teaches Pierre how to hear Tornado’s whisper, understand his pain, and release him from it. As Pierre gains Tornado’s trust by following Barrie’s ten whispering steps, Pierre too begins to change. “In the quietness and the stillness and the vastness of the Kalahari, I also started to find my true calling.”
Tornado was an Arab horse of the purest bloodline. Unfortunately he was pushed too hard and too fast. In the process he developed Self Mutilation Syndrome. He became a danger to himself and others. Due to stress it was presumed that he was sterile. Until he met Pierre, his future seemed bleak. Once a top athlete with a passion for running, Pierre’s dreams were shattered when he was crippled by rheumatism. Plagued by insecurity and depression, he too turned to self-mutilation.
Together they embark on a journey of healing.