A daring independant Western written and directed by Diek with award-winning music by Matthew Dunne

TEXAS, 1894 - A wealthy and devout rancher camps out with his daughter and a team of men when an exotic stranger arrives in the night revealing an awful truth: the dark hearts of men.

"A Western tone-poem for film & orchestra." - Diek

"Upon the Awful Tree plays like an extended surrealist interlude." - Film Critic Nancy Kempf

"One of the best suspense build-ups I've ever seen in an independent movie."  - Ten Eyck Productions

              "A thinking man's movie." - Test Viewer 

A psychological drama set in the Old West, "Upon the Awful Tree" combines suspense and black humor with the classic elements of Spaghetti Westerns.  Wealthy and devout rancher Wallace Hardman camps out with his daughter Sally and a team of men when an exotic stranger arrives in the night revealing an awful truth: the dark hearts of men.  Stunning imagery coupled with a rich, original, award-winning orchestral score and thoughtful sound design propel the drama without the use of dialogue as the characters' morality is challenged through that terrible night around the campfire.  Filmed in a contemporary style on untamed natural and historic locations in central Texas this artful and authentic indie Western is sure to surprise as a wild ride for the eyes, ears, and the immortal soul!  Run time: 40 min. plus a special 3 min. intro by Diek.  


A truly ambitious artistic endeavor, this dialogue-free period Western indie film complete with a symphonic soundtrack took over two years to create with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, dozens of artists and musicians pushing their talents to the limit, and thousands of hours of work.  We are immensely proud!  

Upon the Awful Tree premiered on June 2nd, 2015 in San Antonio TX as part of Cinema Tuesdays, a Texas Public Radio film series hosted by Nathan Cone in the amazing Bijou Theater.  It is now available for streaming on Vimeo.  

Screen shots gallery:





UPON THE AWFUL TREE can be screened with live orchestra as a multi-disciplinary performance piece! 

Unique in all the world, the film has been constructed from the ground up specifically to be a "concerto for film and orchestra" (NOT simply recreating an existing movie with live orchestra OR setting music to an old silent film, both of which are cinema recycling!). UTAT is a completely original melding of two artistic disciplines which has been screened with live orchestra (the way it was intended) in Havana, Cuba as part of the Festival Identitades, to much acclaim!  Because the movie is dialog-free it can be shown in any culture around the world with only minimal translation.  Check us out, then make this performance film part of your film festival or concert series!  Contact us for details. 

Live orchestra screening at the Festival Identitades in Havana, Cuba

Live orchestra screening at the Festival Identitades in Havana, Cuba

SOUNDTRACK COMPACT DISC:          In addition to being for sale digitally on iTunes, AmazonGooglePlay and streaming on Spotify, the soundtrack album is available in limited quantities on CD!  Own a physical copy of the ground-breaking, award-winning, concert-quality orchestral score by Matthew Dunne complete with original artwork and liner notes.  Contact Diek & Dunne for details.




T-Shirts, playing cards, bumper stickers and accessories inspired by the movie are available at TheDiek's Zazzle Store.  Get your gear!  There are several shirt designs and many goodies for the Awful Fan Posse.  








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Nathan Cone of Texas Public Radio (TPR) interviewed Director Diek and composer Dunne in advance of the San Antonio Premiere.  Listen to the interview and read the transcript.



Read film critic Nancy Kempf's extensive piece on UPON THE AWFUL TREE at My Own Private Cinema to delve inside the the cultural and artistic relevance of this daring independent film: "Upon the Awful Tree: A Cinematic Symphonic Poem."

An excerpt:  "Perhaps the most powerful character in the Western [genre], the character at its very heart, is the omniscient landscape itself -- that vast expanse of silent wilderness that is the grandeur of indifferent nature. By contrast, Diekman has trained his lens onto a claustrophobic corner of the woods...."  Nancy Kempf


- The orchestral score for UPON THE AWFUL TREE won Matthew Dunne the 2014 Artist Foundation Prize for Composition!  Congrats Matt!  


**  FESTIVALS - UPON THE AWFUL TREE is a great mid-length drama available for screenings at film and arts festivals.  Contact Diek to schedule it at your festival!  

***  UPON THE AWFUL TREE can also be screened accompanied by a LIVE symphony orchestra for the ultimate film-performance-art experience!  Contact Diek & Dunne for details.