Unity is a documentary
film about how humanity is deeply connected to one another. Every human thought
and every action has an affect on the world around us. Unfortunately, as our film
portrays, for thousands of years, we have been fighting each other. So much blood has been shed because of the
perception of differences between people, when in fact we are all made of the
same matter and energy. You will learn
that literally the stuff of the heavens is within us. All we have to do is step back and sit in our
hearts. Once we recognize that deep-seated peace and presence within us, the
veils of duality will vanish.
fascinated. Tell me more!
This all started in 1999, when I produced my first documentary about
humanity’s treatment of animals. The film was narrated by Joaquin
Phoenix, featuring a soundtrack by Moby, and titled Earthlings. I continued to
wonder why humanity shows empathy for some beings, but apathy for others. This
“separation based on form,” or duality, is the central theme of Unity.
Why, I wondered, despite all our evolution and modernity, our
self-help books and 12 step-programs, our macrobiotics and our yoga, why are we
still such savages? After all, just consider the remarkable evolution
and advancement of our civilization. We have high-culture religions,
advanced technology and mathematics, and such incredible displays of music and
art. And yet, regardless of all these marvelous achievements, the human race is
still at war with itself, as we have been for 95% of recorded history. When
will humanity end this perennial us-against-them perception?
"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would
appear as it is: Infinite." ~ William
So in 2007, with this question of duality nagging at me, I embarked on
a sequel to that previous film,
and titled it Unity. For the past six years my
colleagues and I have written and re-written, researched and filmed, and
basically amassed a rather large quantity of material all with the
intention of casting a very strong light on this contrast between apathy and
In this film, you will experience how all of us in the universe are
connected. You will take a journey from the beginning of time until the
present, and engage with events and people around the world. You will witness our current reality, a
planet obscured by the obsession with the external. Unfortunately we do not easily recognize our
innate similarity and equality. As you
take this pilgrimage from the external to the internal, you will learn about
how the laws of our planet are already within us. Everything is actually
already within us and everywhere at the same time, as we are all made of the
same fundamental energy. The heavens are
right here, on earth. We just have to
open our eyes to the true reality that exists, and allow the illusions to no
longer consume us.
Because we had worked together before, the first person I asked to
narrate the film was Joaquin, and he agreed. But then it dawned on me
that, in the true spirit of unity, one narrator wouldn’t suffice. And
that’s when we decided to do something completely different. Could we
make a chorus of voices sound like one voice, and if so, how far could we take
this? This had never been attempted before, but I knew it
would work. So we went for it, and after two years of rather extensive
effort, we successfully recorded an astounding 80 narrators for Unity.
Here is our current cast of beloved narrators in alphabetical order:
Dianna Agron (Glee) Malin Akerman (Watchmen) Pamela Anderson (VIP) Jennifer Aniston (Friends) Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) Eve Best (Nurse Jackie) Brandon Boyd (Incubus) Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5) Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Tree of Life) Deepak Chopra (author) Gregory Colbert (Ashes & Snow) Common (Smokin Aces) David Copperfield (illusionist) Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) Ellen Degeneres (comedian) David Deluise (Wizards of Waverly Place) Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) Emily Deschanel (Bones) Phil Donahue (journalist) Dr. Dre (producer, musician) Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) Allison Eastwood (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) Arian Foster (pro football player) Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) Jorja Fox (CSI) Kathy Freston (author) Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) Balthazar Getty (Brothers & Sisters) Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) Caroline Goodall (Schindler’s List) Adrian Grenier (Entourage) Beth Hart (singer) Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock) Tony Hawk (pro skater) Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor) Missy Higgins (singer, songwriter) Anjelica Huston (Smash) Famke Janssen (X-Men) January Jones (Mad Men) Tony Kanal (No Doubt) Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3, Hugo) David LaChapelle (photographer) Adam Levine (Maroon 5) Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) Helen Mirren (The Queen) Moby (musician) Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket) Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) Jason Mraz (singer) Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica) Ryan O'Neal (Love Story, Barry Lyndon) Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall) Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line) Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) Maggie Q (Nikita) Matthieu Ricard (author) Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar, Fast & Furious) Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean) Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise) Liev Schreiber (Salt, Defiance) Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables) Russell Simmons (producer) Kevin Spacey (American Beauty) Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) Catherine Tate (The Office) Larenz Tate (House of Lies) Shaun Toub (The Kite Runner) Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) Persia White (Girlfriends) Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy) Marianne Williamson (author) Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
For music, I turned to the incredible artists Sigur Ros, their front
man Jonsi and his longtime companion Alex, whose ambient, ethereal sounds are
not only incredibly cinematic, but evoke both awe and wonder. Such music
seemed befitting for a message like Unity.
Our goal is to raise a minimum of $800,000 to complete post-production
and release the film within a year. Since we have so much raw footage
from around the world, in multiple formats, codecs, frame rates and aspect
ratios, (from high definition aerial photography all the way down to cell phone
footage) all of the editing up to this point has been done “off-line” with
video editing software.
To date, we have assembled a solid cut of the film that we are ready
to bring into a professional “online” digital post-production studio.
What we need is to re-master the final footage into one native format,
(not with software, but hardware). We also need to add visual effects,
titles, apply color correction, as well as adding Foley effects (which are the
reproduction of everyday sound elements), and then mix the whole project
together, including our score, and ‘master’ the final film for release.
If we can surpass the minimum goal of $800,000, then we have a
self-release marketing campaign lined up that includes a limited theatrical
run, merchandise, books, posters, DVDs and Blu-Rays, digital downloads,
audiobook(s), social media, and more. In short, the more that can be
raised, the bigger promotional push this film will receive.
do I do?
To become one of our backers, just click on the big green button to
the right of our video. Kickstarter will ask you for your pledge, which reward
you want, and how you want to sign up. Signing up is easy; you can even do it
We’re even offering some truly distinctive incentives, exclusively
available for our Kickstarter supporters! All of these rewards will be
Limited Edition items, such as artwork and/or art prints, books, the official
documentary screenplay, first run DVDs and Blu-Ray’s, t-shirts, hoodies,
interviews and meetings with the filmmaker(s), tickets to private screenings
and premieres, even special credit in the film. But above all, you have a
chance to actually be a narrator in Unity by
saying a few lines in the movie.
We look forward to sharing our story with you in the making and
releasing of a truly one-of-a-kind documentary film. Please share this Kickstarter project with your friends!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts
for your contribution. We are thrilled to share our vision with the world, and
we know that you will love it as much as we do.
Sincerely, Shaun Monson
Risks and challenges
Marketing a film can be just as much of an art form as making one. So this is why we need to raise our marketing budget, which we've tried to keep reasonable by Hollywood standards. Documentaries perform well online and on video, but can struggle at the box office. Its expensive to get into theaters, to get ads in the right places, to get the title out there in front of people, who otherwise wouldn't know anything about it. Our goal with Unity is to be as successful as An Inconvenient Truth was a few years ago.
Unity is a documentary that doesn't stop for a moment, from the opening shot onwards. And with so many narrators reading dialogue, and so much incredible footage from around the world, and such a beautiful score, not to mention the overwhelming message of the film, which the world has been longing for, we feel that Unity will quickly find an audience and that word-of-mouth will spread very fast. We will complete this film. We've come so far already. The only question is how far can we distribute it to the world?
A movie like UNITY costs money to make – all movies do! As much as we wish we could just give it away for free, it’s not a practical solution in this day and age. If we did so, we couldn’t continue making films like this. We do need your support in order to get this message out! If you can’t support financially, that’s totally ok! It would be great if you could spread the word through social media too. Or if there’s something else you’re able to help with, please send us a message.
Yes, of course! There are already English subtitles on the film (which you will be able to turn on or off when the film is released), and we do plan to add subtitles in other languages when the DVD is released.
One of the comments on the Facebook page said it best: “Whatever group of people are a part of the film, doesn’t change the message of the film.” The idea is to get this message out to as many people as possible. If celebrities can help with that, then that’s GREAT, right? Let’s all work together to get this message out to the best of our ability. That’s the important part.
Plus… wait until you hear some of these voices. They’re magical, and add such a depth and beauty to the film.
In short, NO. Unity is an experience – a bit like Dante’s Inferno. There is a descension and an ascension, as we explore humanity through the cosmos, mind, body, heart and soul. While there is some footage that may be challenging to some people, nothing is severely graphic, and the balance of beauty is phenomenal.
You’ll receive a code for a digital download of the film once released. Additionally, you will get regular updates on the release of the film and behind-the-scenes scoop on what’s going on in the UNITY movement.
Get a PDF of the script, emailed to you before the release. Read ahead or wait and experience the film first, it’s up to you. You’ll also get a code for a digital download of the film once it’s released, as well as regular updates on the movement.
You’ll receive the PDF as well as a digital download of the film once released, plus a UNITY bumper sticker, exclusive to the Kickstarter team only. Stick it on your car, window, or anywhere, and get the conversation started!
We’re designing a very cool, limited edition t-shirt to go with our Kickstarter campaign. We’ll post pictures soon, but you can bet they’ll be eco-friendly and ethically produced. Get one of these, plus the PDF, sticker, a digital download of the film when it’s released and regular updates on the movement, of course.
Get a Unity movie poster, in addition to all of the cool stuff above (shirt, sticker, DVD, and PDF plus updates). We have some truly innovative artists contributing to our ad campaign. Wait until you see it!
During the recording sessions, we took some exceptional images of our narrators. For a pledge of $150, you will receive one of the limited edition art prints that we have created. These include prints of Tony Hawk, Marion Cotillard, Jeff Goldblum, Aaron Paul, and more, all signed by the photographer and director. All this, in addition to the DVD/BR, shirt, sticker, signed poster and pocektbook book.
Get everything from the $100 tier, plus a ticket to a private, kickstarter-only pre-screening of the film. Travel is not included, so get yourself here to LA and come see the film before anyone else! (Dates to be determined.)
Get a limited edition 'kickstarter exclusive' t-shirt, plus the PDF, DVD or BR, sticker, poster, art print, and signed script book, plus a “Special Thanks To” credit on the DVD and website. You’ll be listed alphabetically in the end credits on the DVD as well as on our Contributors page on our website.
Get everything from the last tier, plus a signed copy of the original audiobook that started the UNITY project. Created at the beginning of filming, this 5 disc audiobook was recorded by the director, featuring hours of content not included in the final film.
Receive everything from the $300 tier, plus a limited edition, signed, large-format coffee table book of the film. Includes the full script, high-resolution stills from every scene in the film, plus behind the scenes shots, production details, and more.
Get ready to take a trip to Hollywood because you are personally invited to join us for the LA premier of UNITY. (This does not include travel or accommodations.) Plus, on top of all that, you receive everything from the $500 tier.
Or, get yourself to New York, and you are personally invited to join us for the NYC premier of UNITY. (This does not include travel or accommodations.) Additionally, you will receive everything from the $500 tier.
Receive all of our Limited Edition art prints, signed by the director and photographer. Each 11”x14” piece is printed on archival paper and packaged together in an archival box. You’ll also get everything from the $500 tier.
Interview the director of the film. In addition to receiving everything from the $500 tier, you will also have a 15-minute Skype conversation with Shaun Monson about the making of UNITY, about yourself, or life in general. It's a fascinating opportunity to hear first-hand about the collaboration and making of such a film.
Of course you receive everything from the $500 tier, plus you and a guest will join the crew for a private lunch in Los Angeles at one of our amazing vegan restaurants. (Does not include travel or accommodations.) You can chat with us about the film, tell us about yourself, etc. Most importantly, it gives us an opportunity to meet some of our biggest contributors and say thank you.
Come on board! Be a major part of the UNITY movement, and receive an Honorary Associate Producer credit in the film. You will be listed alphabetically on the theatrical release, as well as above the “Special Thanks To” section on the DVD and website. (And of course, you will receive the kickstarter exclusive t-shirt, the PDF, DVD or BR, sticker, poster, signed script book, and the signed, large-format coffee table book. If you’re in town, we’d love to have you for lunch as well.)
Be a narrator! That's right, no matter where you are in the world, you can join our wonderful cast of narrators and actually say a line in the film. (English speaking, recording details to follow.) Now, we realize that not everyone is an actor so the delivery is entirely up to you. This means that you'll have to give it your absolute best if you want to be in the final cut, (which means no goofing off or trying to sabotage the film). As with all actors, there is the risk of it ending up on the cutting room floor. But if you can give us your best Al Pacino or Cate Blanchett, you'll be just fine. Of course, you’ll also get a copy of the PDF, the sticker, DVD or BR, shirt, and signed poster, plus all 3 books personally signed to you.