80 celebrities come together to narrate a full-length documentary film about the destiny of humankind and the purpose of existence.
"As Above, So Below.” ~ The Vedas
Shaun, What is this?
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.
Wow, I’m 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 Blake
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 empathy.
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)
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.
I’m in…what 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 through Facebook.
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.
Join the Movement
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.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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.
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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.Estimated delivery:
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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.Estimated delivery:
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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!Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
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Get a DVD/BluRay of the film once released, in addition to a PDF of the script, Kickstarter-exclusive shirt and sticker and regular updates/behind the scenes info on the UNITY movement.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
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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!Estimated delivery:Add $7 USD to ship outside the US
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In addition to the DVD/BR, shirt, sticker, and poster, we have a very cool pocket book with the text, which is really handy for inspiration and quotes, or just to impress your friends.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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Get everything from the $100 tier (DVD/BR, shirt, sticker, PDF), plus the pocket book and poster, BUT ... this time both will be signed by the writer/director.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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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.)Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Get everything from the $100 tier, plus an art print, as well as a limited edition book that includes all of our recording session images designed by the photographer.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.)Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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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.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)