WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We have unprecedented access to our subjects, an incredible team, and a scoop on the story that the media has missed. We’re all set to knock this one out of the park — except for one thing: FUNDING!
Funding is now more urgent than ever. The Algarad Trials are fast approaching. If we don't make our goal, we will miss the trials and lose our story. American Monster is a story that needs to be told — and without you, we won’t be able to tell it!
This is an all-or-nothing campaign. If we don’t raise a minimum of $30K in 30 days, American Monster may never be complete.
WHERE DOES YOUR DONATION GO?
John Lawson grew up in the aﬄuent suburbs of Clemmons, NC. Rejected at home, at school, and by the community at large; he earned his respect the only way he knew how: FEAR.
At the height of America’s Islamophobia and the end of the “Satanic Panic,” John Lawson changed his ﬁrst name to that of the demon from The Exorcist, and his last name to an Arabic word meaning “a brief hostile incursion.” It was thus that Pazuzu Algarad, the “Islamic Satanist” of Forsyth County, was born.
He would go on to raise a “brotherhood” of outsiders — mostly mentally-ill addicts, all poor. Together, they would torture, murder, and cannibalize two strangers from similar backgrounds, burying them in the backyard of the house where he and his mother lived.
Eight shots rang out through the quiet and densely-settled suburb of Clemmons the night that Josh Wetzler was killed. How is it that none were reported? Despite the fact he was buried in plain sight, it took ﬁve years to discover his body. Why?
Using the Algarad trial as a narrative spine, American Monster will document the intimate struggles of three individuals, as they attempt to come to terms with their respective roles in these horriﬁc ritual murders.
Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech. Besides a gun, the most prominent feature in each of these atrocities is an outsider seeking revenge on a society that has rejected him. Is this a coincidence? Or a story we have been too afraid to tell, because it implicates us all?
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
I remember the day I got the call. My childhood best friend's voice was shaking at the other end of the line.
"They found my brother," she wavered.
"Oh, thank God," I said, "Is he okay?"
There was a pause. And then, almost too calmly, she replied,
"No, no. He's dead. Mike is dead."
In the coming weeks, we learned that Mike’s death was not an accident. He was tortured and murdered by two friends, not far from the house he shared with his mom and sister. There was a tiny blurb in the paper, and then everyone forgot. “Not my kids,” the townspeople said. “Those boys were wayward. They didn’t ﬁt.”
Wayward they were: party kids, I guess you could call them. Kids who had trouble at home. They needed help, and if they’d gotten it, Mike would be alive today. It was not Mike’s waywardness alone that put him in the ground that spring. We all did.
After Mike died, I became obsessed with to the “True Crime” genre. It was comforting to see the atrocities of violent crime reduced to facts. Facts can’t hurt you. The existence of gun powder residue, the trajectory of blood spatter, the time of death—it all seemed so tidy—as if to console us with the idea that once the data is properly arranged, justice will be served and all will be right again in the small American town. My life has shown me that this is not the case.
As a culture, we are good at asking “how,” but too often fail to ask “why?” American Monster is here not only to ask why, but to plumb the murky depths of this sordid tale for an answer with real world applications.
American Monster examines the Algarad case—not as a symptom of one man’s “evil”—but as a community problem with community solutions.
Algarad’s case has the makings of a true crime thriller: Sex, Drugs, and Satanism. However, beneath its prurient appeal, lies a much bigger story—a story that could change how we approach violent crime in our nation today. Please, help us tell it!
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform. That means, if we don’t raise our full $30,000.00 goal, we don’t get to keep any of it! American Monster is an important film, and we want to get it out into the world as soon as possible. The success of this Kickstarter campaign is integral to the survival of the film. Take a look at our timeline here:
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
SHARE OUR CAMPAIGN!
Better yet, pick ﬁve people to share it with, and ask each of them to share it with ﬁve more! Know someone in print media? Even better! Send our story their way! Every new set of eyes brings us closer to our goal!!
Risks and challenges
We're independent filmmakers — and we wouldn't have it any other way. No one controls our message. We are allowed to tell our stories on our terms — which is a big part of what allows us look at the Algarad case from a new perspective. It's a privilege to be an indie filmmaker, but with that privilege comes some inherent obstacles. Funding is one of them.
Of course there will be challenges beyond raising funds on deadline. However, if we are able to reach our goal of $30K in 30 days, we are confident that with our talented and dedicated team and the support of everyone who has contributed to the film's story, American Monster will be a truly impactful film that has the capacity to truly change the conversation around violence in America.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)