About this project
Be wary what you reap, when your land is sown with secrets.
At the center of our gothic horror story are two neighboring farm families, the Dinges and the Lomacks, whose relationships are put to the test when one of them chooses to lease their land, and have it drilled for natural gas.
In the midst of this growing tension something long dormant deep beneath the surface is released and things start to go in expected directions fast.
First, it’s the water. Then, it’s their health. And when one of them disappears in the night, the families must join together or descend into chaos, though it may already be too late.
I spent my entire youth on farms and in the woods of Pennsylvania and learned the importance of the land and our relationship to our environment. After viewing the effects of industry on my beautiful state in documentaries like "Gasland" and "Triple Divide", and evidence regarding years of cover-up regarding water contamination caused by fracking, I was inspired to write this story.
Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, "Unearth" is about the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what the next generation reaps from our actions.
To support the regional filmmaking community and give the story an authentic feel, my producing partner and wife, Dorota Swies, and I plan to shoot "Unearth" in northwestern Pennsylvania near the very towns where I grew up. Areas faced with the difficult decisions and hardships presented in this story every day.
-John C. Lyons, Writer/Director "Unearth"
Jennifer Hooper, star of “Schism” and “There Are No Goodbyes” and an award-winning filmmaker herself, has been cast in one of the film’s lead roles, "Heather Lomack".
After her parents divorced, Heather (to be played by Hooper) put her own life on hold to take care of her younger sister Kim's newborn baby while she returns to grade school.
Ruth Thoma Andrews, has landed the role of Kathryn Dinges. Andrews is a stage and film veteran who’s appeared in over 50 plays in the past 30 years. She also played a supporting role in the feature film "Schism".
When a gas company approaches with the opportunity for great wealth, the Lomacks consider the proposition, with much protest from Kathryn Dinges (to be played by Andrews). Though her farm is struggling, she understands mankind's important relationship with the environment and the risks involved.
*Several lead roles in "Unearth" have yet to be cast. Well-developed characters and a strong female-lead cast have always been this project's priority. Scripts are being sent to our top choices and we will take great care in the casting process. With a successful Kickstarter campaign we do not anticipate having any problems finding qualified and experienced actors to fill these roles. This is another facet of the production where your support shows public interest which will help in attracting the talent we want.
John C. Lyons has written, directed and produced two feature films and two short documentaries under Lyons Den Productions. His features "Schism" and "There Are No Goodbyes" have screened in festivals across the globe and have received numerous award recognition including Best Narrative Feature (Spirit Quest Film Festival), Best Actor and Best Screenplay Awards (Director’s Chair Film Festival) and Purple Heart Filmmaker Award (Zero Film Festival - Los Angeles).
Dorota Swies is the co-owner of Lyons Den Productions and has served as producer, director of photography and co-editor on our last two films. She has a Masters degree of Fine Arts in New Media and a strong eye as both a photographer and designer.
“Monster” Mark Kosobucki, a graduate of the Douglas Education Center for Special Makeup FX and Sculpting, will serve as the film’s Special FX Coordinator and Poster Designer. He will be designing all of the posters for this film including the ones available in our reward tiers.
Andi Wondersound (also known as Andy Flatley) of Wondersound Industries, who has scored each of Lyons Den Productions films, will return to paint music to image. A talented illustrator in his own right, he designed the poster and props for our last feature, "There Are No Goodbyes".
Courtney Lang, has a Masters degree of Fine Arts from Chatham and built many of the props used in our last feature, "There Are No Goodbyes". She is returning to Pennsylvania help us construct an underground drilling and water contamination model and others props as well as create the hand-bound scripts and aged, hand-drawn maps available in our reward tiers.
*Several key crew positions are still needed for this production. With a successful Kickstarter campaign we will hire experienced crew to fill these roles. In particular, we hope to fill these roles with as many Pennsylvania-based talent as possible.
To say your support at this stage is important is an understatement. Your pledges during this campaign are crucial to getting "Unearth" off-the-ground and into production. For your efforts you will be handsomely rewarded.
At this time we are anticipating a late-2017 release of the film to our Kickstarter backers via Region-free Blu-ray, DVD and HD Download. The DVD will come with a behind-the-scenes featurette. Aside from a quality jump in both HD video and sound, the Blu-ray edition will also add deleted/extended scenes, outtakes, interviews and more. The DVDs for "Schism" and "Unearth" also include several behind-the-scenes features.
We're excited for those who enter pledges of $250 and up as you will be a valuable member of our production team. Those choosing a package with a digital copy of the script will receive it before we start filming and I look forward to our Skype conversations both before and after production. We plan to use Periscope through Twitter to broadcast both our public and private on-site video reports. Please "follow" us (@LyonsDenProd) and while you're at it "like" us on Facebook too (UnearthMovie).
To those considering our top three, limited-availability tiers ($1000, $2500 and $5000) I can truly say you deserve the red carpet treatment and we most definitely will deliver and welcome you into our filmmaking family. You're the real deal and your belief in our team and smart horror concept will get your name listed alongside ours. Our premieres and wrap parties are always a blast. We look forward to receiving your feedback throughout the production. We'll be making a movie together and there's nothing more exciting than that.
We really want to up our game for "Unearth", compensate our hardworking cast and crew and try to attract some name talent and producers to improve the overall quality of the finished film and increase its distribution options.
We’ve already proven we can produce feature films on a small scale with minimal crew and no money. Think of what we can do together if we meet or exceed our Kickstarter goal.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. What this means is if we do not reach our $15,000 minimum goal by the deadline then we won't receive any of your pledges.
We want to thank you support team for all their hard work through this process:
Chuck Palahniuk (author "Fight Club"): Chuck was a big fan of our feature film "Schism" and when we reached out to him early in our writing process he had this to say: "I wonder if fracking will generate horror stories the way nuclear testing gave us giant spiders, ants. Pesticides gave us the shrinking man. Find your metaphor, and you have a classic." His words continue to motivate us on this project.
Mercyhurst University's Quickstarter Program: Kristan Wheaton and his team's expertise have been invaluable in guiding us through the Kickstarter process. The long days and late hours wouldn't have been nearly as focused without their experience.
Lavery Brewing Company: These young entrepreneurs of Pennsylvania know the meaning of the word partnership and we look forward to our ongoing endeavors together.
“Monster” Mark Kosobucki: With only a script, and little else tangible to share about our project, Mark stepped up to design posters and meet with Jennifer Hooper to do a camera make-up test which have been extremely helpful in conveying the planned tone and look of the film.
Risks and challenges
We have every intention to begin production in the spring of 2016; however, we also seek to make the best film possible and delays may occur because of contract negotiations, scheduling and locations logistics that can arise when filming on location. This isn't our first rodeo though and we thrive on the challenges faced on a film set.
Also, if we surpass our make-or-break funding goal, everyone involved can reap the rewards of increased casting power, better equipment, a larger supporting crew and more studio time for post-production. All of which would mean a better film in the end. As we take this journey together, we'll always communicate regularly here to each of our contributors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (30 days)