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An extremist youth bible study is manipulated into performing a group suicide by their insane leader, but two members try to stop it.

An extremist youth bible study is manipulated into performing a group suicide by their insane leader, but two members try to stop it. Read More
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This project's funding goal was not reached on April 1, 2013.

About this project

Minimalistic poster by Abe Diaz
Minimalistic poster by Abe Diaz


Cult is a feature film (about 95 minutes in length) that I have written and will direct. 

My name is Lance Karasti and I am a young filmmaker. I graduated from filmschool out in Hollywood a couple years ago and I am currently living in my hometown of Duluth, MN. It is my goal to make my debut feature film here.

Filmmaking is my life. I've been making shorts since I was big enough to hold a camera. My last short went to several festivals and won a couple awards. I want to make many movies in my lifetime and now is the time to start.

My main inspiration for this project is Orson Welles. Some consider his masterpiece "Citizen Kane" to be the best film ever made. He was 26 when he made it. There was no film school then, no DVD commentaries, and no internet. There is no reason why something just as good by someone younger hasn't been made yet.


An extremist college-aged bible study is manipulated by their charismatic and insane leader into performing a group suicide, but two members conspire to stop it.

The film actually opens with the cult leader, Lowell Dietrich buying the punch that will be used in the suicide. From there we go to the house where we will spend a majority of the film watching the situation unfold. 

Lowell begins to read from his own book that he believes god wanted him to write: The Book of Dietrich. According to the book, they are meant to kill themselves that night. Laura, the newest member of the group, realizes things aren't right and conspires with Lowell's brother Buddy to stop it.

They try to understand how they got to that point and the film goes into sequences showing how the group started. We learn how the bible study helped people and how it grew to control them. We also begin to examine Lowell, and why he started the group in the first place. It turns out Buddy might be hiding some dark secrets about Lowell. As they begin to realize what they have to do to stop the suicide, Lowell becomes suspicious of their plotting.


There are many obvious themes about religion, power, and corruption, but the film is really about family. Each of the members plays an important role in each others lives. There is a supportiveness and comfort that is unique to religious groups, but there is also a bad side that is just as unique. 

One of the major themes is mental illness. As the film progresses we peel back the layers of Lowell and learn about his possible schizophrenia. Not only does he become very violent, but he convinces others to become violent as well.

While Cult is fictional, things like it have happened in real life and on much bigger scales. One of the main purposes of the film is to clearly illustrate the dangerous type of thinking that many followers of cults like this have. It shows how people can, and have equated themselves with Gods, and why this type of power is naturally corruptive.


While the movie takes place within a short period time, we really get to understand the characters, and that is what I think will make this film unique. There are multiple stories happening at once.

There is the story of Buddy who is having to come to terms with the idea that his older brother might have been using him.

There is the story of Laura, the young girl who begins to realize she might not actually believe what she thought when her sister's life is on the line.

And, there is the story of Lowell, a confused and sick young man who is just trying to do the right thing.


While religion is a major theme and plot device, this is not an attack. The film is based on several real life events, and it was my intention to use those events as the premise of a story. The film is a raw examination of a deeply troubled man who uses religion as a tool for his own selfish reasons. 


I want to relieve the tension around this serious subject matter by making a film that is entertaining.


To learn more about my style as a filmmaker, check out this short film I made a couple years ago. I think it is the closest thing to what Cult will be like in terms of camera movement. (Skip past the intro, it is very long.)


As is the case with these small budget films, odds are they aren't going to be blockbusters. But that's OK. I see this film going on to collect a dedicated audience over time. A cult following, if you will.  


The money you donate will be going into the necessary equipment that we cannot go without. $10,000 is the absolute minimum I can make this movie for. I will be going out of pocket even with the 10K. Your money will not go to waste.

We need camera equipment, microphones, lights, a computer to edit on, digital storage, food, and so much more. Every single cent will be going into things that are absolutely essential to completing this project. Most of the crew will be working for free. We are making some of our own equipment and getting as creative as possible in order to not spend frivolously. 

Everything needed has been thought of in this minimum budget. That means the percentage kickstarter takes, and the cost of the rewards.



I want this to be an interactive experience. I plan on making video blogs and updating my website and the facebook page as much as possible.

Follow me on twitter:

Like us on facebook:

And check out my website/blog:

Risks and challenges

Filmmaking is always a risky endeavor. So many things can go wrong that you just can't plan for. The art of filmmaking is dealing with situations as they come, and doing what it takes to achieve your vision. I pride myself on being able to remain calm and work with the crew to get the shots we need.

I think filmmaking should be just as fun as it is serious and I run my set that way. I believe that as long as we find the right cast and crew we will be able to get the job done. Some of the actors have already been cast, and most of the crew has been put together. I trust my team, and can't wait to work with them.

I storyboard the entire movie ahead of time. That means every shot you see in the film, is something I drew and planned out before hand. I confirm everything is ready, until we are actually shooting.

As a director, I am completely responsible for everything that happens. If a job needs to get done, I'll be there to see it though. Pre-production and planning are essential.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • Casting will begin the second this kickstarter is done.

    Last updated:
  • I'm going to try and make it anyway. It will be far less cinematic and different in style than what I was going for, but I need to make this.

    The whole point of this money is to help me make a theatrical quality film on an insanely low budget. I know exactly how to get the look and feel that I want.

    Without the money the movie will no doubt feel and look less cinematic. I will probably be making the film for an internet audience at that point.

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5 USD

    EXCLUSIVE UPDATES - Get updates on the making of this film that only pledgers can see.

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    2 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    SPECIAL THANKS - Your name goes in the end credits. That's right. Ten bucks and you can have your name in the movie. (You also get those exclusive updates.)

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    7 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20 USD

    DOWNLOAD THE MOVIE - You get to download the film in HD 1080P DRM free. That's about what itunes charges, but with less restrictions. You will also be getting the film before it plays at any festivals. (And you get all previous rewards! You get your name in the movie and updates.)

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    9 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    TEASER TRAILER AND MOVIE DOWNLOAD - Not only do you get to download the glorious 1080P DRM free movie, but you also get access to a teaser trailer that I will personally cut before the editing of the film is even complete. (You also get the special thanks in the end credits as well as access to updates on the film.)

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    1 backer
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40 USD

    "CULT" on DVD (Signed Copy) - Before it's available to anyone else, you will get a signed DVD of the movie. The DVD will include many behind the scenes features, and commentaries. (Don't forget, you get all of the previous rewards as well. A downloadable copy, special thanks, all of that good stuff!)

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    5 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    CULT DVD/FEATURE LENGTH BEHIND THE SCENES DOCUMENTARY - So you get the signed DVD of the movie, and a second DVD with a feature length documentary chronicling the making of the movie. You get to see everything. I'll be filming my preproduction and a very talented filmmaker will be recording everything that happens on set. It will be like going to filmschool... without going to filmschool. (And remember, you get all of the previous rewards. Name in the credits, the teaser, ect.)

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    4 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60 USD

    BLU-RAY (Signed) - Experience "Cult" in the highest possible quality you can. Blu-ray baby! The Blu-ray comes with exclusive behind the scenes features and interviews you won't see anywhere else! You also get that documentar too. (Includes all previous rewards.)

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    2 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75 USD

    EXCLUSIVE SIGNED POSTER - You like that amazing minimalistic poster for this movie? Well you can get it. Now is your chance to get one and impress your friends when the film becomes big.

    Don't forget, you also get all previous rewards. You get the BLU-RAY, the DVD, the documentary, everything.

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    Limited 1 backer
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200 USD

    THE BOOK OF CULT - A beautiful book filled with behind the scenes photos, stills from the movie, character quotes and trivia. The book will be signed by the entire cast and crew. And heres the thing, this is suppose to be exclusive to the cast and crew, but I'm going to leak out 20 copies for whoever claims them. It truly is ultimate collectors item. On top of that, you get an invite to the exclusive cast and crew premiere! (includes all previous rewards.)

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    Limited 0 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER - Here's the thing about getting a special thanks, it goes in the back of the movie. This credit goes right in the front. Yeah, you're a big deal. You also get a cameo in the movie if you can make it down to the shoot.(Includes all previous rewards and invite to the premiere.)

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    Limited 0 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - They'll call you "Hollywood." You can stroll onto set anytime you want, tell me your unwanted ideas, look at your watch and act disgruntled, you can even try to recut the movie for a family audience. This is what producing is all about. (Includes all previous rewards. Also, you will not actually get to recut the movie, but you can try.)

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    Limited 2 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD


    PRODUCTION - Seriously? You funded the entire movie? Well, then it's your movie! You get the title card "A Your Name Production" right at the beginning of the movie. You also get my undying gratitude, complete access to the set, and a cameo if you can make it down. I'll even make you scrambled eggs. (Includes all previous rewards.)

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    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (60 days)