LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS

News

17.05.19

We are happy to announce the "Our Erie" short film project, produced by Lyons Den Productions, was featured in Engaging Local Government Leaders’ podcast interview with Jefferson Educational Society.

In the interview Ferki Ferati and Ben Speggan discuss civic work on the city as well as promoting pride in the home town of Erie. Ferki and Ben explain the role of the Jefferson Society in civic life and a successful campaign called "Our Erie," which worked to reframe the city’s narrative.

Lyons Den Productions thanks Jefferson Educational Society for this opportunity.


Hear the entire interview at elgl.org

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





17.04.06

""Our Erie" film viewed by more than 100,000 online" via goerie.com

As of late Thursday morning, more than 100,000 viewers had watched “Our Erie,” a four-minute film produced by a group of local filmmakers and writers, according to Jefferson Educational Society officials.

The film is a video rebuttal to a recent CBS News documentary about Erie’s economic problems.

The film was released Tuesday morning by executive producers Perry Wood, of the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Ferki Ferati, of the Jefferson Educational Society, and David Hunter, of Epic Web Studios.

Produced by John C. Lyons, of Lyons Den Productions, in association with MenajErie Studio, “Our Erie″ is the collaborative effort of more than two dozen writers, editors, producers, filmmakers, and artists in Erie. The film features scenes of more than 80 Erie County locations.


Read the entire article at goerie.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





17.04.05

""Our Erie’ Tells Its Story" by James Fallows via theatlantic.com

As we’ve been working away on our book based on our “American Futures” travels over the past four years, my wife Deb and I have increasingly come to think of Erie, Pennsylvania, as the representative American city of this moment.

OK, there are a lot of other candidates: Fresno and San Bernardino, in California; Columbus and its neighbors in Mississippi; Greenville and Greer in South Caroline; Eastport in Maine; Duluth in Minnesota plus its neighbor Superior, Wisconsin; Sioux Falls in South Dakota; Dodge City and Garden City in Kansas; several cities around Bend in central Oregon; and …

But in all of these, with particular sharpness in Erie, you see the shoulder-to-shoulder juxtaposition of two crucial realities in modern American life. One is the human pain, dislocation, and disruption caused by the overlapping forces of technological change and global competition. The other is the human ingenuity, passion, practicality, and optimism involved in figuring out responses.

Deb and I have written extensively about the way this drama has played out in Erie, with more coming in our book. For now I want to highlight a video that some of our friends in Erie put together and released today. You can see it below, or go its Facebook page here: facebook.com/JeffersonErie/videos/10158606615430601/.

This video, powerfully narrated by hip hop artist Charles Brown, was in response to a long series of pre- and post-election broadcast reports about Erie that covered only one side of its saga: the mainly older people who had mainly held big-factory jobs, and having lost those jobs were mainly angry and downcast about the prospects for themselves, their city, and the country as a whole. Shorter version: Erie as background for pieces on “the making of Trump voters,” although the city of Erie itself stayed Democratic last fall. (The surrounding suburban and rural counties went for Trump, as of course did Pennsylvania.)

The video touches on many aspects of a renascent Erie, as covered in dispatches about and others: the Jefferson Educational Society, an unusually ambitious and vibrant civic organization; the Behrend campus of Penn State, with many advanced-manufacturing projects; Hero biofuels, covered in our Atlantic video about Erie; the Erie Reader, part of the diaspora of revived alt-papers we’ve seen around the country; the Radius CoWork space, also covered in our Atlantic video; the county Gaming Authority, with an unusual civic-investment strategy; Erie Insurance, which is making huge new investments downtown; the many local universities; a wonderland of breweries; the MenajErie design studio, which helped create this video; and Epic Web Studios, which does international-standard web-design work from downtown Erie—and which, in fact, I and a group of colleagues in Washington hired to design a site for a local civic project. (More about Epic and others, to come.) And many more. After the video itself, which was produced by John Lyons of Lyons Den Productions in Erie, I encourage you to stay for the credits list, which starts at time 4:20 and shows how many local organizations were involved in creating this project. You don’t get that scale of involvement without the sort of civic fabric that holds communities (or countries) together and allows them to thrive.

Congratulations to our friends in Erie—who face lots of challenges, and are fully aware of it, but who have prepared themselves for the struggle. Please check this out.


Read the entire article at theatlantic.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





17.04.03

"Short Film Champions Hope for "Our Erie"" by Nick Warren via eriereader.com

Pulling few punches, a new collaborative video offers a realistic look at our city’s future. Entitled “This is Our Erie,” the video was produced as an honest response to a national statement.

Within a relatively short time, several videos have been produced using Erie as a focus. Painting the narrative of a rust belt city on the decline, one video from CBSNews.com declared Erie to be a “sinking ship.”

Needless to say, many Erie residents sprung to the defense of their hometown. Ferki Ferati, Vice President and Executive Director of the Jefferson Educational Society detailed the inspiration for the video, explaining that “the idea came once we saw the narrative that CBS news was trying to portray Erie, we thought that that Narrative of James Fallows and The Atlantic was the more realistic narrative of Erie, Pennsylvania.”

Fallows’ well-researched vision of the city is a more cautiously optimistic one. Along with the members of the team, Ferati shares that vision. “There are some exciting things happening in our town. The times are changing. We are not the manufacturing town that we always thought we were going to be. We have come into the 21st century. There are amazing things going on in our town, like Erie Insurance, LECOM, the innovation district, Velocity Net, and the list goes on and on. We are all trying to basically tell a story which is more realistic of the city of the Erie region which portrays Erie as a very diverse place, the importance of the refugee population, the importance of advanced manufacturing, the importance of the development of new industries.”

David Hunter, Managing Partner of Epic Web Studios “We didn't want a tourism video. This is a rebuttal to what's happened on the national stage. The [CBS video] was a narrative, so it needed a narrative in response.”

The video, narrated by local emcee Charles Brown (better known as C. Brown), begins with a stark, realistic tone. Discussing Erie’s history as a manufacturing town, the film builds a framework of hard work and perseverance. Hunter reasoned “that's why this video was made the way it was. It starts out talking about that history, those ‘battered knuckles and calloused hands,’ and then it pivots and the tone of the entire narrative changes.”

Showcasing a diverse roster of faces from around the city, the video transitions to an inclusive, hopeful message.

Local filmmake John C. Lyons outlined the arc of the narrative, confessing that “the point is, we're struggling. we have our problems, but is that the end of our story? Is that our only story? Is that the story that we should be putting out to the world, because really the issue that Erie has is marketing issue, and a mindset issue.”

“Our character is one of struggle,” Lyons explained. “That informs us and lays our foundation, that we're stronger than other people because we persevere.”

A true collaborative effort, the film was produced by Lyons, of Lyon’s Den Productions in association with MenajErie Studios. The film was executive produced by Hunter, Ferati, and Perry Wood, Executive Director of the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority.

The team of 20 features a veritable who’s who of local creators. Working in tandem the group produced the short film in a manner of weeks, from concept to creation.

Filmmaker Jessica Yochim of MenajErie Studios elaborated that "the idea is to shed light inside the businesses and positive things going on day-to-day in Erie. We had less than a month to complete the project and included over 75 businesses. We decided on #OurErie because Erie is strongest when people work together."

Lyons summarized that the group’s “goal is that this would serve as our unified statement, and hopefully an introduction to a more in depth series that will really drill down and be more focused and take more time with these places, as a web series.”

The video itself encourages a dialogue. In the end credits, it reads to “Add your voice” by using the hashtags #myerie and #ourerie, and by emailing responses to OurErie@gmail.com.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





17.03.29

"Local filmmakers creating "Our Erie" video" via yourerie.com

Coming soon to the internet near you: "Our Erie." Local filmmakers, business leaders and community members are coming together to show an accurate image of Erie after national attention painted the region in a negative way.

"Our Erie" is a four-minute video that will highlight the positives in Erie, but also show the struggles. The filmmakers have been shooting at about 75 places in the last 10 days working to show Erie as they know it.

Local filmmakers, writers and editors joined forces with the Jefferson Educational Society, Epic Web Studios and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority to produce the video.

The video, which will be voiced by Erie rapper C. Brown, will acknowledge the past struggles for the city but show how Erie's persevered.

"We focus on young entrepreneurs and people like our new neighbors, new Erie immigrants and refugee populations that are coming here and being involved and starting their own businesses as well," producer John Lyons said.

The video will be launched on ECGRA's YouTube page and shared on the Jefferson Educational Society's Facebook page Tuesday morning.


Read the entire article at yourerie.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





16.12.21

We are proud to announce that Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons won Erie Reader Best Of Erie 2016 in "Best Filmmaker" category!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of winners at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





16.11.02

We are proud to announce that Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons has been nominated for Innovation Collaborative 2016 Disrupt Erie Awards in "Creative Entrepreneur of the Year" category!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Innovation Collaborative and Disrupt Erie Awards for this recognition.


View the entire listing of nominees at innovationcollaborators.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





16.07.06

"Making Movies in Erie" by Dan Schank via eriereader.com

Over the past few years, the number of films made in Erie has grown at a surprising rate. So much so that Girard native Marc Blucas recently found himself back in his old neighborhood to star in a local feature.

“Technology and tax credits have changed our industry so much, and it has allowed for independent filmmaking to happen,” says the veteran actor. “You no longer need $100,000 camera packages and ridiculous budgets just to tell a story. It has allowed for creative, independent filmmakers to get out there and make movies.”

You might remember Blucas as Riley Finn, the earnest, long-suffering, non-vampiric boyfriend of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during the show’s fourth and fifth seasons. He later starred in USA’s sports drama Unnecessary Roughness and currently plays an abolitionist lawyer on WGN’s slavery-themed series Underground.

Blucas is working on an upcoming feature in Erie called Unearth with directors John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies. The film is emblematic of the grassroots spirit taking hold in our region currently, as a new generation of filmmakers, producers, actors, and go-getters are forgoing the high costs of New York and Los Angeles to make independent cinema right at home.

Introducing all of them would be nearly impossible. There’s enough good work being done around town to fill an entire issue of the Erie Reader. With apologies to the many people I’ve left out, here’s an introduction to some folks who really inspire us.

A “fracking horror film” with homegrown support

While writing the script for Unearth, John C. Lyons wanted to respond to the “several thousand cases of water contamination due to fracking in the state of Pennsylvania.” But he wanted to entertain people while raising awareness. Accordingly, he took what he describes as “an arthouse approach to horror, in the same vein as The Witch, The Babadook, and 10 Cloverfield Lane.” The result is “a female-led, character-driven film” about two neighboring farm families at odds over hydraulic fracturing.

Sound good? The film’s 257 Kickstarter backers seem to think so. Last October, Lyons and Swies turned to the crowdfunding site in hopes of generating $15,000. By the end of their campaign, they had generated $22,620.

With momentum on their side, the husband-and-wife filmmaking team decided to scale up. They hired a professional casting director, local storyboard artist Adam Calfee, and Erie native Ryan Postas (who recently screened one of his projects at the International Short Film Festival at Cannes) as their director of photography. They also hired two Hollywood veterans with a connection to the area.

One was Blucas, who was eager to spend more time with friends and family in the region – and to revisit the Great Lake where he married his wife. The other was Allison McAtee, an Edinboro native who portrays an ambitious political operative on The Haves and the Have Nots, Tyler Perry’s highly-rated series for the Oprah Winfrey Network. A few years back, McAtee met Postas on a flight out of the Erie airport. When Unearth went into production, he suggested McAtee to Lyons and Swies, who remembered her fondly from a guest appearance on Showtime’s Californication.

McAtee, who devotes herself to a variety of philanthropic efforts in Los Angeles, was especially attracted to the film’s message. She describes fracking’s potential for water contamination as “an important social issue to make sure that people are aware of” – especially in response to the media domination by the natural gas industry. She also liked the script’s creative approach to the issue, because “you can educate people in different ways. Some people clearly learn if they are given facts, and other people might be more deeply impacted if they’re touched emotionally.”

Though Lyons and Swies have made two features prior to Unearth (2013’s There Are No Goodbyes and 2008’s Schism), this is their first film to feature industry standard equipment and a team of allies in the Big Apple. “There’s a giant difference between what we’ve done before and what we’re doing now,” says Swies. The duo recently met with six potential distributors in New York City to share the half-dozen scenes that they’ve produced thus far – and to brainstorm the film’s completion.

Remembering (and re-staging) the Battle of Lake Erie

After Scott L. Reda’s son took a job at Gannon University in 2009, he began spending long hours in our Maritime Museum whenever he’d drive out from his home in South Jersey to visit. During these trips, he “fell in love with the subject matter of Oliver Hazard Perry, Lake Erie, and the War.”

To build on this enthusiasm, Reda became the executive producer of We Have Met the Enemy, an upcoming documentary about the Battle of Lake Erie that will debut on a cable news network in 2017. “What we want to bring out in this film is Perry’s personality,” says Reda, as well as “the significance of the battle to the War of 1812, to Canada, to Great Britain, and to our nation today.”

Along with fellow producers Mark Nixon and John Kuzdale, Reda began working closely with regional experts to bring our history to life. Within the walls of the lovely Watson-Curtze Mansion, they filmed interviews with Walter Rybka (Senior Captain of the Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara) and William Garvey (President of the Jefferson Educational Society). Reda cites Captain Jaime Trost, the project manager of the Maritime’s ship-building Porcupine Project, as the production’s “rock star” because of his on-screen charisma during interviews.

Reda’s team also employed local talent for the production. Ferralli Studios supplied them with a sound engineer and a grip truck for tracking shots. They hired two student interns – one from Gannon and one from Penn State Behrend – and formed productive partnerships with the Greater Erie Film Office, the Historical Society of Erie County, and Presque Isle State Park.

When the documentary airs, expect ample footage of present day Erie to offset the interviews and historical recreations. According to Reda, “it’s very important, visually, to remind people with contemporary footage that something major took place here.”

Helping hands in Harborcreek

Both Unearth and We Have Met the Enemy rely heavily on Penn State Behrend for state-of-the-art film supplies.

This is thanks to Greater Erie Arts Rentals (GEAR), a initiative designed to “provide the local and regional film making community with affordable, professional grade film making equipment, develop a film culture and economy in Erie, and at the same time allow students to learn about film making,” according to Professor Sharon Dale, program chair for Digital Media, Arts, and Technology. GEAR began after Dale turned to Samuel Black III, the chairman of Erie Management Group, LLC, for a generous donation that allowed the university to buy Hollywood-level production resources.

According to manager Rob Frank, “we have everything you could need for a small budget indie production.” He’s not kidding. For example, as Reda’s production headed to Newport, Rhode Island for additional filming, he assumed he would secure the digital media cards he needed in Boston. Instead, GEAR sent him off with the necessary equipment. In fact, clients from as far away as Los Angeles have relied on them for supplies.

Frank is especially excited about GEAR’s educational potential: “There are a lot of local people who are aspiring filmmakers. And they may have simple equipment, but they have great concepts and good ideas. This could very well be a stepping stone for them to use something that is considered industry standard.”

If GEAR’s clientele is in need of support, Grant Larson Productions is only a few blocks away from Behrend’s campus. Entrepreneurs Tim and Mary Grant Larson originally intended the company to produce educational videos to supplement their textbook and software development company, Larson Texts. More recently, they’ve begun lending their support to a variety of independent films – some of which were filmed in our region.

For example, Tom Fox Davies’ 2015 feature Before the Border (aka The Underground Railroad), in which an African-American law student retraces the historical path of the underground railroad by foot, made use of over 70 locations in Erie and Ashtabula counties, especially Allegheny College. Tim Larson recently directed a short of his own titled Age of Kaos, which just screened at the famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and will travel to the San Diego ComicCon in late July.

His daughter Carly Larson, who works as a production designer and construction coordinator in Los Angeles, is committed to bringing cinematic talent back home whenever possible. “There are so many great places to film in Erie,” she says. “That’s why I’m such an advocate for it.”

A growing network

Feeling inspired? When it comes to local innovation, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

There’s also MenajErie, a marketing-focused video production company with a documentary project in the works, and a staff devoted to creative endeavors. Howard Glover’s Threegloves Production is the go-to source for local bands looking to break out with a well-crafted music video. Erie’s youngest filmmaker may well be Jack Rys, who finished a feature-length film called Paper Planes before he was through with his freshman year of college. And no discussion of Erie’s film scene would be complete without mention of horror maestro Len Kabasinski, who has averaged one action-packed feature per year for the last decade. With titles like Skull Forest and Warriors of the Apocalypse, he always delivers the goods for the gore hounds.

MenajErie’s Leah Taylor, who also worked as a production assistant on Age of Kaos, captures the spirit of our film scene nicely: “I think there is a really strong film community in Erie, and the more we can do to unite all the different people who are making music videos, films, and simply making their way, is really positive.”

More and more, we have the energy – and the technology – to bring our most talented innovators together.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





16.03.01

Big Vision Empty Wallet has just revealed the projects selected for their Kickstart Diversity program and we are proud to announce our feature film Unearth has made the cut!

The Kickstart Diversity program promotes film and TV projects with diverse teams behind the scenes. The program provides significant support from vendors and service providers along with exclusive education, distribution and co-production opportunities. The Unearth team is growing and we're excited for this new partnership!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Big Vision Empty Wallet and Big Vision Creative's co-founders, Alex Cirillo and Dani Faith Leonard for this opportunity.


View the entire listing of selected projects at bigvisionemptywallet.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





16.02.28

"The Growing Film Industry In Erie" via yourerie.com

Erie may be a small city in size but it is large in so many other ways, our film industry being one of them. "So it has really grown" said filmmaker John C. Lyons "and we are at a point now where it is only going to get bigger and better now that we have our infrastructure that we are building together."

Our every season weather, Presque Isle fresh water beaches and the tight knit community makes Erie a great place to produce a film.

"We aren't a huge city" Lyons adds "so you have a great community approach to filmmaking here local businesses will open their doors for you the playhouse and other acting bases around the area will work together to help you cast your film."

"You have all four seasons" said Greg Ropp co-owner of Erie Film LLC "you have a lake that can easily stand in for the ocean we have parts of Erie looks like Downtown Brooklyn we have parts of Erie that look like brand new beautiful metropolitan areas of New York City it's amazing."

John C Lyons of Lyons Den Productions is working on producing his third film in Erie, these films have been viewed around the globe.

"It's been really good we've had screenings all across the globe at this point not just Erie" said Lyons "so it's really good it is a chance for talent here to get exposure all over the world."

The Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania works to assist local filmmakers and so does the Erie Film LLC.

"We like to facilitate people with getting the answers" said Ropp of Erie Film LLC "I mean sometimes people will just call us and ask a simple question like how do we close off a street to film a 15 minute action scene who do we talk to about tax incentives about filming in a certain location those are the kind of things we can help with at the film society."

The Eerie Horror Fest is a local tradition that has brought filmmakers from all over the world.

"Last year between movies and screen plays we had entries from 31 different countries" said John Walkiewicz Vice President Eerie Horror Fest "we also had between 3 and four dozen filmmakers screen play writers actors make up artists show up to support their film or screenplay at our event."

"I feel like if we have done so much in just five years" said Lyons "the next five years to ten years absolutely Erie will be the second or the third hub in the state for filmmaking right behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for sure."


Read the entire article at yourerie.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.11.02

"Fracking horror feature "Unearth" in final hours of Kickstarter" via horrormoviesuncut.com

Usually when we post about a film in the final stages it’s to help get them the push they need to satisfaction. That is not necessary in the case of Unearth which is the feature from John C. Lyons. See Unearth is already funded to completion and more and we should be hearing news on when production is starting. Still we wanted to inform you about the film as it brings new life into conspiracy theory, government involved horror. Fracking is a dangerous drilling into the ground that if done in the wrong place could unleash some dire consequences. Unearth looks to exploit these theories. Take a look at the details ahead including some stills from the project. We should hear more on the direction of Unearthed in the near future.

Erie Pennsylvania – Lyons Den Productions is thrilled to announce their Kickstarter campaign for “Unearth”, a feature film that’s equal parts character-driven drama and eco-horror, has surpassed its minimum funding goal in just 10 days. The project has also been recognized as a Kickstarter “Staff Pick” and will be featured as their “Film Project of the Day” on October 30th. Earlier in the month, IndieWIRE, a popular independent film website, recognized “Unearth” as their “Project of the Day” and author Chuck Palahniuk (“Fight Club”) tweeted his support.

Inspired by increasing environmental concerns ripped from today’s headlines, “Unearth” is a uniquely American horror story about two neighboring farm families whose relationships and very lives are put to the test when one of them chooses to lease their land and have it drilled for natural gas.

The Kickstarter campaign is being used raise the necessary funds for the project to go into production next year in northwestern Pennsylvania. The more funding the project receives the more resources the filmmakers will have to make a better film. Interested persons can back the project until November 5th at 10:00 AM EST through Kickstarter.

The film’s writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of these latest developments “The strong, global support for our film has been amazing. 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. This is a deeply personal story with an important message and I can’t wait to bring the script to life.”

Horror film fanatics and eco-conscious citizens alike are encouraged help make the film a reality by contributing to the project’s Kickstarter campaign: kickstarter.com/projects/johnclyons/unearth-a-feature-length-horror-film

The campaign rewards backers with everything from DVDs and original artwork to a chance to be cast in the film and attend its premiere. Lyons has been working closely with Mercyhurst University’s Quickstarter program to develop and build the campaign.


Read the entire article at horrormoviesuncut.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.28

"Local Filmmaker John C. Lyons Readies the Ground for Unearth" by Alex Bieler via eriereader.com

“Find your metaphor, and you have a classic.”

That’s the message John C. Lyons received from Chuck Palahniuk when the local filmmaker reached out to the Fight Club author about his idea for the film Unearth. Lyons came to know Palahniuk after the author became a fan of Schism, Lyons’ directorial debut. Palahniuk’s response motivated Lyons to up the ante on his third feature.

The metaphor Lyons found was fracking, a drilling practice which has undergone much scrutiny, including several critical pieces in the Reader. Early in 2013, Lyons started kicking around ideas for his third film, eventually taking note of fracking through documentaries such as Gasland and Triple Divide.

“I felt that there was definitely a void for a narrative fictional story to cover the angle of how we really don’t know what we’re doing when we’re a mile under the ground,” Lyons tells me over the phone. “It’s not like we have cameras or people down there, and things can happen. Things can go wrong. What if we stir up something down there that we didn’t expect and how can that affect people?”

Unearth focuses on two neighboring farm families and the aftermath when one family leases their land to natural gas drillers. Lyons describes his script as a docudrama that eventually shifts into a crazy, gothic horror survival film. Based on the success of the film’s Kickstarter campaign, the premise intrigued plenty of potential viewers.

After filming his first two features Schism and There Are No Goodbyes with volunteer help, Lyons turned to the crowdfunding site to help him make Unearth. He set a goal of $15,000 early in October and started a campaign with the help of Mercyhurst University’s Quickstarter Program.

A very positive public response meant the campaign reached its goal in only 10 days. It was named a “Staff Pick” by Kickstarter and “Project of the Day” by independent movie news site Indiewire. In fact, funding will still be accepted until the campaign ends Nov. 5, which can help Lyons ramp up efforts on Unearth.

“At this point, the higher we go on Kickstarter, the better the movie is going to be, to be honest with you,” Lyons says. “Our past films have been all volunteer work, which is crazy. For this third film, we really want to step up and hire people for their efforts.”

Now that the film has been funded, Lyons has a lot of work ahead of him. He already has locations picked out in northwestern Pennsylvania and a small group of talented crew members, including special effects design guru “Monster Mark Kosobucki,” who just so happens to have created several cover art pieces for the Reader (including this issue’s cover). Eventually, Lyons will hold auditions for actors to join a cast that includes Jennifer Hooper, who’s performed in both of Lyons’ past films, and Ruth Thoma Andrews, a stage veteran of over 50 plays.

Lyons found his metaphor back in 2013. Now, Unearth is set to become something more than just a script, as Lyons estimates a 2017 release. With the support of the Erie community and the frightening realities of fracking serving as inspiration, Lyons is ready to create a horrifyingly good feature.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.28

We are proud to announce that Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons won Erie Reader Best Of Erie 2015 in "Best Filmmaker" category!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of winners at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.17

"Interview: Unearth the Next Film of John C. Lyons" via slaughterfilm.blogspot.com

Join Forest & Cory as they sit down with filmmaker John C. Lyons to discuss his upcoming film Unearth, which is currently being crowd funded on Kickstarter.

Lyons has made films in the past, Schism and There Are No Goodbyes, both of which he funded himself. This time around he hopes to reach out to others with his vision of a bleak and paranoid social commentary on the not so secret negative effects of hydraulic fracking. He has enlisted the help of effects man "Monster" Mark Kosobucki to create the visual horrors to compliment John's psychological horrors.

Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, “Unearth” was inspired by increasing environmental concerns ripped from today’s headlines. The film’s writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of the project “In light of new evidence uncovered by journalists like Public Herald regarding years of cover-up by state regulators regarding water contamination caused by the Marcellus shale industry, I think now more than ever it is time for a film like “Unearth”.

Help make this interesting and terrifying films come to life! For more about the negative effects of fracking, check out the films Gasland and Triple Divide.


Read the entire article at slaughterfilm.blogspot.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.16

"Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be “Unearth,” “As Far As The Eye Can See,” “i****you,” or “Frank & Zed”?” via indiewire.com

It's time to vote for this week's Project of the Week. Who will it be? Take a look at the projects in the running and select the one you'd most like to see.

The winning filmmaker will become a candidate for October Project of the Month. That winner will be in the running for Project of the Year.

The four projects up for this week's Project of the Week are listed below (with descriptions courtesy of the filmmakers). You can vote at the bottom of the page.

Unearth: When one desperate family leases their farmland to a gas company, relationships crumble and a menacing entity is revealed.

As Far As The Eye Can See: Jack Ridge is a former piano prodigy living on his family's farmland in Texas. He's living in the past, but the future is coming for him.

i****you: Four oversexed college students explore lust and the social autism that today's technology affords us; perturbed fantasies amplified by technology's erect negligence.

Frank & Zed: From Puppetcore Films, "Frank & Zed" is perhaps the world's first all-puppet monster movie packed with detail, gore, and fire-breathing puppets.

Voting will end Monday, October 19 at 11 a.m. ET.


Read the entire article at indiewire.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.14

We are thrilled to announce that Lyons Den Productions was named a finalist for both "Best Web Developer" and "Best Filmmaker" categories in the Erie Reader Best Of Erie 2015 awards.

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of finalists at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.13

"Unearth: Lyons Den Productions" via innovationcollaborators.com

John C. Lyons raised more than $7,000 in 48 hours for his feature film Unearth. Since launch, the project has received a tweet from Chuck Palahniuk, recognition on Kickstarter's Recommended Film Project's list, and a host of other media attention, which can be found here: indiewire.com/article/in-unearth-a-tale-about-fracking-becomes-a-true-horror-story-20151012.


Read the entire article at innovationcollaborators.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.12

"In "Unearth," a Tale About Fracking Becomes a True Horror Story" via indiewire.com

Here's your daily look at an indie project in development. Is this something you'd want to see?

Here's your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress -- at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

Unearth

Logline: When one desperate family leases their farmland to a gas company relationships crumble and a menacing entity is revealed. Be wary what you reap, when your land is sown with secrets.

Elevator Pitch: Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, "Unearth" is a terrifying, and uniquely American story, which follows two neighboring farm families whose relationships are put to the test when one of them leases their land to a gas company and has it drilled using a controversial method know as "fracking."

In the midst of this growing tension something long dormant beneath the surface is released. 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.

Production Team: John C. Lyons - Writer/Director 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 - Director of Photography/Producer 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 web de

“Monster” Mark Kosobucki - Special FX Coordinator Kosobucki is a graduate of the Douglas Education Center for Special Makeup FX and Sculpting. Also a talented illustrator and designer, he will be designing all of the posters for this film including the ones available in our reward tiers.

Andi Wondersound - Composer Wondersound has scored each of Lyons Den Productions films. A talented illustrator in his own right, he designed the poster and props for our last feature, "There Are No Goodbyes."

Courtney Lang - Models and Props Master 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.

About the Film: 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.

To support the regional filmmaking community and give the story an authentic feel, I plan to shoot in Pennsylvania near the very towns I grew up. Areas faced with the difficult decisions and hardships presented in this story.

Current Status: We are fundraising with the hope of entering production in spring of 2016.


Read the entire article at indiewire.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.08

"Local filmmaker raises Kickstarter funds for "Unearth"" via goerie.com

Something sinister is about to be unleashed.

Or at least that’s what several horror film fans are hoping. Northwestern Pennsylvania filmmaker John C. Lyons (“Schism,” “There Are No Goodbyes”) has already attracted quite a few Kickstarter contributions for his latest eco-horror flick project, “Unearth.”

The film — centered in two farming families whose lives change when local fracking churns up unexpected consequences — currently stars Jennifer Hooper and Ruth Thoma Andrews, with other roles to be cast. The project, with a Kickstarter pledge goal of $15,000, is scheduled to go into production next year. Kickstarter contributors could receive DVDs, original artwork and even a chance to appear in the film.

Learn more about the film and how to contribute here: kickstarter.com/projects/johnclyons/unearth-a-feature-length-horror-film. The Kickstarter campaign ends Nov. 5, 10 a.m.


Read the entire article at goerie.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.08

Our feature film Unearth got a big shout out today from the man himself Chuck Palahniuk!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer for their support.


Join Unearth campaign at kickstarter.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.08

"John C. Lyons’ New Eco-Horror Film "Unearth" Launches Kickstarter Campaign" via crowdfundingpr.org

The award-winning team at Lyons Den Productions are excited to announce their next feature film will be “Unearth”, a uniquely American horror story about the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what our children reap from our actions. This announcement comes with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign tomorrow, Tuesday October 6th, to raise the necessary funding for the project expected to go into production next year in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, “Unearth” was inspired by increasing environmental concerns ripped from today’s headlines. The film’s writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of the project “In light of new evidence uncovered by journalists like Public Herald regarding years of cover-up by state regulators regarding water contamination caused by the Marcellus shale industry, I think now more than ever it is time for a film like “Unearth”.

Jennifer Hooper, star of feature films “Schism” and “There Are No Goodbyes”, and an award-winning filmmaker herself, has snagged one of the film’s lead roles as has Ruth Thoma Andrews, a stage and screen veteran who’s appeared in over 50 plays in the past 30 years. Several lead roles have yet to be cast. Scripts are being sent to actors and agents and the filmmakers hope to hold auditions, both locally and online.

“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 Graphic Designer. Andy Flatley, who has scored each of Lyons Den Productions’ films, will return to paint music to image.

Horror film fanatics and eco-conscious citizens alike can help make the film a reality by contributing to the project’s Kickstarter campaign. The campaign, which rewards backers with everything from DVDs and original Artwork to a chance to be cast in the film and attend it’s premiere. Lyons Den Productions has been working closely with Mercyhurst University’s Quickstarter program to develop and build the campaign. Unearth’s Kickstarter campaign launches Tuesday October 6th at 10:00 a.m.


Read the entire article at crowdfundingpr.org





15.10.07

""Unearth" Kickstarter Achieves 50% Funding in Less Than 24 Hours" via eriereader.com

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.

So says the Kickstarter campaign for Unearth, a feature film that’s equal parts character-driven drama and eco-horror, which surpassed 50% funding in less than 24 hours, says Lyons Den Productions.

Kickstarter is being used to try and raise the necessary funds for the project to go into production next year in northwestern Pennsylvania. If the project does not reach its goal, the filmmakers do not receive any funding.

Inspired by increasing environmental concerns about fracking ripped from today’s headlines, “Unearth” is a uniquely American horror story about the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what our children reap from our actions.

The film’s writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of this surprise Kickstarter development, “While typically these types of funding success stories are reserved for projects directed by or starring known Hollywood names, people across the country are backing our film based on the concept, our story, and a true, indie filmmaking team of talent."

“Monster” Mark Kosobucki, a graduate of the Douglas Education Center for Special Makeup FX and Sculpting (and creator of many Reader covers) will serve as the film’s Special FX Coordinator. Horror film fanatics and eco-conscious citizens alike are encouraged help make the film by visiting Kickstarter.

The campaign rewards backers with everything from DVDs and original artwork to a chance to be cast in the film and attend its premiere.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com





15.10.07

"New Eco-Horror Film Unearth Launches Kickstarter Campaign" via broadwayworld.com

The award-winning team at Lyons Den Productions are excited to announce their next feature film will be "Unearth," a uniquely American Horror Story about the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what our children reap from our actions. This announcement comes with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign tomorrow, Tuesday October 6th, to raise the necessary funding for the project expected to go into production next year in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, "Unearth" was inspired by increasing environmental concerns ripped from today's headlines. The film's writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of the project, "In light of new evidence UNCOVERED by journalists like Public Herald regarding years of cover-up by state regulators regarding water contamination caused by the Marcellus shale industry, I think now more than ever it is time for a film like "Unearth."

Jennifer Hooper, star of feature films "Schism" and "There Are No Goodbyes," and an award-winning filmmaker herself, has snagged one of the film's lead roles as has Ruth Thoma Andrews, a stage and screen veteran who's appeared in over 50 plays in the past 30 years. Several lead roles have yet to be cast. Scripts are being sent to actors and agents and the filmmakers hope to hold auditions, both locally and online.

"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 Graphic Designer. Andy Flatley, who has scored each of Lyons Den Productions' films, will return to paint music to image.

Horror film fanatics and eco-conscious citizens alike can help make the film a reality by contributing to the project's Kickstarter campaign. The campaign, which rewards backers with everything from DVDs and original Artwork to a chance to be cast in the film and attend it's premiere. Lyons Den Productions has been working closely with Mercyhurst University's Quickstarter program to develop and build the campaign. Unearth's Kickstarter campaign launches Tuesday October 6th at 10:00 a.m.

Unearth

Tagline: Be wary what you reap, when your land is sown with secrets.

Logline: When one desperate family leases their farmland to a gas company relationships crumble and a menacing entity is revealed.


Read the entire article at broadwayworld.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.10.06

"Eco-horror film marks Quickstarter’s ninth project launch" via mercyhurst.edu

Mercyhurst University’s latest Quickstarter campaign is eyeing an ambitious fundraising goal of $15,000 for filmmaker John C. Lyons of Lyons Den Productions to commence production of his uniquely American horror story, “Unearth.”

Billed equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, Lyons said the film reveals “the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions and what the next generation reaps from our actions.” He intends to begin production with his wife and business partner, Dorota Swies, next year in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Mercyhurst intelligence studies professor Kristan Wheaton, who created Quickstarter as a strategy for conducting successful crowdfunding campaigns on popular online platforms like Kickstarter, and Mercyhurst students Jessika Turner and Annie Murphy are working with Lyons on his Kickstarter campaign. To date, Wheaton has managed successful Kickstarter campaigns for seven out of eight projects, and he has 18 more waiting in the wings. This marks his ninth project launch.

Funding for the latest Quickstarter initiative is through the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority’s Ignite Erie: Industry-University Business Acceleration Collaborative, led by Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend.

Horror film fanatics and the eco-conscious can help make the film a reality by contributing to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, Unearth: A feature-length horror film, which launched on Oct. 6. Lyons has until Nov. 5 to achieve his $15,000 goal or forfeit any funds raised.

The campaign will reward backers with everything from DVDs and original artwork to a chance to be cast in the film and attend its premiere.

“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,” Lyons reveals on his Kickstarter page. “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.”

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).

Meanwhile, through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Wheaton sees the potential to transform Erie into an “idea hub” by taking local entrepreneurial projects to the next level and, in some cases, morphing them into full-fledged businesses.


Read the entire article at mercyhurst.edu





15.10.06

"John C. Lyons’ Unearth Launches Kickstarter Campaign" by Todd Rigney via dreadcentral.com

Not too long ago, writer/director John C. Lyons released Schism, a brilliant independent feature that tackled the real-life horror of Alzheimer’s through the eyes of a character named Neil Woodward. It’s a film that stuck with me over the years, and it’s a shame it hasn’t received more attention. Do yourself a favor: If you love horror films grounded in reality, then rent the flick on Amazon. It deserves to be seen. Thankfully, Lyons is still out there making movies.

Like many filmmakers these days, Lyons is gathering funds for his next project via Kickstarter. He’s also promising a horror flick oozing with practical effects, which is always a good thing.

From the Press Release:

The award-winning team at Lyons Den Productions are excited to announce their next feature film will be “Unearth”, a uniquely American horror story about the terrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what our children reap from our actions. This announcement comes with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign tomorrow, Tuesday October 6th, to raise the necessary funding for the project expected to go into production next year in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Equal parts docu-drama and eco-horror, “Unearth” was inspired by increasing environmental concerns ripped from today’s headlines. The film’s writer and director, John C. Lyons, said of the project “In light of new evidence uncovered by journalists like Public Herald regarding years of cover-up by state regulators regarding water contamination caused by the Marcellus shale industry, I think now more than ever it is time for a film like “Unearth”.

Jennifer Hooper, star of feature films “Schism” and “There Are No Goodbyes”, and an award-winning filmmaker herself, has snagged one of the film’s lead roles as has Ruth Thoma Andrews, a stage and screen veteran who’s appeared in over 50 plays in the past 30 years. Several lead roles have yet to be cast. Scripts are being sent to actors and agents and the filmmakers hope to hold auditions, both locally and online.

“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 Graphic Designer. Andy Flatley, who has scored each of Lyons Den Productions’ films, will return to paint music to image.

Want to contribute to the flick? Swing by the official Kickstarter campaign and fork over some cash. For more info about Lyons and his upcoming endeavor, head over to Facebook.


Read the entire article at dreadcentral.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





15.09.30

"Local filmmaker John C. Lyons on his next venture, "Unearth"" by Emma Giering via edinboronow.com

Picture jungle ants as observed through the careful and analytic lens of a professional photographer. In a single acre of nearly any jungle there can be approximately 8 million ants, scurrying about the jungle floor, harvesting plants with their razor-sharp mandibles, antennae twitching. For the most part, their lives are inconsequential, but vital to the continuance of the greater good of the ecosystem. All is generally well for these often forgotten insects, but there are eerie exceptions.

One such exception are cordyscepts, a parasitic fungus that impacts the ant’s body in a manner that is equal parts surreal and disturbing. The cordyscepts infiltrate not only the organism’s body, but their mind as well.

The once busy, focused, and productive ant now ambles disorientated, clawing its way up various trees and branches in utter oblivion. If the infected ant is discovered by his colony to be infected, it’s carried far away from the established ant colony and left to fend for itself in its madness.

The cordyscept then sprouts from the ants head and grows in much the same way an antler might grow. Within three weeks, the tip of the growth will release a deadly spore. And that spore is so potent it could potentially devastate entire colonies of ants. But what do cordyscepts, an ominous fungi, have to do with filmmaker John C. Lyons? As it turns out, a lot.

I sat down with Lyons a week ago in Edinboro’s Flip Café to interview him about a new project he’s in the works of casting and creating. The faint clatter of syrupy knives and the hum of simple conversation filled the room as Lyons and I dug into our breakfasts. Dressed in a sky blue oxford and sporting thick, black-rimmed glasses, Lyons looked the part of a serious artist. His sleeves were rolled-up as if to say, “I’m here to work.” It was evident within the first two minutes of questioning, though, that work was an understatement, as the sheer drive and passion that Lyons has for his latest project was omnipresent and carried the conversation for a solid two hours.

‘Still in the family’

Lyons is a local. Raised on, as he puts it, “a farm somewhere between Albion and Edinboro,” he admits having deep roots in the local area. The farm he was raised on is still in the family; his brother lives on the land. When fracking came to Pennsylvania and began to affect foundational farmlands across the state, it was no surprise Lyons took notice and began to incubate and coddle the seed of an idea. In fact, the very farm that Lyons recalls fondly was once the target of proposed fracking wells and drilling sites.

After seeing and being moved by films such as Josh Fox’s “Gasland,” and Public Herald journalists Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic’s co-directed exposé, “Triple Divide,” Lyons felt the argument these grass-roots activists were making was something he wanted to join in on. That is why, in January 2013, the pet-project he codenamed “Fracking Monsters,” came to fruition.

Pennsylvania has long been a state notorious for its lax fracking regulations. Drilling has risen sharply, with roughly 71,000 active gas wells, up from about 36,000 in 2000, according to The New York Times. This comes at an incalculable cost as our water can become contaminated by radioactivity, pets have been reported to lose their hair and millions of gallons of waste water laced with corrosive salts and carcinogens are now in massive, above-ground landfills. The threat that Lyons saw was real. In a state where the effects of the economic recession are still being felt by rural farmers, the money being offered as compensation for land leasing rights is, to most, “manna from heaven.” The efficiency of the fast-talking engineers and the persuasivenesss of pro-fracking propaganda is what helps to ease the sheepish public to their own slaughtering house.

Lyons foresaw this, and as a filmmaker, felt an obligation to remedy the lies of the fracking campaign using his own medium. Cue “Unearth.”

‘Socially driven gothic horror’

“Unearth” is the harvest from the “Fracking Monsters” seed, sown all the way back in January 2013. Permitted to read the script before meeting Lyons for breakfast, I informed him over email that I was “stunned,” and “in need of a few days to think about it.”

The movie interweaves the narratives of two neighboring families, The Lomacks and The Dinges. Both families live close to one another and have long profited from the fertile lands which they farm. When one family runs into financial turmoil, the gas monopoly’s corporate stiffs swoop into town accordingly and offer some serious cash for a piece of land. The screenplay reads seamlessly, with a true understanding of the complexity of both family and societal dynamics. The characters are so well-developed, the reader begins to feel as if they’re an extra in the script, watching passively as the chaos around them unfurls into a sinister and surreal gestalt of mayhem, which Lyons has dubbed “socially driven gothic horror.” Remember those ants I introduced at the beginning of this article? Imagine that manifesting its way into the human population. Tantalizing, no?

“Unearth” will be Lyons’ third production, a sister film to his earlier award-winning works of “Schism” (2008) and “There Are No Goodbyes” (2013), respectively. Though much of the cast has yet to be selected, actress Jennifer Hooper has been cast as Heather, a head-strong daughter in the Lomack family. Kathryn, the head of the Dinges family and patron saint of rugged-individualism will be played by Ruth Thoma Andrews.

Lyons states it was critical to develop strong female protagonists who were “focused and able to develop the connective tissues between the two families while still radiating a sense of warmth or concern.” If intricate character plotting is not your interest, that’s fine. Lyons also brought Mark Kosobucki of Dread Central Magazine on board for some gruesome special effects and we’re not talking dainty scabs and black eyes. Look up the teaser trailer on YouTube if you don’t believe me.

But Lyons seems interested in inviting the campus to share in the creation of his brainchild.

“I’m going to try to get in contact with the geology students. I’d like to build a miniature drilling rig to film the process of fracking in a controlled environment. I need students with an understanding of the geologic layers that the pipe will penetrate through,” said Lyons, polishing off his omelet and glancing up with a characteristic glimmer in his eyes.

The amount of research that went into the screenplay will surely not go unnoticed by production companies looking for their next engaging film in which to collaborate. The terminology and procedures implemented are all realistic and characteristic of the industry because they’re based on interviews, surveys, and reports produced by nonpartisan researchers.

The Public Herald, a nonprofit investigative journalism publication, funded by the public and based in Pittsburgh, has reported extensively on the damages and misery the gas industry has cast unknowing citizens into. Through collaboration with impartial sources, Lyons has concocted a moving narrative where his audience is asked to question America’s consumerist obsession and abuse of resources for short term profit.

There are foreboding elements that are sown carefully into the script, with the intent of having the audience develop an understanding for the terminology along with the unsuspecting characters of the movie. It’s a mutual learning, which makes the complexity of the business less daunting and more palatable.

‘Something smart and dark’

“Unearth” has technical kinks and casting quirks to resolve before it begins filming in the Spring of 2016, but Lyons’ vision is concise, disarming and alluring. He’s completely unconcerned with the controversy surrounding his vision, even in an area where money to silence dissenting opinions goes a long way. “It’s not a documentary, but it’s not fiction,” Lyons told me. “But I hope that the audience gets that it’s a well-informed place I’m coming from,” he concluded.

In film, there’s a quasi-derogatory category for work called “mumblecore,” which is, a genre of work where the director utilizes nonprofessional actors in improvised performances. Lyons seems to be under the impression that if his characters are portrayed via static acting — acting where the performers are unfazed by the environment they’re cast into — a Pandora’s Box of cinematic blunders will permeate the film.

“I don’t want to cater to [that,]” Lyons said laughing. “I would say it’s sophisticated horror, but that sounds too pretentious. Let’s say this. With my films I try to blend certain elements. I want it to be visually rich, so much so that the film has its own language through its cinematography. The storyline has to be a form of social commentary, as well, something smart and dark.”

Lyons asks a lot of himself and his films, but the higher the standards, the more rewarding the outcome.

Through his work Lyons is leaving his audience with the sense of being terrified and entertained in thought, fostering an uncommon reaction in a world where 21st century blockbusters make the public eye wander from works of truth. But Lyons has the artist’s vision, the kind that makes you sit back in your seat after reading a mere screenplay and think, “Stunned. I’m gonna need a few days.”

And that’s something everyone should be holding tickets to see.


Read the entire article at edinboronow.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





14.10.17

We are proud to announce that Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons won Erie Reader Best Of Erie 2014 in "Best Filmmaker" category!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of winners at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





14.10.14

We are thrilled to announce that Lyons Den Productions was named a finalist for both "Best Web Developer" and "Best Filmmaker" categories in the Erie Reader Best Of Erie 2014 awards.

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of finalists at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





14.02.05

"John C. Lyons: The Future of Film in Erie" by Ben Speggen via eriereader.com

At first glimpse, John C. Lyons is an unassuming guy. He’s quiet, with a slender frame and narrow shoulders – someone you’ve stood behind unknowingly in line waiting for a latte. But get close enough, and you start to notice the distinct features. His hipster crop of hair, buzzed tight on the sides with a gelled mane combed back on the top, and the trademark vintage thick-framed black Ray Bans of someone you’ve stood behind in line waiting to snag a Magic Hat No. 9 and see an up-and-coming indie act in a dive bar.

We’re sitting close enough at Lavery Brewing Compnay on a cold Wednesday evening that behind those glasses I can see his steel-blue eyes light up when he talks about something that matters to him because it matters to his city and it matters enough that he’s laboring for free out of love to see it lived out.

“Film matters – period,” he says, leaning in closer as if telling me a secret he’s surprised is a secret. “It’s truly an amazing art form, and we have a great opportunity for it here in Erie.”

Maybe that’s why he’s leaning in, treating the topic like it's taboo or a secret that only still a few have figured out. It’s no mystery that even just five years ago, independent films were hard to find in Erie. And it’s no mystery that the times, they are a-changin’, as when once there were three, then two, Erie now has just one lonely Cineplex perched on Upper Peach Street.

Fast-forward to that cold Wednesday night and why I’m meeting filmmaker John C. Lyons. Unfamiliar with his work? Type his name in the popular film website IMDb. You’ll see credits for director for 2013’s There Are No Goodbyes, 2006’s Schism, and 2005’s short films BOGO and Hunting Camp.

You’ll also see that he is a small-ish guy, standing at 5’10”. More importantly, though, you see he’s from Erie, and you’ll see that he’s putting Erie on the film map.

But more than just creating art – producing scripts, assembling casts, directing actors, editing reel after reel, and then slinging promotion – John is directing Erie’s film future through his endeavors with the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

“John has been so passionate about making Erie be a place that loves film and supports filmmakers,” says Erika Dauber Berlin, president of the Film Society. “He has a long history in the community of working with people for film – he resurrected a nonprofit to be an active force in the community.”

Rewind to three years ago. The Film Society existed, but it got shelved and consequently languished and began collecting dust.

“Somebody’s got to pay attention to the details,” Erika says over the phone. “John’s extremely detailed-oriented and motivated. He’s on-task. He’s a filmmaker and [serving as the Film Society’s executive director] is a volunteer role for him. But he’s proven himself to be capable of both with just as much energy and passion for each.”

John paid attention to details, took the Film Society off the shelf, signed on as its executive director, blew the dust off of the nonprofit, and got the reels cranking again. With Erika’s help as president, along with help from additional board members like Jim Wertz, the Society is already exceeding its three-year goals.

“We wanted to form a board and develop a vision,” Erika explains. “And here we are already – a developed, capable board, a film series, major fundraising events, and new projects on the horizon.” With a strong board, John could easily do his directing thing to make a masterpiece of Erie film culture: Assemble the crew, give directions, frame the vision, and execute in hopes of making Erie an exciting place for film.

The Film Society is currently working with various regional film organizations – Bad-Ass Film Festival, Edinboro Film Series, Eerie Horror Film Festival, Langer Film Series, Lyons Den Productions, MoreFrames Animation, and Spirit Quest Film Festival – as well as forming a relationship with Tinseltown through the promotion of its CineArts series and continuing to develop the FILM at the Erie Art Museum film series.

It’s that kind of synergy that leads to John saying things like Amy Seimetz without much context in between sips of beer.

“Getting her in Erie… that was a big deal for me.”

Featured in the FILM at the Erie Art Museum's “Women in Film” season, Sun Don’t Shine caught critics attention early and fast, and it notched a “best director” award in Seimetz’s belt at the SXSW Film Festival.

So showing her 2012 breakout movie at the weekly film series held each Wednesday during a given season at the Erie Art Museum was a big deal for John as the curator. But an even bigger deal? John lined up the indie-movie darling for a Q&A after the screening via Skype and welcomed the audience to remain afterwards to ask her questions about her film and her work.

“I love that people stick around after the screenings,” John says. “It shows that people in Erie really do care about film and the art of film.”

But Seimetz isn’t the only filmmaker to either appear in-person or via the Internet in Erie. Lyons has brought the likes of Triple Divide filmmakers Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa A. Troutman, Middle of Nowhere’s star Emayatzy Corinealdi, director of The Mayor Jared Scheib, director of Chasing Ice Jeff Orlowski, and lead special-effects developer for Beasts of the Southern Wild Matt Thompson – all while continually curating seasons’ worth of films for the series.

And just because a renowned or emerging filmmaker can’t fly in or Skype in, that doesn’t mean the conversation at FILM isn’t happening.

“Having a discussion post-film is critical,” John explains. “It goes beyond sitting in a chair and passively watching; it allows the viewer to ruminate, digest, get a real taste for what they just experienced.”

And that discussion stems from engaging selections – something John takes very seriously.

“I’m constantly screening films,” he says. “At least one a day if not more to find out what I want to bring to Erie.”

Amongst his heavier hitters, he’s brought Blue is the Warmest Color, Upstream Color, and Sound City. And with the upcoming kickoff of FILM’s new season, he’s tightlipped about the full lineup (something that he’ll reveal opening night Feb. 12), but he’s excited for The Broken Circle Breakdown, which plays that night.

“This film came completely out of left field for me. I was blown away by its heartbreaking love story and how closely the plot's DNA intertwines with the music,” John explains. “And man, that beautiful Bluegrass music plus powerful lead performances – where the actors sing their own tunes – the drama, romance. A film of reason versus religion. Of life, parental love, death, America, and the music unites these two very different people. Whether or not it wins the Oscar, it's a must see.”

The excitement he has for the kickoff is palpable, something you can hear in his voice and see in his eyes – the relentless energy of someone constantly driven to create.

“He seems to have tireless energy for this endeavor,” says Jim Wertz, the director of the Greater Erie Film Office, over the phone. “It’s good -- it keeps us focused and motivated.”

Jim is spearheading one of John’s new initiatives that falls under the umbrella of the Film Society: The Greater Erie Film Office.

“Pittsburgh’s a great city to film in,” John says. “But so is Erie. We have four seasons, the lake, woods, an urban center with industrial boom and bust – so many things that can be of great use to filmmakers.”

The Greater Erie Film Office is the conduit drawing filmmakers to the Erie region, as the office can help facilitate everything from providing general knowledge of the landscape and terrain to production assistance to helping filmmakers know where to eat and sleep while in the area.

While it’ll be unlikely to see a Dark Knight Rises land in Erie, something like a Perks of Being a Wallflower isn’t that big of a stretch.

“The ‘million-dollar’ movies could really do well here,” he says. “The Little Miss Sunshines of the industry could easily be very Erie when it comes to backgrounds.

“And so few filmmakers actually know about the tax credit,” John continues, again leaning in, as if divulging a secret.

But it’s open knowledge: Pennsylvania offers a 25 percent tax credit to films that spend at least 60 percent of their total budget within the state. And while so far, John says he seems to be one of the few in the region taking advantage of that, he’s not looking to keep that to himself; rather, he’s looking to help share the wealth to grow the film industry in Erie.

And, every time he talks to an Amy Seimetz or a Jeff Orlowski or another acclaimed filmmaker, he’s pitching them Erie, serving as its ambassador of film and encouraging them to consider filming their next project in The Gem City, helping them to see that the city that served as the backdrop of his films could easily serve as the backdrop of theirs, and really, that independent film in Erie shouldn't be a kept a secret.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.08.14

"Say Hello to "There Are No Goodbyes"" by Jeff Mitchell via examiner.com

“There Are No Goodbyes” (2013) 3.5 / 5 stars - “It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years,” scientist Stephen Hawking said.

For Oliver (Matthew King), he’s been stuck his entire life of 30 years.

No, he’s not trying to interpret astrological phenomena - during his three decades on this planet - but quite frankly, he’s not trying to accomplish much of anything either.

Living alone in a modest home in icy cold Erie, PA, he spends his days putting on his bomber hat and heavy jacket to shovel the snow off his driveway.

For anyone from (or currently living in) the U.S. snow belt and chartered with removing snow, the scraping of cheap steel on a concrete driveway sounds like nails screeching down a chalkboard.

It’s not whistle-while-you-work work, and with director/co-writer John C. Lyons adding dim skies and whipping wind (especially during the film’s opening sequence), it’s clear Oliver’s world isn’t bright.

When he’s not at home, Oliver spends time with his cantankerous 50-something friend named Millie (Betsy Butoryak) or a few grumbling older men in a crowded diner.

Depressed stares and large periods of silence are Oliver’s most visible traits, and all seems lost, but one day, he receives a mysterious package – in the shape of a black box - with an attached letter.

He discovers the letter's message ends with: “Complete your task in a timely manner, and you’ll be duly compensated.”

From here, the film takes off in different directions and, suddenly, hope might find its way into Oliver’s heart.

Although Lyons’s overarching theme is a familiar one, and we’ve seen the breaking invisible chains which can hold us back storyline before, he delivers this one with an engaging and refreshing science fiction bent.

Through the slush and cold, Erie, PA suddenly becomes a place of unusual mystery, and Oliver truly receives a gift: the gift of connections.

Are these connections enough to pull Oliver out of his shell?

Lyons weaves a compelling puzzle, and he kept me guessing while introducing two key characters admirably played by Frederick Williams and Jennifer Hooper.

Fenris (Williams) and Raina (Hooper) enter Oliver life, and they represent a serious change from his humdrum existence.

It’s up to Oliver to accept these helping hands, but that's easier said than done when aid strangely appears out of nowhere.

“There Are No Goodbyes” opens up big ideas in an ordinary town and to an ordinary person who has “no power, no influence.”

Sometimes, the film's ideas are almost too grandiose, and the political messages are a little too forced.

Also, the quirky indie feel and runtime prevent us from completely understanding some odd moments on screen.

On the other hand, I'm glad I said "Hello" to "There Are No Goodbyes", because the story doesn’t give everything away, and I appreciated this stylistic choice.

The movie allows us to work our imaginations on the possibilities which govern the lives on-screen and (at the same time, our own lives) off-screen.

In life, we just need to have faith and hold on to those glimmers of human luminescence when they reveal themselves.

Hopefully, it won’t take us 29 or 30 years to recognize them.


Read the entire article at examiner.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.08.09

""There Are No Goodbyes" Available Worldwide" via studentfilmmakers.com

Lyons Den Productions is proud to announce the worldwide release of their new feature film “There Are No Goodbyes” through ThereAreNoGoodbyes.com. A story about choices and finding purpose in one’s life; the film is available for online rental, digital download, and on DVD. Writer/director John C. Lyons said of the film’s release, “We’ve spent the last four years independently producing this film and we wanted to give people control of how and where to watch it. The film’s themes are global and being able to view it anywhere, anytime is exciting.”

Through the Distrify service, Lyons Den Productions is now offering several choices to viewers:

Streaming HD Rental ($3.99 USD) 94 minutes HD Digital Download ($9.99 USD) 94 minutes, DRM-free HD Digital Download Deluxe Package ($12.99 USD) includes the film, 20 minutes of Deleted/Extended Scenes with Director’s Commentary, 7 minutes of Outtakes, and an Exclusive 14 minute Interview with actors Matthew King (Oliver) and Frederick Williams (Fenris) with never-before-seen footage. DRM-free. Extended Cut DVD/CD Set ($21.99 USD) includes the 108 minute Extended Cut of the film, Deleted/Extended Scenes, Outtakes, and Limited Edition CD Soundtrack. Autographed. Only 1,000 units of the DVD/CD Set were produced.

“There Are No Goodbyes” is the second feature length film from the award-winning team at Lyons Den Productions who celebrated its World Premiere in April at the 40th annual Athens International Film + Video Festival. In addition to Erie and Pittsburgh PA, scenes were shot overseas in Poland, Czech Republic, and Ireland. The production was made possible in part by a Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit award and a successful online crowd-funding campaign.


Read the entire article at studentfilmmakers.com





13.07.18

"Finally!" by Cory Vaillancourt via eriereader.com

You know the story by now. Or at least, you should, with all the buzz that’s been generated.

“There are no Goodbyes” is a locally-shot independent film by 2013 Erie Reader 40-under-40 alum John C. Lyons; the story of the movie was featured in April 2012 Erie Reader cover story by Alex Bieler, and multiple screenings of this flick have taken place throughout the region over the past year.

The movie follows Oliver (Matthew King) – a rudderless and lonely young man – as he somehow becomes part of mysterious stranger Fenris’ (the excellent Frederick Williams) suspicious schemes. Complicating matters, Oliver begins to fall in love with beautiful young photog Raina (Jennifer Hooper), leading him to question the eternal struggle between fate and free will, and his role in Fenris’ life. Many scenes in the movie feature landmarks well-known to the people of Erie; even more, the way the film is shot captures not only the look of a smallish, post-industrial rust-belt town, but also the feel of it.

If you still haven’t seen “There are no Goodbyes,” Lyons has good news for you – finally. If you visit www.ThereAreNoGoodbyes.com, you can rent all 94 minutes of the movie, streamed straight from your glowing rectangle to your face in HD, for just $3.99. That’s like 4.2 cents a minute!

If you really like “There are no Goodbyes,” you can own it for life for just $9.99, which, depending on how long you actually live, could be a great deal for you.

And if you really, really like “There are no Goodbyes,” you can buy the limited edition extended cut – there are only a thousand of these in existence, people – for $21.99.

But if you’re one of those not-so-sure types, you can watch a preview of the film on the site for free, because Lyons is just that kinda guy, and he’s convinced that once the 60-second trailer ends, you won’t want to say… “goodbye.”


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.07.17

"New Movie "There Are No Goodbyes" Released Today" via cbslocal.com

Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies appeared on CBS Pittsburgh Today Live to promote the release of their new feature film on Rental, Download, and DVD.


Watch the entire interview at cbslocal.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.07.11

"Outdoor screening of "There Are No Goodbyes" set for Friday" by Dave Richards via goerie.com

John C. Lyons is finally ready to say goodbye to "There Are No Goodbyes."

After working more than three years on his latest feature film, he'll screen the final version Friday at a special outdoor presentation at Penn State Behrend.

Lyons showed test screenings of "There Are No Goodbyes" in the area in 2012, but said this version is substantially different. It's tighter, at about 20 minutes shorter, features clearer sound and includes more local music.

"It seems like it always takes us three or four years, and we just keep working on it until we're totally happy," Lyons said. "We did the same thing with 'Schism.'"

Friday's final cut is the same version that recently screened at film festivals in Pittsburgh and Germany. Lyons, crew members and actors -- including Matthew King, Jennifer Hooper and Fred Williams -- will attend the screening and answer questions.

With "Goodbyes," Lyons said he wanted to make a film that's "a snapshot of Erie and blue-collar America." The story involves Oliver (King), a lost soul who's trying to find some meaning in his life after his parents have died.

"He's kind of sleepwalking through life," Lyons said. "One day, these strange packages start to appear on his doorstep, telling him to do this or that, and he'll get a reward for his efforts."

Oliver completes a few tasks, but starts to question the stranger's intentions. After he meets a woman (Hooper) and starts to fall in love, the stranger suddenly reappears -- with one more package.

Lyons shot the bulk of the film in Erie in such locales as Bertrand's, Perry Square, Presque Isle, the Boardwalk complex, Millcreek Mall and downtown's Sheraton Hotel. Scenes featuring Oliver's buddies heatedly discussing politics were shot at Lawrence Park Dinor.

Other scenes were shot overseas -- Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic.

DVD copies of "There Are No Goodbyes" (the extended version) will be available for $10 at Friday's screening. They'll also be available Tuesday online ($18) at the film's website, www.therearenogoodbyes.com.

Lyons and producer Dorota Swies will show clips from the film and talk about it on Pittsburgh TV station KDKA's "Today Live" on Tuesday.

"We'll be live on that show in the morning, which is nerve-wracking and exciting," Lyons said. "They really liked the movie out there (in Pittsburgh). So, that was cool."

So will be seeing it outdoors on a giant inflatable screen. Bring lawn chairs and blankets, but don't worry about popcorn. Concessions will be available.


Read the entire article at goerie.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.06.23

"The Sunday Business Page: "There Are No Goodbyes"" via cbslocal.com

Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons was a guest on CBS Pittsburgh The Sunday Business Page. Topics include Lyons Den Productions, their new feature film "There Are No Goodbyes" and independent filmmaking in Pennsylvania.


Watch the entire interview at cbslocal.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.04.03

We are proud to announce that Lyons Den Productions' John C. Lyons received Erie Reader Erie's 40 Under 40 2013 award!

Lyons Den Productions thanks Erie Reader for this recognition.


View the entire listing of winners at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





13.03.01

"Meaning & Motivation: Filmmaker John C. Lyons" via edinboro.tv

Tim Thompson interviews independent filmmaker John C. Lyons about film making and the film scene in northwestern Pennsylvania. Lyons is the director of two feature films, Schism (2009) and There Are No Goodbyes (2012), as well as the co-creative force at Lyons Den Productions.


Watch the entire interview at edinboro.tv

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





12.04.18

"There Are No Goodbyes" by Alex Bieler via eriereader.com

It’s cold outside. Snow flies through the frigid air, seemingly moving in four directions at once. A man trudges along the sidewalk, his frozen footsteps creating the only noise beside the incessant flurries of frost.

This is Erie.

At least, it was before this past winter. I know this town too well not to appreciate the mild months we’ve been granted. Erieites understand this. The weather is just another part of the varied charms and curses this area provides on a daily basis. Even I, a native Clevelander who moved here five years ago, consider myself, at least in part, one of the local denizens.

So, seeing a man make his journey through entrenchments of snow doesn’t feel like a scene unfolding on the screen in front of me: It feels like Erie, a multifaceted character we all know quite well.

The people behind Lyons Den Productions, an independent film production company out of Edinboro, understand this. That’s why they filmed the majority of “There Are No Goodbyes,” their second full length film after 2008’s “Schism,” here in the Gem City. A tale about a directionless man given a series of tasks that begin to give his life meaning, “There Are No Goodbyes” can be seen at an advance screening in the Louis C. Cole Memorial Auditorium at Edinboro University at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19, and an encore showing Saturday, April 20, at the same time.

While the film is still being worked on, an advance screening with an audience is a far cry from where “There Are No Goodbyes” was four years ago, when John C. Lyons and Andy Flatley started working on it.

“I came up with the story in the summer of 2009,” said Flatley, co-producer for “There Are No Goodbyes.” “I was hitting John with a bunch of different ideas, like a lot of people do because John is a filmmaker. Finally, something stuck and we started working on it that summer.”

Lyons, who directed the film and produced it with Dorota Swies, went through five scripts with Flatley, who also has co-producer credit, before the story began to take shape.

“It’s funny to look at the early notes we took and see how [the story] morphed into what it became, because it was a love story and went in two different ways,” Lyons said.

The film still has romantic elements, but it grew into much more than that. “There Are No Goodbyes” revolves around the life of Oliver, a 30-year old native of Erie. He has no job, no family, and no motivation to really do anything besides hang out with his elderly friends. Eventually, a strange series of boxes appear at his door, giving the miserable man a series of tasks. While questioning the reasons behind his newfound purpose, Oliver starts opening up as he meets Raina, an outgoing photographer. It doesn’t take long before Oliver has to take action, breaking out of the monotony he’s become used to.

Eventually, the script had progressed to the point that the filmmakers needed subjects to film. In late 2010, Lyons, Swies, and Flatley held open auditions, where around 200 hopeful actors tried to make enough of an impact to be cast.

“It was tough for the actors,” Lyons said. “It’s the [Erie] Playhouse rehearsal hall, so it’s this huge room with mirrors behind us, and we’re sitting there on the far side with a camera, and they have to walk in all the way across.”

It was at these auditions that they found their major performers in Matthew King, Jennifer Hooper, and Frederick Williams. King was tabbed to play Oliver, the quiet, depressed main character.

“I went to film school, so I was in everybody’s films and they were in my films,” King said. “It was something I always liked to do, but I never really tried to audition for something big.”

It wasn’t until his brother told him of Lyons Den Productions’ newest feature that the film school-short veteran was cast in a full-length film. Due to the disparity between men and women at the audition, King ended up reading for several hours with the surplus of women trying out for Raina, Oliver’s love interest. Of the plethora of hopeful actresses, Hooper emerged victorious, claiming Raina as her own.

While King and Hooper ended up with the characters they tried out for, Williams’ route to “There Are No Goodbyes” ended up much differently than he had envisioned. In fact, he almost didn’t audition.

“I left [Lyons] a message on his phone about ‘Is it really worth me coming down?’ because I wasn’t going to go,” Williams said. “I swear to God, if he didn’t call me back, I would’ve never gone down.”

With Lyons’ push, Williams went down to try out for the role of Jimmy, Oliver’s helpful older neighbor, a role he thought he fit in both age and demeanor. Instead, he ended up playing Fenris, the mystifying man that shakes up Oliver’s world.

With Williams’ arrival, Flatley started envisioning the role of Fenris to fit him.

“Our original idea was that of the true spy, the little grey man, the guy you would never notice that is in the room,” Flatley said. “A little different than what we ended up with. We had people come in, and the character of Fenris is mysterious, so everyone came in and played it up as this kind of Vincent Pryce-y kind of thing and it just didn’t work.”

“I think with Fred not preparing for the role, we got to see something without being kind of affected like some others coming in audition for that part.”

Instead, Williams’ deep, commanding voice and large stature changed the film, an impressive feat for someone who had never done any acting before. With only his experience as a lector in church to aid him, Williams made the transformation from his talkative self to the mysterious Fenris.

“I had never been at any kind of audition before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Williams said. “They were giving us numbers like I was lining up for a police shot, you know, like a mug shot. When I get up there, everybody belongs to something, except me. I’m talking to these people and everybody either belongs to the Playhouse or they had some kind of background, either theater or some shorts or something like that.”

With Williams in tow, LDP was ready to go out and start filming. While the cold weather may have left some of the actor’s knees shaking a bit too much for some takes, the group meshed so well that Lyons gave them more freedom while shooting.

“We wanted to do it more organically, just hide the wireless mics on everybody, put them out in the situation, and let them interact out in the environment,” Lyons said. “A bunch of the stuff that these guys thought it wasn’t their best takes, but they felt so natural. That’s the stuff that we used.”

“It was a terrific experience,” Hooper agreed. “It was ideal, that kind of natural feeling, that freedom to do so without judgment or editing, you know you’re just free to roam.”

That organic look has a big impact on the movie. After raising small funds from a combination of personal finances and online fundraising, “There Are No Goodbyes” was filmed on location as opposed to on sets, giving the film a gritty realism—shooting scenes in an actual restaurant or on a busy street instead of fabricating the same feel elsewhere. With an entire city as their backdrop, the characters could interact with their environment, from an empty park to a bustling bar crowd.

While shots of recognizable settings provide a sense of a world made up of more than just our performers, “There Are No Goodbyes” features a fair share of close-ups on its characters, allowing the viewers to gain as much information from expressions as dialogue. This intimate style of filming makes Oliver’s quiet reservation speak for itself.

King and Williams didn’t have too much in common with their roles, but there was one character that didn’t have to act at all for its performance in the film: Erie.

“Erie is very much a character on purpose,” Lyons said. “It’s really like taking a snapshot of the area.”

“There Are No Goodbyes” is a melting pot of ideas. Much like the city of Erie, it contains elements of drama, romance, mysterious happenings, and more.

Erie isn’t a very glamorous city, nor is it a massive metropolitan area, a locale that would normally attract the attention of film crews. With the history behind the Flagship City, Lyons knew his hometown would be a perfect fit for the film.

“We wanted it to be kind of a comment on blue collar America,” Lyons said. “Kind of an economical and political comment, really showing progress slamming up against what worked.”

From the start of “There Are No Goodbyes,” Erie oozes from every scene. From the harsh winters to the Skippereno’s shirts, the area may be the main star, a perfect backdrop for the film.

The movie twists and turns between dramatic and comic moments that locals can witness on their daily ventures on State Street, much like some of the random encounters the cast and crew had while filming.

“During filming, we were downtown and it’s the middle of February and it’s freezing,” King said. “We were sitting warming up in the car and we look across the street and there’s this guy with his shirt off and shorts on, just boxer shorts, and no shoes running up the road, and we’re like ‘What the hell is going on?’”

“We didn’t get it on film, which is such a bummer, but between takes I notice this kind of scrawny, long-haired guy, probably in his early 20s, running down the street with a mattress on his back just right in the middle of street,” Flatley added, as the group continued laughing.

For outsiders, Erie can seem, well, rather odd. I, myself, must admit I entertained this opinion when I first moved to this town. Spend some time here and you’ll begin to understand the city’s charms.

While some people would interrupt the cast and crew’s endeavors (including brazen efforts by members of REO Speedwagon to try and get in the movie), many locals were very willing to lend a hand.

“People were so open to helping us out,” Flatley said. “The EMTA [Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority] literally let us borrow a bus with its own driver and an assistant. It wasn’t as much ‘Yeah, you can do this,’ but ‘How can we help you?’”

Several local businesses aided the filmmakers’ efforts, giving them the freedom to shoot on location, stuffing the film with recognizable locales.

“It was a lot of work, a lot of organization, but all of the locations helped us out so, so much,” Lyons said. “You can’t do this in New York, L.A., or most cities, really.”

With so many people helping out on the film, Flatley wanted to give back to the city as well. Along with working on the story, co-producing, and working as prop master, Flatley also served as composer for the film. To complement his original music, he had bands with connections to Erie submit songs to be used in the movie, providing “There Are No Goodbyes” with a soundtrack containing works by local artists, like Bill Burke, The Jargonauts, and Deadhorse, picking from hundreds of submissions to represent the area’s talent.

With all the local ties, it’s not surprising that the cast and crew of “There Are No Goodbyes” consider themselves Erieites, even those like Hooper and Swies that aren’t originally from Northwest Pennsylvania. Like the rest of us, they know that Erie, like Oliver, is a flawed character ready to be explored, showing that there’s more underneath what can be a cold first impression.

“There’s a lot of shortsightedness right down the line in Erie history, but there’s a lot of cool stuff too, so I think it’s a comic illustration,” Flatley said. “We’re all from here. I’ve spent enough time here that we can get an idea of its character, its limits, its potentials. Each city has its own thing.”

While a lighter side does shine through at times, “There Are No Goodbyes” is, at heart, a film revolving around serious questions, such as the struggle within Erie.

“It’s the idea of old Erie and new Erie,” Flatley said. “I’ve always kind of said that Erie is just like one marginalized community. There’s no one main community, there’s just slivers. Each group has its own little world and those worlds don’t really interact much. You have different groups that should be interacting with each other to make cool stuff happen, but it’s just so separated and everyone feels alienated because there’s no one dominating group in Erie.”

The film bounces between these two worlds. Oliver, who’s stuck in a town in which several of his classmates are leaving for larger cities and greener pastures, is torn between the older generation, stuck complaining about new ideas for progress and his contemporaries.

In a way, Oliver acts as the middle ground between the two worlds, listening to one group complain while the rest depart, leaving him apathetic to the world. Ultimately, Fenris gives him a reason to live, but this newfound purpose raises even more questions about whether one controls their own destiny.

“[Fenris] has that demeanor of whatever’s going to happen is going to happen and that’s the way it’s going to be,” Williams said. Oliver and Fenris’ relationship echoes the idea of free will clashing with destiny. Where one man gives out tasks that must be done because of a set of mysterious guidelines, the other questions these actions. While Oliver grows out of his shell, he looks to make his own path, but Fernis demands that he serve his purpose. In fact, Fenris’ name is even a sly nod to Scandinavian mythological take on the subject.

“If you look at fate from a Viking perspective or a Norse perspective it is not so much about that you’re born and everything is predetermined, but more that you’re put into a situation and it’s your job to make the best of that situation,” Flatley explained. “If you’re put into a situation where you have to fight, you fight the best that you can. You don’t bemoan the fact of your situation, because even the choices you make and the decisions you make can have an outcome for yourself. It’s all part of the same ocean, if you will. If you kick too much and make too many waves, that can affect other people down the line.”

Throughout the film, we see the ripples of Oliver’s actions affect others. We don’t always know how or why, but the impact is noticeable, giving each person a purpose. “There Are No Goodbyes” shows that even the smallest of tasks can make waves, and each person matters.

Tied in with the generational inactivity and the underlying purpose without action, results can’t happen. With some searching, however, one can notice some exciting possibilities.

“So many people think that nothing really happens in places like this,” Flatley said. “But in the 21st century you bump into so many people that are centered here. There’s a lot of weird stuff that goes on here in a cool way.”

Perhaps that is the theme that parallels Erie best. While the lack of progress between new Erie and old Erie may stymie change, everyone in this city has a part to play in the overall scope of things, including the mattress-bearing, shirtless crowd and the past-their-prime rockers.

As for the people behind “There Are No Goodbyes?”

Maybe their purpose was to make a film to point out these very ideas. Perhaps they wanted to entertain you. At the very least, Erieites can know that they have a movie that accurately portrays their city.

“The movie is so Erie,” Lyons said. “It’s relatable to anybody, but people that live here are going to feel the connection.”

Even after just five years in this town, I noticed it right away. From the need to prepare for a blizzard in order to merely go outside to get your paper in the winter to watching septuagenarians walk around the Millcreek Mall, the Gem City is the ultimate star.

It doesn’t hurt that “There Are No Goodbyes” feels like a story filled with flawed, unique, and, ultimately, very real characters thanks to the cast and crew behind the film. It’s a story with several storylines intertwining together, melding different themes all at once.

While some may find the number of developing plot lines distracting, it’s rather appropriate for Oliver’s progression. Life doesn’t wait for you to tie up one story before it unravels another. While Oliver and Raina may not be exact duplicates of anyone, you can relate to their trials in this city.

Four years ago, this film was just an idea. Now, “There Are No Goodbyes” will be shopped around to different film festivals around the country, embodying the area’s creativity and ability.

“We hope we can really represent the talent that’s here in this area,” Lyons said.

There will be more films in the future of Lyons Den Productions, but Erie has clearly had an impact on them, just like the rest of us Erieites.

Just like Oliver, we know what it’s like to be surrounded by flurries of snow, trudging along the frozen path as we make our way home.

Some of us may move away eventually, but once you really get to know Erie, there are no goodbyes to the Erieite inside us.


Read the entire article at eriereader.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS





11.10.31

""Chucky," "Walking Dead" Stars Join Bloodbath At Eerie Horror Film Festival" by David Lohr via huffingtonpost.com

Economic protesters were sidelined in downtown Erie last weekend, when ghosts and ghouls occupied the city's famed Warner Theatre. No, there was no zombie outbreak -- at least not this time around -- but a celebration of all things frightful by like-minded fans at the 8th annual Eerie Horror Film Festival.

The four-day festival and expo featured dozens of films, screenings, celebrity appearances and a variety of booths selling books, posters, clothing and collectibles.

Two of the big draws to this year's festival were guest appearances by Alexander Vincent and Norman Reedus.

Vincent was 6 years old in 1988 when he played the role of Andy Barclay in the 1988 horror film "Child's Play." He also starred in the 1990 sequel, "Child’s Play 2." Vincent, now 30, said he was not traumatized by starring in the films opposite "Chucky," a doll possessed by the soul of a mass murderer.

"I had fun with it," Vincent told The Huffington Post. "I was not afraid of the doll. It was a good experience, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of one of the top five horror film franchises."

Until recently, Norman Reedus was an actor best known for his portrayal of Murphy MacManus in the 1999 film "The Boondock Saints." However, he now has a new claim to fame: playing the role of Daryl Dixon in the hit AMC television series "The Walking Dead".

Contractual obligations prevented Reedus from commenting on the zombie drama, but he did say he was thrilled to be in Erie for the horror festival.

"If you ain't having fun in Erie, then you ain't having fun," Reedus said.

Reedus was joined at the festival by two of his co-stars from "The Boondock Saints," Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco. All three actors proved to be fan favorites, signing autographs and posing for photographs.

Other notable guests at the horror festival included Brian O'Halloran ("Clerks"); A. Michael Baldwin ("Phantasm"); Beverly Bonner ("Basket Case"); Tom Towles ("Night of the Living Dead" and "House of 1000 Corpses") and best-selling author Joe L. Lansdale.

O'Halloran, who said he is a fan of suspense and thriller movies, attended the festival last year and said he plans to return in 2012.

"I am having a great time," he told The Huffington Post. "[Erie] is a really fun town to hang out in, and it is a no-brainer for me to come back."

Among the dozens of films and previews shown at the festival was a trailer for "There Are No Goodbyes," a Lyons Den Productions film starring Matthew King and Jennifer Hooper. The preview of the film, which is a mash-up of several genres -- sci-fi, drama, romance and mystery -- was highly anticipated by the crowd in the theater and received a round of applause at its completion. "There Are No Goodbyes" debuts in April 2012.

The vendors brought their own festive frights to the table from far and wide. If you care for a scare, you might want to visit Ryan Gillikin's shop, Almighty Studios, in Jamestown, N.Y., or you can tune in to an upcoming episode of the Discovery Channel original series "Oddities." Featured on the show in November will be a ventriloquist's dummy named "Danny" who Gillikin says is thought to be possessed.

"It was a child's birthday or Christmas gift in the 1920s," Gillikin told The Huffington Post. "The child's father was having an affair with a servant and got her pregnant. He gave her arsenic to terminate the pregnancy. She became sick, and on her deathbed -- she was supposedly a practitioner of voodoo -- she cursed the doll with the spirit of her unborn child."

Following the housekeeper's death, children in the home claimed the doll stole their candy and attacked them. The doll was boxed and placed in an attic where it remained until Gillikin purchased it from a relative.

"I'm very skeptical of that sort of thing, but it was an interesting story and I collect oddities, so I bought it," Gillikin said. "I generally leave a bowl of candy with it. There has been no indication it is dangerous, but I will say it has shifted in the case on its own several times."


Read the entire article at huffingtonpost.com

LYONS DEN PRODUCTIONS