THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO STEPHENSON
“The Gospel According to Stephenson” is a vampire film with the theme of the believer vs. the skeptic at the very heart of the film’s conflict. The story concerns the appearance of what appears to be a supernatural being in our modern society – Stephenson – and how the worldview of the people he comes in contact with colors their perception of him. Those with a supernatural worldview – “The Believers” – see him as an evil being needing to be stopped in the name of God and morality. Those with a naturalistic world view – “The Skeptics” – see vampirism as a disease that needs to be understood, and if necessary, cured. The Believers call in armies of Christians armed with crosses, wooden stakes and holy water. The Skeptics call in reason and science in the form of the CDC. While these two factions battle it out, Stephenson works behind the scenes to start his own religion based on the concept of “Eternal Life – Guaranteed.”
By exploring these types of religious, scientific and political themes within a horror / science fiction framework, our goal is to encourage people to re-examine their worldviews and belief systems while being entertained by a straightforward, fun, and darkly satirical vampire tale. With all the current political debate about the role of religion in government, we are excited about exploring the clash between belief systems and objective, scientific reality in a unique and entertaining fashion. Much in the same way that pop culture visionaries such as Gene Roddenberry (“Star Trek”) used fantastical settings to explore “hot button” cultural issues, we hope that our science fiction / horror setting will allow us to examine these issues without being heavy handed or – despite the subject matter – preachy.
Awakening after a 117-year sleep, Stephenson – a hybrid form of human being with vampire-like characteristics – discovers a world he could never have imagined. Capitalizing on modern society’s pop culture obsession with vampires, he lures followers into adopting the vampire “lifestyle,” with its promise of an amoral and responsibility-free existence. As the centerpiece of his master plan, Stephenson appeals to the human desire for immortality to promote his own Gospel of “Eternal Life, Guaranteed” – the foundation of his new religion.
Standing in Stephenson’s way are the forces of modern law enforcement and scientific skepticism, embodied by Officer Sam Bowden and Doctor David Bradford. With the assistance of Detective Karen Harper, they slowly unravel the mysteries of Stephenson’s existence and work to stop him from implementing his plans to divide and conquer our society.
Complicating matters is Police Chief Dobson, who sees Stephenson as the embodiment of evil and of Satan’s influence in our world. Also caught in the crossfire is Sam’s wife Jessica, a recovering alcoholic who is severely tempted by Stephenson’s promise of a responsibility-free (and eternal) life. Eventually, the fate of her husband and perhaps the world turns on her decisions.
We plan to submit “The Gospel According to Stephenson” to high-profile science fiction and horror film festivals plus capitalize on the horror / vampire genre to generate pre-sales with cross-platform wide distribution companies. Based upon presenting what we think is a high quality script and proof of concept trailer, we will approach major talent in order to attract a larger audience and secure additional financing enable a wider, higher profile release. We also plan on a limited theatrical run in select cities to reward fans and draw publicity for eventual release on the VOD and DVD / Blu-ray platforms.
Our overall production plan includes raising 10 – 20% of our budget through Seed and Spark while simultaneously approaching private equity investors for the remaining balance. Our timeframe for this is the next 60 days (September and August 2015). From there, we plan on going into full production by fall 2015 with a target release date of early 2016.