In the Shadow of the Valley
Decades after the previous pastor committed a horrific crime, Mark Everest takes on the unenviable task of rebuilding a disgraced church. But when the town's dark history resurfaces and evil forces threaten his family, Mark finds himself unraveling a conspiracy wilder than anything he ever imagined.
Inclusion StatementI'm using my unique perspective as a working-class filmmaker who grew up in the middle of nowhere to explore the seldom-heard tales of rural pastors and the plights of the far-flung communities they serve. Plus, even Christians deserve a good film every now and then, right?
About The Project
Light shines in the darkness...
My name is David West. I've spent the better part of the last decade making short films and teaching myself how to be a filmmaker via trial and error. I've sacrificed my time and money and all my other hobbies in pursuit of the idea that a poor kid from the sticks can be a filmmaker too. And you know what? By the grace of God, it seems to be working so far! As a Christian, I believe that whatever you do, you should do it for the glory of God. For me, that means filmmaking. I'm not a pastor looking to make a visual sermon with all the stylistic flair of a Hallmark movie or a money-grubbing studio exec hoping to cash in on a feigned persecution narrative. I'm just a dude who lives and breathes movies. Even if I wasn't a believer, this is what I'd be doing with my life.
David working on the set of director Gary Lundgren's indie dramedy Phoenix, OR.
Travis Wolf is not only one of my oldest and best friends, but a like-mind. Neither of us has any desire to play by the rules and make safe films that fit into neat little boxes. We don't want to make sacharine, family friendly films that preach to the choir. But we're not about to hide our beliefs, either. We want to make films that are profoundly true to our Christian worldview, but that the twenty-something guys we'd be if we weren't believers would watch and love any way. A lot of people seem to think this kind of cross-over appeal is impossible, but I firmly believe that if you craft an unapologetically exciting film that stays focused squarely on story and character, there's no reason people can't like your film regardless of their ideology. And that's why we want to make In the Shadow of the Valley.
Travis goofing around on the set of David's 2013 dystopian short film, Liberation.
In the Shadow of the Valley
Twenty years ago, the pastor of the only church in a tiny southern Oregon mountain town of died in a police chase after being implicated in the disappearance of 14-year-old Natalie Patterson and the murder of a social worker. In the present, 29-year-old Mark Everest graduates seminary and immediately moves across the country with his wife Kathy and their two young daughters to take on the unenviable task of rebuilding the disgraced Cascade Falls Community Church. After Mark befriends a troubled, hulking veteran named Bear and saves him from a dramatic suicide attempt, church attendance swells and everything seems to be going swimmingly.
But when a young woman who had crossed Mark's path mere days earlier turns up
mysteriously dead and a mysterious stranger begans stalking and harassing the Everest family, Mark finds himself forced to play detective to unravel the sinister conspiracy that threatens his family, his church, and a maybe even a whole lot more.
Mark Everest (Travis Wolf) surveys the forest in this concept footage.
I've been actively developing In the Shadow of the Valley since at least 2014, but it's origins actually go back nearly fifteen years to my freshman year at Cascade Christian High School. The story is loosely (very, very loosely) inspired by one my all-time favorite Bible teachers: a former Village Missionary who I like to describe to people as, "The Indiana Jones of country preachers." Because despite the seemingly mundane nature of his former vocation, he was notorious for taking breaks from teaching Old and New Testament survey to tell us about his insane adventures. Like his years-long feud with a backwoods cult. Or the time that a crazed and disgruntled church member tried to kill him. Or the time a chop-shop ring he inadvertently stumbled in on while inviting people to church decided not to try killing him after realizing how well-armed he was.
Horse Creek Community Church, where David grew up attending.
My affinity for the men who take the gospel to the most remote corners of America doesn't begin and end with there, though. I grew up in the kind of place where the nearest church was 15 miles away, and that church was forty miles from any other churches. My Grandpa—Jim Everest, who also worked for Village Missions—actually pastored it when I was very young before taking over another rural church in Northwestern Oregon. Even though he's well into his 80s now he continues to work periodically as an interim pastor. There's definitely more than a little bit of him and his own stories in this film.
There's this really fascinating dynamic that seems to often exist when one shepherds a church in the middle of nowhere, and I can't wait to explore it in In the Shadow of the Valley. On one hand, you're one of the most educated and respected men in the community. On the other, you're a magnet for utter weirdness, because seemingly every outcast, oddball, and ne'er-do-well in the entire county knows exactly where to find you. And having grown up sixty miles from a stoplight in a "town" of 300-some-odd people, I can assure you these places have a lot of those.
My hometown, Seiad Valley, CA from the Pacific Crest Trail.
Between the regulation-driven decimation of the logging industry, the shuttering of nearly all the mills, increasingly devestating forrest fires, the unintended consequences of the war on drugs, and a general lack of work or any real reason to move there, rural communities in the Pacific Northwest are struggling. They're beautiful places, and they're full of many good, honest, hard working people, but they can cast a long, dark shadow over some of their residents. A shadow that can be very hard to escape from.
This is the backdrop that our film is set against.
Over the last 7 years, I've written, directed, shot, and edited more than ten narrative shorts, eight documentary shorts, and countless PSAs, commercials, corporate videos, and more. Last summer, in my greatest no-budget filmmaking feat to date, I released a feature-length, musical adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress that I directed, shot, and edited for my church on a budget of just $2,500. You can actually watch the whole thing online, where it has amassed over 120,000 views in the last year. And this last May I worked on the set of Ashland-based director Gary Lundgren's new feature film Phoenix, OR to get some experience working on a decent-sized set. It was a great experience, and watching an experienced director at work made me realize that I haven't actually been doing everything completely wrong after all! Now, with years of experience developing my craft, a no-budget feature film under my belt, and the vidication of realizing that biggerI finally feel ready to enough to embark on the next big step in my filmmaking career: making a film with a significant budget.
Thankfully, my work has impressed some of the best and most experienced producers in southern Oregon enough that they want to help me get the funding I need to make In the Shadow of the Valley. But—in a classic example of "you need money to make money"—before we can really move forward with that, we have some work to do and some financial hurdles to clear. And that's where you come in! Between taking some time away from my freelancing to refine and polish up my script, starting the workouts and firearms training that our actors need to go through to get ready for the film, traveling to meetings, location scouting, setting up contracts and a legal framework for the film, and much, much more, we need to raise at least $15,000. And if we manage to win some additional funding through the Hometown Heroes Contest, we'll be able to accomplish even more!
Just a few of the amazing locations we plan to use all around the great State of Jefferson!
With your help, this crowdfunding campaign will go a LONG way towards helping us secure a respectable six-figure budget so we can shoot In the Shadow of the Valley next summer. And after years of making great-looking films for nothing, with just a few hundred thousand dollars we're going to make a film that looks like it cost millions. We plan to shoot the film in spectacular rural locations all over Southern Oregon and Northern California, not just because it looks amazing, but because we want to put our budget right back into our local economies, and when this film gets as big as we think it will, it's going to put these places on the map.
Thank you so much, all of you! We couldn't do what we do without friends and fans like you guys. You've helped us make it as far as we have in the filmmaking world by sharing our films, donating time and props and locations, coming to our screenings, and much, much more. We are eternally thankful for this, and we know that we're asking you for more now than we ever have before. But if you like our work, we know you're going to love In the Shadow of the Valley, so we would love your help getting it made!
Let's do this.
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About This Team
David was born and raised in the rugged mountains of Siskiyou County, California. He's wanted to be a filmmaker for as long as he can remember. After years of dabbling in filmmaking as a teenager, in the fall of 2011 David started work on his first short film, One Man's Terrorist. Since then, David has directed more than ten narrative short films, including Liberation, Occam's Razor, and the upcoming Bad Apples. To date, his crowning achievement is a feature-length adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress that he directed, shot, and edited for his church on a budget of just $2,500. It's not quite the Narnia film he's always dreamed of directing, but he's proud of it all the same.
David currently works full-time as a freelance filmmaker in Klamath Falls, OR while his wife, Kassie, stays home with their two young children, Scarlett and Kirk. Besides filmmaking, David enjoys church, backpacking, guns, astrophotography, and anything that gets him out into God's glorious creation.
The oldest of six (five boys and a girl!), Travis grew up in Southern Oregon's beautiful Applegate Valley. He and David have been best friends since their little league days and have been making films together since high school. Travis currently lives in Medford, OR with his wife Kylie where he works as business managerfor Butler Hyundai.
Gary Kout made his first film in the 6th grade in Atlanta, Georgia, and completed his studies at the USC School of Cinema Arts. His career has spanned more than 25 years, and his body of work touches on every genre and every finished product imaginable. His work continues to take him throughout the industry, across the country, and around the world, but its a small corner of southern Oregon that he calls home.
After producing several national television commercials, Mike began his career in television production as a stage manager for famed production company Smith-Hemion Productions. While there, he participated in over ten Emmy Award-winning productions. Mike has produced fifteen feature films to date and has produced and/or co-financed six films in international co-productions. He has enjoyed development and production associations with Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Miramax Films, HBO and numerous others.
Bryce Miller is a composer for films, trailers, and commercials. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Composition from University of Oregon in 2015 and now lives in Los Angeles, CA. His music and sound design has been featured in worldwide trailer campaigns including those for Blade Runner 2049 and Aquaman, as well as in commercial projects for the NBA and Lockheed Martin. Additionally he has released multiple solo albums of synthesizer based “imaginary soundtracks” through London based label Spun Out of Control, with a new one to be released soon.
James "Jimbob" Cecil
Kassie West is an actress and writer born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where she later obtained a degree in political science and communications UT Arlington. She began stage and film acting as a child and continued into adulthood before moving to Washtington D.C. where she worked as a field representative and political consultant for llibertarian and conservative organizations, as well as senatorial and presidential campaigns. She enjoys writing about culture, faith, and politics, but also has a passion for novels. She now resides in southern Oregon with her husand David and their two children.