“It seems like we are living in Sodom and Gomorrah!”
I’ve heard that sentiment again and again over the past few years, as our culture continues to find new ways to practice, and even celebrate, sin and debauchery. Many of us are shocked that it has come to this, and are saddened that the West has become so unmoored from its Christian moral heritage. “How did this happen?,” we wonder.
One answer to that question, of course, is that there are also many of us who scoff at the notion of sin, who would never use the word debauchery, and who have no idea what Sodom and Gomorrah (or any other story from Scripture) is even about. Biblical ignorance is the norm these days, and even those that do go to Church or know a bit about the faith tend to ignore or reinterpret “controversial” passages such as the Genesis record of God’s judgment on the cities of the plain.
This project is for both of those groups of people.
What is the Project?
Libertyville is a dramatic television series set in a present-day fictional resort town in the American West. Through character driven, multi-plot, multi-generational story telling, it will offer a contemporary take on the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The series will be unflinching in its moral stance toward everything God considers sin, and clearly show the damage that sin causes, both to the sinner and the affected victims. It will also offer the Christian answer to that problem.
What can you tell me about the story?
Libertyville is a resort town built at the base of one of the most beautiful peaks in the Sierra Nevada range, and from a certain perspective, it looks like paradise. However, if you start to peel back the layers you find there is more darkness to this town than meets the eye, and most of the characters are not living the utopian lives their Instagram feeds would suggest. For example, we'll meet the pleasure seeking cop whose investigation of a series of deaths leads him into an adventure that will change his life. We'll also meet some Hollywood A-listers, Silicon Valley tech magnates, and girls making a living on Onlyfans, as well as a working class mother who trusted the wrong pastor, and a mysterious sign-wielding stranger with an ominous message, among many others.
I won’t give too much away just yet, but I will share that this will be "prestige-television" style story-telling. Libertyville is an intense, character driven drama with supernatural elements that will examine the effects of sin in all its ugliness while making you care deeply about the fate of the characters. So, think of the classic TV series LOST, but with accurate theology, and then cross it with a premier cable crime show, but without the nudity, and then throw in a bit of Yellowstone, but within a Christian worldview.
As such, I believe this will be like nothing you’ve ever seen in terms of Christian programming.
How closely will you stick to the actual Bible story?
We will stick with the major plot points (supernatural visitors, a warning of judgement, etc.), and then fill in the details by asking several questions of the text and then applying the answers to a contemporary context. For example: What sins were they practicing that would cause God to wipe them out? What are the effects of those sins? What was the outcry that had become so great that God needed to act? What would it have been like (morally, relationally, spiritually, psychologically) to live in that culture in the period leading up to destruction? Why could they not find even 10 righteous people?, etc.
What’s the Plan?
We’ve seen recently how effective biblically themed stories can be at reaching the American audience, and I think Libertyville will be no exception. But I need your help. Here’s the plan: we would like to raise enough funds to produce the pilot, and frankly, do it as economically as possible. We know that film and television production is a risk, and so we are not looking to create a full series with network production values up front. However, we are convinced that after people see the first episode, they will want more, and we will be able to fund the rest.
So we are asking for your help to get the pilot made. The pitch is fairly straightforward: we are asking you to take a step of faith and offer a gift to help tell a story and proclaim a message that the culture desperately needs. Although there are a few cool items listed as thank you gifts at various giving levels, this isn’t set up as an investment that will get you much in the way of earthly rewards. However, we do think the eternal payoff will be great.
So thank you in advance for your support, and please contact me if you have any questions. God bless you.
I have a few other questions and/or possible objections.
Please check out my article Why I am Producing a Series Based on the Sodom and Gomorrah Story on my Substack page.
We are very grateful for whatever you can donate; no gift is too big or too small. As a small token of our appreciation, here is what you will receive at various levels. (All levels include everything in the previous levels.)
$50 - The latest updates and exclusive access to news from the set.
$100 - Access to all of Runaway Planet Pictures films and series, now and in the future.
$250 - Your name in the credits. (If you want it there; anonymous donations are also welcome.)
$500 - Impact the Culture Resource Pack: Signed copies of both of Don's books, plus a list of resources to help reverse the sexual revolution.
$1000 - Signed Memorabilia: Signed copies of the first script, as well as various other items.
$2500 - Supporting Producer Title
$5000 - Associate Producer Title
$10000 - Assistant Producer Title
$25000 - Executive Producer Title
Other Ways to Support our Effort
Purchase some merch! Here are a few cool items; you can find more in our online store.
About Runaway Planet Pictures
We specialize in telling the stories that mainstream media and studios won’t touch, and doing it from the perspective of historic, traditional Christianity. We don’t shy away from the big questions of life, and we don’t shy away from saying exactly what our faith teaches us about the big moral questions that are facing society. As such, in the last few years we’ve produced a feature length documentary on the transgender movement, as well as one on feminism and the horrible consequences of the sexual revolution. Find out more at https://runawayplanetpictures.vhx.tv/
About the Producer
Don Johnson is filmmaker, author, and speaker. He is the founder of Don Johnson Media and Runaway Planet Pictures, which has produced three feature length documentaries: Convinced (2015), Unprotected (2018), and his latest, Dysconnected (2022)
Don has also written two books on theology, culture, and apologetics: How to Talk to a Skeptic (Baker, 2013) and his latest, Twisted Unto Destruction: How Bible Alone Theology Made the World a Worse Place (Catholic Answers, 2022)
You can also find Don’s writing at his Substack newsletter, American Babylon.
Don has a B.A. in Theology, Missions and Intercultural Studies from San Jose Christian College, an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has also done graduate work in the evangelism program at Multnomah Seminary and the philosophy of Religion program at Talbot School of Theology. Don and his wife have 4 children and live in Southern California. They enjoy hiking through National Parks.