They Don't Leave

Missoula, Montana | Film Short

Drama, Horror

Caz McGovern

1 Campaigns | England, United Kingdom

Green Light

This campaign raised $5,685 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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A divorced alcoholic seeks refuge in a remote ancestral cabin only to be confronted by demons that have haunted her family for generations. Join us on this incredible adventure to make something scary, entertaining and meaningful.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We want abuse survivors and people with addiction issues to feel heard and seen in the form of catharsis. My proximity and understanding of these issues makes me feel like I'm the right person to be behind the wheel for exploring the themes of a story that I wrote with these desires in mind.

The Story

The Story

They Don't Leave is a short horror film about family, trauma, addiction and taking responsibility for yourself in life.

Our film begins as our main character, a young woman named Carly, drives down a remote road in rural Montana. She is on her way to a cabin that has been in her family for almost a century- yet she's never been. However, she is recently divorced and is attempting to escape her life, heal and try to quit drinking. She is greeted at the house by Ruth, a somewhat mysterious caretaker who leaves her the keys.

Soon after Carly arrives, she realizes there's something not quite right about the house; doors click when they're not supposed to. Strange shadows flicker in the corridors at night. The smell of urine is sometimes overwhelming when there is no reason for it to be present. 

Shortly into her stay after coming into contact with a series of these bizarre oddities, Carly discovers a large shoe box that contains three objects, all from the past. As she makes her way through these objects, a sinister familial history begins to unfold and Carly is forced to confront her past, her trauma and herself.



Why This Project?

Perhaps the one thing that unites those who struggle with substance abuse, mental health issues and / or are survivors of abuse is that we are all excellent at keeping our stories close to us- we do not speak about these things freely. And what happens when we don't? The horrible thing you're carrying around with you becomes heavier and heavier. 

We need to believe in a world where we can be vulnerable and open about that which we have survived and overcome. We need to celebrate the fact that if we're still here, if we're still trying, we have already won the battle. We need to explore the unfamiliar but very true sentiment that whatever was done to us need not define us - and that while it isn't our fault, we are responsible for ourselves and the stories that we inherit. What we do with our lives is ultimately down to us. Because of our desire to elevate these narratives and explore these issues, we believe this is a story worth telling.


How We Got Here

We began our journey in 2019 when I first began writing a short horror I'd been thinking about for a few months.  Having spent much of my happy summers in Montana as a child, I immediately set the story in The Bitterroot Valley, a dramatic and very beautiful landscape. I then found Nancy Bevins, a lead producer and unit production manager based out in Montana. Together, we set about getting everything ready for the shoot, including assembling an incredible cast and crew. We were all poised to get to work in the summer of 2020. 

And then Covid-19 happened. While we had succesfully shot our 2nd Unit footage weeks before, we had no choice but to shut down and postpone principal photography. Two years later and we couldn't be more ready to begin shooting! It hasn't all been bad though - during the pandemic, 'They Don't Leave' was selected at numerous film festivals. And more importantly, we were able to keep together our fantastic, loyal and patient crew. 

Now, we're ready to make this film that we've poured so much time and effort into. With this film, our ultimate aim is to give the voiceless a chance to be heard. If we can make someone feel less alone, then we've done our job.


Where Are We Now?

At this point in our timeline, we are merely weeks away from going from pre-production into principal photography which will take place between the 5th-12th of June 2022, each day being between 10-12 hours. Pre-production has gone well. Our budget, script rewrites, storyboards, shot lists, shooting schedule, props, costumes and catering are all ready to go! As you’ll see in our wish list, we’re looking to raise money to go towards paying our wonderful cast and crew. A portion of the money raised will also be going to pay for our catering and production equipment. 

If all goes to plan, we will move into post-production in late August of this year; we estimate we’ll be in post- production for two months. Once our film is cut and ready for audiences, we’ll be submitting it to film festivals for consideration.


COVID-19 Safety

As is the case for everyone, our industry has changed over the course of the last two years. We are a group of artists and artists tend to live project by project, pay check to pay check. This means that crowdfunding for our crew is of utmost importance since we have had to delay this project for two years. We are crowdfunding now because we're confident we can proceed with production efficiently and safely. In light of the pandemic, we have worked hard to time production in a way so that everyone involved can get to set safely. Everyone involved on the set will be fully vaccinated and is working to make sure that we have a healthy production where everyone feels looked after. This will include social distancing and regular hand sanitizing breaks. If another lockdown poses a threat to production we are prepared to handle this by postponing our shoot until it is safe to proceed. 



Winner, Best Screenplay - V.i.Z. Film Fest (2021)

Semi-Finalist - New York International Screenplay Awards (2020)

Official Selection - The Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards (2020)



Spread The Word!

We deeply appreciate any contribution and participation and we need your help getting the word out to as many people as possible. Please like, share and pledge what you can to help us on our journey!

Look for shareable content on our Instagram: @theydontleave

Here are some examples for how you can help us get this story out there.  Feel free to copy and paste!:

I can't wait to see what this group of artists come up with for this important short film. Join this team @seedandspark:

Help raise awareness around mental health and addiction by supporting the film "They Don't Leave" about a young woman learning how to heal her trauma and own her life.  Join them on @seedandspark:

I'm so excited to see the short film They Don't Leave, by Caz McGovern and Nancy Bevins shot in Montana this summer. Support them on @seedandspark:


Thank you for being a part of this campaign and joining us on this journey! 






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Production Equipment

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About This Team

Our cast and crew have been painstakingly assembled from all over the world and different parts of the United States. This film is one that is also sourced in elevating narratives about surviving domestic abuse and addiction and how this specifically impacts women. Our cast and crew are wholeheartedly dedicated to drawing attention to this narratives. 

Current Team