Say Hello to "There Are No Goodbyes"

“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.


"There Are No Goodbyes" Available Worldwide

Lyons Den Productions is proud to announce the worldwide release of their new feature film “There Are No Goodbyes” through 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.



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, 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.”


New Movie "There Are No Goodbyes" Released Today

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.



Outdoor screening of "There Are No Goodbyes" set for Friday

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,

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.


The Sunday Business Page: "There Are No Goodbyes"

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.



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.



Meaning & Motivation: Filmmaker John C. Lyons

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.


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