Prospect (film)

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The red-tinted poster shows multiple characters in environmental suits with glass-opening helmets in various close-ups.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Zeek Earl
  • Chris Caldwell
Written by
  • Zeek Earl
  • Chris Caldwell
Produced by
  • Andrew Miano
  • Chris Weitz
  • Scott Glassgold
  • Dan Balgoyen
  • Garrick Dion
  • Matthias Mellinghaus
CinematographyZeek Earl
Edited byPaul Frank
Music byDaniel L.K. Caldwell
Distributed byDust (Gunpowder & Sky)
Release date
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
BudgetLess than $4 million[1]
Box office$22,777 (internationally)[2]

Prospect is a 2018 American science fiction film starring Pedro Pascal, Sophie Thatcher, and Jay Duplass. The film, written and directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, features a teenage girl named Cee (Thatcher) and her father Damon (Duplass) who land on a poisonous forest moon to mine for valuable gems. A series of betrayals, alliances, and conflicts with mercenaries and rival prospectors make their quest increasingly perilous.

The film premiered on March 5, 2018 at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The company Gunpowder & Sky, under their science fiction-oriented label Dust, released the film in Regal Cinemas theaters on November 2, 2018, and on video-on-demand and home media on March 8, 2019.


A teenage girl, Cee, and her father, Damon, descend from a transport spaceship to a forest moon's surface in a landing pod to mine for gems. During their descent, a technical malfunction cripples the lander, forcing them to land some distance away from their planned prospecting site. On foot, they find an abandoned dig site where they extract a fleshy pod from the earth, revealing a valuable gem inside. Cee urges her father to return to the lander with the gem, but Damon insists on continuing to the original site.

Setting out again, Damon encounters two rival prospectors, Ezra and his silent partner. Initially planning to rob Damon at gunpoint, they reconsider when Damon counter-offers to join forces. He reveals he's been asked to assist mercenaries who've discovered the legendary 'queen's lair,' an incredibly valuable dig site. Damon proposes that instead of aiding the mercenaries, he, Ezra, and the silent companion can collaborate to claim the site for themselves.

Ezra agrees to the alliance, but Cee, who has been hidden, ambushes them with a rifle. This allows Damon to disarm Ezra and take both rival prospectors hostage. When Damon tries to rob Ezra, the silent partner attacks, leading to a shootout. Ezra's partner is killed, and Damon, mortally wounded, is executed by Ezra.

Cee retreats to her malfunctioning lander, which won't start, and is found by Ezra hours later. When Ezra tries to enter, Cee shoots him in the arm and takes him captive. Ezra proposes following Damon's initial plan to assist the mercenaries for a ride on their ship. Cee agrees reluctantly, and they head for the queen's lair. Ezra's arm becomes infected from the moon's poisonous spores, prompting them to seek medical help from local villagers. The villagers propose trading gems for Cee instead. As Ezra inquires about the deal, Cee escapes, pursued by the villagers.

After wandering alone, Cee encounters Ezra again, his wound severely worsened. She helps him amputate his arm and they proceed to a mercenary camp near the queen's lair. After securing a ride on the mercenaries' ship, they try and fail multiple times to extract gems. When their guard moves to report their failure, Ezra kills him, triggering a fight with the remaining mercenaries. Several are killed, and Ezra sustains grave injuries. Cee tends to his wounds, and they escape into orbit aboard the mercenaries' ship.



Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell met at the Seattle Pacific University.[3] They formed the production company Shep Films and initially made commercials before making short films.[4] They first produced Prospect as a short film, with a $21,000 budget which they raised through Kickstarter. The short drew attention after premiering at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival, ultimately becoming a hit on Vimeo. [5]

After that they wanted to make Prospect into a feature length film. The duo presented the pitch to studios and secured a $4,000,000 financing from the Canadian BRON Studios.

They wanted seven months to make the film's ships, costumes, and weapons. For that they moved into a former ship-building warehouse in Fremont, Seattle “We hired a lot of people who'd never worked on a movie before: industrial designers, carpenters, mechanics, cosplayers," said Caldwell. "They were working with us as the script was being written, and by the time we got the green light, we had this kind of art collective under one roof."[6] The production team used a Computer Numeric Control kit to create much of the ship's interiors.

All of Prospect's exterior shots were filmed on a private land trust adjacent to the Olympic National Park, Washington.[7]


Prospect premiered on March 5, 2018 at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award. The company Gunpowder and Sky, under their label Dust, released the film in Regal Cinemas theaters on November 2, 2018. The film was released on video-on-demand and home media on March 8, 2019.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes assessed 54 reviews; it reported 43 as positive and 6 as negative, for an overall rating of 89%. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fueled by character development and setting instead of special effects, Prospect is a sci-fi story whose style is defined—and enriched—by its limitations."[9] The similar website Metacritic assessed 8 reviews and reported 6 as positive and 2 as mixed. With an overall score of 68 out of 100, it said the film had "generally favorable reviews".[10]

Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Constructing character does not appear to be Earl and Caldwell’s strong suit (what’s satisfying about Cee owes almost entirely to Thatcher, a fresh face who tricks us into assuming she’s just a callow teen, when in fact, she proves to be the film’s toughest character). On the other hand, the duo show a real aptitude for world building."[11]


  1. ^ "A Lo-Fi, DIY Sci-Fi Film That's Better Than Its Big-Budget Brethren". Wired. November 1, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Prospect (2018)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. May 14, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  3. ^ Staff (2014). "25 New Faces of Independent Film: Zeek Earl + Chris Caldwell". Filmmaker. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Uitti, Jake (May 24, 2018). "A Talk with the Directors of Prospect, a Groundbreaking Sci-Fi Movie That Was Filmed in Seattle and Screens at SIFF Tonight". The Stranger. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "A Lo-Fi, DIY Sci-Fi Film That's Better Than Its Big-Budget Brethren". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2023-01-28.
  6. ^ "A Lo-Fi, DIY Sci-Fi Film That's Better Than Its Big-Budget Brethren". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2023-01-28.
  7. ^ "A Lo-Fi, DIY Sci-Fi Film That's Better Than Its Big-Budget Brethren". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2023-01-28.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (September 17, 2018). "Pedro Pascal's 'Prospect' to Launch in Theaters From Sci-Fi Dust Label (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Prospect (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  10. ^ "Prospect Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  11. ^ Debruge, Peter (11 March 2018). "SXSW Film Review: 'Prospect'". Variety.

External links[edit]