|Directed by||Jamin Winans|
|Produced by||Jamin Winans
Kiowa K. Winans
|Written by||Jamin Winans|
|Music by||Jamin Winans|
|Editing by||Jamin Winans|
|Studio||Double Edge Films|
|Distributed by||Double Edge Films|
|Running time||106 minutes|
Ink is a 2009 American science fiction fantasy film, written and directed by Jamin Winans, starring Chris Kelly, Quinn Hunchar and Jessica Duffy. It was produced by Winans's own independent production company, Double Edge Films, with Kiowa K. Winans, and shot by cinematographer Jeff Pointer in locations around Denver. The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 23, 2009, and has screened in Denver, the Cancun Film Festival (where it won the Best International Feature award), Rams Head Onstage in Baltimore and in a number of independent movie houses in cities around the US. The film was widely circulated in peer-to-peer networks which led to its commercial success.
The film begins with a business man in a hurry to get into his car. He appears to be stressed and somewhat distraught. He gets in and begins driving down the city streets, suddenly screaming "Fuck!" at the top of his lungs before a truck running a red light crashes into him. As he falls unconscious, he dreams of playing with his little girl Emma (Quinn Hunchar). At first he seems tired and is reluctant to play with her, but he gives in when she pretends to be taken away by monsters, and he runs to save her from them. The dream then fades to black.
It is revealed that there are people who exist on an alternate plane of reality. Among them are warriors called Storytellers, who provide people with their most wonderful dreams with a touch to their foreheads, and there are the Incubi, spirits fashioned from vanity and pride, who veil their faces with screens to reflect an artificial eternal happiness and whose shadows induce severe nightmares in people. But this night a new being appears, a drifter called Ink. Despite the best efforts of several Storytellers, he successfully kidnaps Emma's soul from her home, leaving her physical body in a comatose state. However, the drifter's drum gets damaged in the fight, and without a code, he is not able to open a portal to the realm in which he was intending to lead the girl. The code he is required to obtain in order to access the Incubi's headquarters is held by two other Drifters whom he must find and barter with to acquire their parts of the code.
Meanwhile, John (Chris Kelly), a businessman whose life has attained a sense of repetition and perfection, faces turmoil when an account he had been working to acquire is about to be swept out from under his feet, but he is determined to turn the problem around. Ron (Steve Sealy), his estranged father in law, comes to tell John that Emma is in a coma at Lutheran Hospital. Despite the visible strain to his conscience he maintains a stern attitude and it is revealed that after his wife's death, her parents took custody of Emma because of John's grief-induced drug and alcohol abuse. He throws Ron out of his office, but something dark appears to loom over him as he does.
Meanwhile, the three Storytellers who are responsible for Emma; Allel (Jennifer Batter) and two of her companions, Gabe (Eme Ikwuakor) and Sarah (Shelby Malone), along with a blind Pathfinder named Jacob (Jeremy Make), decide to find a way to bring Emma out of her coma. A fourth ally, a Storyteller named Liev (Jessica Duffy), attempts to dissuade Ink from delivering the girl to the Incubi in order to become one himself. After a fight between the two of them, Liev surrenders to Ink to save Emma's life. While en route, Liev tries to bolster Emma's bravery by telling her that she is turning into a ferocious lioness. After Ink successfully barters with the two Drifters, Liev slowly works into his emotions. She discovers that he does, in fact, have a conscience and a soul, but due to his violent death by suicide, he arrived in this world hideous and scarred, and desperate to let go of his pain, which, he believes, becoming an Incubus would help him do. However, he resists each attempt to break through. They make their way to the Incubi stronghold, and Ink offers Emma and Liev as his payment to become one of them. Liev tells Emma she has completely transformed into a lioness, and that she has to be ferocious and brave. As Liev stands up to the leader of the Incubi, she is stabbed and mortally wounded.
Jacob unveils his abilities to the others, tapping into what he calls the "beat of the world" in order to affect physical changes. Through a chain of events, he causes several small accidents to culminate in a truck running a red light and, as in the beginning of the film, crashing into John's car. John is wounded badly and just when the Incubus who was whispering dark thoughts into John's subconscious is about to take over his conscience, the three Storytellers manage to scare him and he vanishes. John is taken to the same hospital where Emma is lying comatose. He wakes up and soon after exchanging a few words with a nurse in his room realizes that his daughter is close by. He overcomes his urge to go to the important sales meeting, recalling his happiness-filled life before his wife was killed in a car accident and with Allel protecting him, he heads to Emma's room. Incubi appear and the warriors fight them off to keep them from reaching him again. Meanwhile, Jacob volunteers to go out and activate a device, calling the other Storytellers for reinforcement. John finally makes his way to Emma's room to sit beside her.
As the course of the past, present, and future are affected by John's return to Emma, Ink suddenly has a realization; memories come flooding back of his former life. He recalls John's successful meeting for the account he had been trying to get for his company. This is in the relative future of the character John that the movie has been following, but it is part of Ink's distant past. Ink remembers that Emma died in the hospital, without her father. John drifted out of touch, into a world of loneliness. His depression increased until he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. He fell into the astral world, a broken shell of his former self. Time flows differently in the astral world, and John's soul drifted for so long that he forgot his own identity and became the drifter known as Ink.
Ink is John's soul from the future where he does not go to see her in the hospital. Liev whispers Ink's true name as "John" and then dies. As his memories return, Ink rushes at the Incubi attacking them and rescues his daughter, much like the dream at the beginning of the movie. He stands and faces them, killing each one that approaches her, while at the hospital the Storytellers overcome the Incubi. After the fight is done, Emma recognizes Ink as her father and they embrace.
In the hospital, Emma wakes up to find her father holding her hand. The pair share a hug while the Storytellers who had defeated the Incubi stand in the doorway, unseen but victorious.
Both Jamin Winans and Kiowa Winans contributed multiple roles in making Ink, in addition to both being credited as executive producers. Jamin wrote, directed and edited, as well as composed the original soundtrack for the film, while Kiowa is credited for the Art Direction, Costume Design and Sound Design.
As no big studio picked up the film for theatrical and home distribution, Double Edge Films pitched the film directly to independent cinemas and saw to the DVD, Blu-ray and online distribution themselves. DVD and Blu-ray copies are sold directly via the company's website starting from October 30, 2009 and are sold at retail stores starting November 10, 2009, as well as downloads at Video on demand stores. According to TorrentFreak, a file sharing news site, Ink was downloaded via BitTorrent 400,000 times in a single week and exposed the film to a large audience, leading to higher DVD and Blu-ray sales in return. Jamin and Kiowa Winans wrote in their newsletter that they had "embraced the piracy" and are "happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure." Around Christmas 2009 the film was also released on Hulu for free viewing for a limited time.
Since its release, the film has been praised for being of high quality for such a low budget and has subsequently gathered a cult following.
- Filmmakers Jamin Winans and Kiowa Winans on LA Talk Radio’s Film Courage
- Santa Barbara Independent Article on Ink Premiere
- "2033", "Entre nos" e "Ink", premiadas en las secciones competitivas de Cancún
- Winans, Kiowa K. (October 19, 2009). "INK on DVD and Blu-ray: Our Release Strategy in 5 Steps". Double Edge Films blog. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
- "Indie Movie Explodes on BitTorrent, Makers Bless Piracy". torrentfreak.com. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- Hulu Blog: Exclusive Interview: “Ink”
- Hulu - Ink - Watch the full feature film now.
- Abele, Robert (September 11, 2009). "DIY fantasy from a promising talent". Los Angeles Times.
- Kennedy, Lisa (September 10, 2009). "With "Ink," Denver talent dips into a dark well". Denver Post.