Ink (film)

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Film poster
Directed by Jamin Winans
Produced by Jamin Winans
Executive Producer:
Kiowa K. Winans
Associate Producer:
Laura Wright
Written by Jamin Winans
Starring Chris Kelly
Quinn Hunchar
Jessica Duffy
Music by Jamin Winans
Cinematography Jeff Pointer
Edited by Jamin Winans
Double Edge Films
Distributed by Double Edge Films
Release dates
  • January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $250,000[1]

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,[2] and has screened in Denver, the Cancun Film Festival (where it won the Best International Feature award[3]), 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 businessman, John, in a hurry to get into his car. He appears to be severely stressed and distraught. He gets in and begins driving down city streets, suddenly screaming "Fuck!" at the top of his lungs before a truck running a red light crashes into him. As he becomes unconscious he dreams of playing with his little girl, Emma (Quinn Hunchar). In his dream she urges him to fulfill his allotted role: that of her heroic and powerful father, the only one who can save her from the monsters. He seems exhausted, and tries to explain to her that he can't do that, and that only her mother can do that. His dream continues as Emma raises the stakes in an effort to convince him, pretending to be captured by a monster and taken further and further away from her father. He gives in and runs to save her, and she is thrilled that he has shown himself to be up to his role. The dream fades to black.

It is revealed that there are beings 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 video screens showing constant, artificial happiness, and whose shadows induce severe nightmares in sleepers. We are shown a night when a new being appears, a drifter called Ink. A number of Storytellers, acting as warriors, try to prevent it, but despite their best efforts, Ink kidnaps Emma's soul from her home, leaving her physical body in a comatose state. As he flees with Emma, we witness Ink using a small drum as a way to get access to alternate planes, but the drum gets damaged in his fight with the Storytellers. With neither a drum or an access code, he is not able to open a portal to the realm into which he was intending to lead the girl. He is told that he must find and barter with two other Drifters to acquire their parts of a code that will enable him to achieve entry into the headquarters of the Incubi, although why he wants to take Emma there is still unknown to us.

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 him, 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. John 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), 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, scarred, ashamed, 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 Incubus 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 effect physical changes. Through a chain of events, he causes several small accidents to culminate in a truck running a red light and crashing into John's car, as we saw occur at the beginning of the film. John is badly injured and unconscious, which makes him vulnerable to an Incubus who whispers dark thoughts to him in order to continue attempts to further weaken his conscience. The team of three Storytellers manage to scare the Incubus, and he vanishes. John is taken to the same hospital where Emma is lying comatose. He wakes up and after exchanging a few words with a nurse in his hospital room realizes that his daughter is close by. He overcomes his urge to go to the important sales meeting, recalling his happiness before his wife was killed in a car accident. 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 exit the hospital and activate a device which will call 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 of his former life come flooding back. 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's presence. John drifted out of touch, into a world of loneliness. His depression increased until he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, and falling into the astral world, a damaged version 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 a possible future in which he does not go to see his daughter Emma in the hospital. Liev whispers Ink's true name "John" to him just before dying of her stab-wound. As his memories return, Ink rushes at the Incubi attacking them, and rescues his daughter, much as he does in his dream at the beginning of the movie. He stands and faces his chosen foe, the Incubi, killing each one that approaches Emma. He is enabled in this task by the Storytellers' successful holding action against the Incubi on the alternate plane, but back at the hospital. After the fight is over, Emma recognizes in Ink the father whom she knew could save her from monsters. 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.

Winans' collaboration[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5] Jamin and Kiowa Winans wrote in their newsletter that they had "embraced the piracy" and are "happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure."[5] Around Christmas 2009 the film was also released on Hulu for free viewing for a limited time.[6][7]


Critics Robert Abele (Los Angeles Times) and Lisa Kennedy (Denver Post) both rank it positively.[8][9]


  1. ^ Filmmakers Jamin Winans and Kiowa Winans on LA Talk Radio’s Film Courage
  2. ^ Santa Barbara Independent Article on Ink Premiere
  3. ^ "2033", "Entre nos" e "Ink", premiadas en las secciones competitivas de Cancún
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b "Indie Movie Explodes on BitTorrent, Makers Bless Piracy". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  6. ^ Hulu Blog: Exclusive Interview: “Ink”
  7. ^ Hulu - Ink - Watch the full feature film now.
  8. ^ Abele, Robert (September 11, 2009). "DIY fantasy from a promising talent". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Lisa (September 10, 2009). "With "Ink," Denver talent dips into a dark well". Denver Post. 

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