“Devils Income” – a 30-minute, low-budget independent film shot by local filmmakers in and around Crystal Lake, Woodstock and Wonder Lake – was named an Audience Choice winner by Austin Lift-Off Film Festival.
“I was speechless when I heard the news,” said John Green, 44, of Woodstock, who wrote the film inspired by an assignment he had written in college. “I was so blown away.”
The film, co-written and directed by his friend Danny Humphrey, 43, of McHenry, is the story of Sonny, an unemployed gambling addict who finds himself in a dangerous situation after losing everything in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. With only 24 hours to pay off his debt to the leader of a biker gang, Sonny turns to his ex-gang member brother for help, the creators said.
As part of the recognition, the film crew is invited to participate in a livestreaming, filmmaker roundtable, with members of the United Kingdom-based studio and the public.
The session will take the form of a collaborative director’s commentary in which the film will be screened but muted in the background for up to 15 minutes as the film crew talks about their process in making the film, lessons learned and plans for the future, Natalie Daniels, general manager of Lift-Off Global Network Limited from Pinewood Studios in England, said in a message alerting them of their win.
The livestream will be available on the Lift-Off YouTube channel. Viewers will be able to join the conversation and ask questions in a chat room, Daniels said.
The film won out of 154 films after a series of online and in-person juried festivals organized by a U.K.-based studio.
The film also was accepted into the 2023 F3: Frankly Film Festival in Ohio, which recently contacted the crew announcing their film was nominated for Best Crime Short, Best Short and Best of the Fest.
Green founded Nerd House Film Production in Woodstock in 2014, and “Devils Income” is the company’s second film. They are working on a third locally shot ghost story titled “Antique.”