Lake in the Hills couple ‘extremely proud’ of son, creator of film ‘For Prophet’

New faith-based indie film draws accolades at film festivals, looking for distributor

"For Prophet" written, produced directed by Mark Stewart Iverson.

A Lake in the Hills couple assumed the roles of executive producers in supporting their son who wrote, produced and directed an independent, faith-based comedy drawing some positive attention at several film festivals over the last year.

Allen and Wanda Iverson are the parents of Mark Stewart Iverson, 36, who created what he describes as a faith comedy with an air of “It’s a Wonderful Life” called “For Prophet.”

After completing a year of showing the film at festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada, and drawing praise, now the focus is signing with a distributor.

“We are extremely proud of him,” said Allen Iverson, a retired math teacher. “We are just praying and hopeful somebody picks it up and releases it.”

Allen Iverson recalled spending three weeks in 2019 on the film set in and around Elgin. He observed the kindness of those involved, seeing his son happy, making friends and connections, accomplishing a goal and growing in his confidence as a filmmaker.

“He started a project and he finished it,” Allen Iverson said. “He accomplished a big thing.”

His mother, Wanda Iverson, said, “I am obviously very proud of him for sticking with it and his dreams but also for making sure he had a job and could pay the bills in between.”

She said her son always was a good student and “intense” when involved with any project.

“I put my life savings in this. I put it all on red and I spun. I spun and I prayed.”

—   Mark Stewart Iverson, writer, director and producer of the film "For Prophet"

“I always knew he was a good writer, very good with language and speech,” said Wanda Iverson, also a retired teacher.

She said there was a time when her son was struggling and turned to his faith, prayed about what he should be doing with his life and that lead to him writing the movie.

“He finally got his faith and belief in God and kept praying on what he should be doing ... and everything fell into place after that,” Wanda Iverson said.

Mark Stewart Iverson, founder of MSI Films, who was raised in Hoffman Estates and today lives in South Carolina, said he “really feels” that his film has an audience and will do very well.

The film was nominated for three awards at the International Christian Film Festival. It also won two awards, including best comedy, at The International Christian Visual Media Crown Awards, said to be a prestigious honor in the indie faith world, Mark Stewart Iverson said.

The story tells the tale of good and evil, but with a light comedic flare, using modern-day scenarios and story lines exploring faith, family, kindness and community.

Mark Stewart Iverson said his film, which he began writing in 2017, is character-driven and can be described in many ways: a faith-based comedy, a comedy with faith-based elements or a “dramady with faith ... lots of laughs and lots of spirit.”

It does not shy away from being about angels and demons and a struggle of faith, Mark Stewart Iverson has said.

The story takes place in the fictional town of Mount Zion and centers around Damon, a family man fighting for his hometown, his marriage and the local homeless shelter, which crooked local politicians want to close.

Damon’s mother volunteers at the shelter, which was established by his late father, a local philanthropist.

During the struggle, Damon also battles two entities – a demon and an angel.

Allen Iverson said he has shown the film twice at his church, Our Savior’s United Methodist Church in Hoffman Estates. The showings stirred up much discussion and prompted questions from adults and children alike.

It was enjoyed more than typical faith-based films shown in church, he said.

“A lot of people said that this is one of the first times we weren’t waiting for the soda and pizza after the movie,” Allen Iverson said. “They were really interested.”

Mark Stewart Iverson, whose past projects include the web series “Dorm Life” and the movies “Darren and Abbey” in 2010 and “The Bridal Chamber in 2014,” is working on new scripts he also hopes to see produced into feature films.

But for now, he is focused on signing “For Prophet” with a distributor that ultimately leads to the film being available for domestic and international viewing online, in churches and in movie theaters.

He enjoyed the film festivals, sitting in the theaters and listening to people’s reactions as they watched, the ways they responded to the sad and the funny parts. He also enjoyed the feedback afterward. He found that people appreciated that It is a low-budget film with professional, high-quality actors and cinematography.

“I put my life savings in this,” Mark Stewart Iverson said. “I put it all on red and I spun. I spun and I prayed. I feel very, very proud with what we have done and excited. I know, no matter what, it will be good.”

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