Twenty-four hours ago, I didn’t know one thing about Jamin Winans. Then I caught a trailer for Ink, a self-penned and self-directed movie about two supernatural factions that war for control of people’s dreams, and for one young girl whose life is at stake.
After Winans received festival acclaim for his 2005 short film Spin, he wrote and directed 11:59, a full-length film about a young photojournalist who wakes up with a 24-hour hole in his past. It also showed at several festivals, winning awards at two. With such a film-festival pedigree and a savvy online presence, Winans is poised for the pickup from Big Hollywood, which is on the prowl for inexpensive cult movies with a shot at the big time. (See also: Saw.)
Ink is wrapped, and according to the website it’s “Coming in 2009.” But with no firm release date or outside studio affiliation, the film has a nebulous future, and the question is: why hasn’t Hollywood given him The Call?
There are many things at work in his favor. He’s demonstrated he can stick to a rock-bottom budget. He’s written his films himself, which shows imagination (and saves money on scriptwriters—for good or ill). There is a high level of workmanship in the film itself; he knows how to dress a set and how to light and frame a shot, and the trailer shows one or two moments of genuine and imaginative creepiness.
The trailer feels familiar—too familiar, at times. Though wouldn’t Hollywood jump on the familiar elements of a science-fiction movie? They still let M. Night Shyamalan handle a camera, and this trailer is more mysterious than his last two movies. Has Hollywood just had enough of high-concept spec unless gore is involved (not that it ever stopped Saw)? Would studios rather not deal with sub-standard acting? If so, will they promise never to cast Jessica Alba again? (Please?)
Is Hollywood skittish about a director who’s so set in his ways that he’d rather make his own movies than compromise with studios? Or is it just that his work doesn’t make the cut?
Check out the trailer below, and tell me: why hasn’t Hollywood made the call?