Local Film Earns Festival Nominations

By: From Stuart Wahlin
By: From Stuart Wahlin

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Hand of Glory, filmed in Rockford and Belvidere, has garnered two nominations from the Indie Horror Film Fest in Chicago, where the film will premiere Mar. 25 at the historic Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The story follows Joseph, a lonely widower obsessed with a troubled alcoholic named Karen. Though she's unwilling to lower her guard, Joseph remains committed to winning her affection, resorting to extreme measures in his search for the key to her heart. Embarking on a dark journey with a legendary relic purported to unlock any door, Joseph soon discovers that such feats come at a dire price.

Star Darren Marlar, of Loves Park, has been nominated in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Joseph.

“Being involved in Hand of Glory was one of the best film experiences I've had,” Marlar responded, praising both cast and crew. “It was intimidating acting across from someone as talented as Heather Dorff [Karen], but I found myself wanting that-much-more to succeed in bringing Joseph to life in my scenes with her.”

Dorff, widely expected to receive the Best Actress nod for her performance in Hand of Glory, was nominated instead for her role in a short film screening at the same festival.

Marlar also applauded Michael Schmid, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Eddie. Among Schmid's competition for the award is David Faustino, best known as Bud Bundy in the long-running Fox sitcom Married With Children. Schmid was also quick to praise fellow cast and crew.

“I knew right away how great of a script this was, and wanted nothing more than to keep reading,” he recalled, noting he'd originally been cast only to gulp down a beer with a raw egg in it. “I wanted to do that, simply to be a small piece in what I knew would develop into a wonderful film.”

Writer and director Stuart Wahlin, a former Rockford journalist, said he appreciates the recognition his cast is receiving.

“It's given us a huge boost as we look beyond the premiere to a long festival circuit ahead.” In particular, the cast and crew are awaiting official word regarding whether the film has been accepted into the Cannes Independent Film Festival.

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