In 2014 23-year old Chicago filmmaker Megan St. John wrote, produced and directed “Broiled,” that last weekend won the Best Illinois Film Award for its depiction of Illinois at the 7th annual Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival held at the AMC Randhurst 12 in Palatine.
“Broiled” won the Best of Illinois award from among 20 entries in the Short Film category and six final category contenders. Best Supporting Actress award went to co-star Elizabeth Stenholt.
Blue Whiskey’s top Best of the Festival winner was Jack Newell’s “Open Tables,” also winning Best Screenplay and Best Feature Narrative.
Newell and St. John’s films were the only two award winners out of 19 who were from Illinois. The festival received submissions from 30 countries, including Scotland, Spain and Hong Kong and from New York, LA and Chicago.
“Broiled,” produced by St. John’s Chicago-based Third Wheel Entertainment, is a 38-minute dark comedy, set in middle-of-nowhere rural America, about two small town girls, Gracie (St. John) and BJ (Elizabeth Stenholdt) and two boys (Andrew Klass and Jack Dwyer) who coincidentally rob the town bank on the same day and get away with all the money. Nothing will stop Gracie from retrieving her share of the money.
Chicago actors and crew,led by St. John and DP Trevor Kelly, who both also edited with J. J. Bucci, filmed in DeKalb Country over nine days on weekends throughout July and August, 2014. Editing, “which was a very long process,” was completed last January.
“This was the most rewarding experience of my life,” says St. John, a 2012 University of Chicago grad with degrees in theatre and film. “It was a wonderful experience collaborating with people in DeKalb who let us into their homes and business without cost to us, just because they wanted to help bring this story to screen.”
“We couldn’t have won the Best Illinois Film award without their time, effort and belief in the film.”
“Broiled’s” producers were Mitchell Davis, Odette and Steve Klass and St. John. Crew included assistant director Barbara Doyle; sound mixers Michael Hickey and Justin Van Hout; assistant camer Anthony Scaccio and camera operator Andre Smith. Original score by Jake Kinstle.
The film is now is gearing up a festival circuit run.