After 6 years, the Illinois film producer has its world premiere Thursday in Rockford
After six long and stressful years, film producer Don Hatton will finally see a red carpet premiere for his new movie (partly shot in northern Illinois) this Thursday night in Rockford.
“The Blacklight” will screen at 20 AMC theaters nationwide, beginning Thursday at Rockford AMC Showplace 16, 8301 E. State St. Doors open at 6 p.m. An intro will take place at 7 p.m., followed by the film at 7:30 p.m.
Dashford Media, a Brooklyn, NY-based production company co-founded by producer Don Hatton and director Nick Snow, has signed a licensing deal for their film, “The Blacklight.” Patton was the film’s executive producer.
The thriller is described on its website as “a dark, fun, genre-blending ride led by an incredible cast of character actors fusing elements of crime, mystery, fantasy, horror and tying it all together. with an arc of black humor”.
Dashford began filming this independent feature in late 2016, wrapping principal photography in March 2020, just before the COVID shutdowns. The film was shot nationwide, from Brooklyn to Rockford and Oregon, Illinois; many of the featured extras were from the Chicago and Rockford areas.
“It was a six-year process; it’s been wild,” Hatton said in a recent interview. “The process was long, but everything is going well. It goes to your head.
“It was an incredible journey to make this movie,” he said. “The dedication of our cast and crew over the past 5+ years has been second to none. We are so happy to be able to share our film with screenings at AMC Theaters, especially the Rockford AMC Showplace 16, since we shot some scenes all over the city and area.
Summary of the story of “The Blacklight”
The new film, directed by Nick Snow and written by Snow and Brooks Russell, tells the story of Danny. Though he attempts to leave behind a life of crime, Danny reluctantly teams up with wealthy, naive kid Liam and generic drug dealer Kit Viper for a robbery that leaves them in possession of a mysterious supernatural artifact. endowed with immense power.
Danny and Lucky are two childhood friends working as low-level muscle for a Los Angeles drug ring. After a falling out, Danny decides it’s time to change his life. He moves to New York and gets a steady job landscaping upstate, but soon finds himself drawn into crime again.
He tries to rob one of the houses he’s moving in for and ends up forming an unusual partnership with Liam, the rich kid who lives there. Liam suggests robbing a mansion he knows about, however, unbeknownst to them, it’s being manned by a man guarding an ancient ceremonial garment that holds immense power.
With the help of another thug, Kit, they break into the mansion and end up with the garment in their possession. Once his powers are known, the fights begin and word quickly spreads through the underworld of crime. Meanwhile, a shadowy cult is after the garment and will stop at nothing to get it.
The film stars Donald Paul, Victor Vehaeghe, JP Edwards and Jessica DiGiovanni. The trailer can be viewed here.
The manufacturing process
The years 2016 to 2020 were dedicated to securing locations, fundraising and filming according to authorized schedules. The team wrapped principal photography in March 2020 in New York City, just when the world stopped.
However, 2020 allowed the team to focus on sound design for the film, where they brought in Ryan McTear to compose the soundtrack. Ryan had access to the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and his writing style suited the desired mood of the film very well, according to the production company. The contrast of the dynamic Baroque style of classical music with the dark, comedic humor and quirky characters was perfect.
2021 brought pockets of film festivals that allowed Dashford Media to screen “The Blacklight.”
Although screenings were minimal due to the pandemic, limited viewing drew attention to the feature and sparked team talks with various agents and distribution companies. The decision was made to move forward with Porter Pictures – where Jeff Porter had recently teamed up with industry veteran and Disney executive Keith L. Craig to form Porter + Craig Media & Distribution.
Hatton (who received his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University) was born in New Jersey and raised primarily near Chicago. In the early 1990s, he participated in US special operations in the Persian Gulf where, as a diver, paratrooper and explosives expert, he flew missions with SEALs, according to his biography.
Due to his unique background, he has also worked for the US Secret Service, providing personal protective services to Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as many other UN leaders. He was also a member of the Naval Experimental Diving Unit, as an active Naval Reservist. His career in entertainment began when, as a founding member, he was the singer and guitarist of the band Silt.
The band ended up signing a deal with London Records and Twentieth Century Fox who landed their single “Lunatic” on the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” (2000) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. After Silt broke up, he continued to perform with bands Mary Ellis and Seaworthy.
Porter + Craig will work with AMC Theaters to release “The Blacklight” in theaters across the Midwest and West Coast beginning March 25, 2022.
The process was complicated by the Feb. 11, 2022, domestic release of “Blacklight,” the latest film starring Liam Neeson. He plays Travis Block, a government agent who comes to terms with his dark past. When he uncovers a plot targeting American citizens, Block finds himself in the crosshairs of the FBI director he once helped protect.
For more information on the new movie “The Blacklight”, visit www.theblacklightmovie.com and follow @TheBlacklightMovie on social media.