OFFICIAL SELECTION OF;
Rhode Island International Film Festival 2008 - Awarded Grand Prize in Editing
New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2008 - Awarded Best international Thriller.
raindance Film festival 2008 - London
RADAR Hamburg 2008 - Nominated Best Feature
Rhode Island International Horror Film festival 2008
Strasbourg International Film festival 2008
Nevermore Horror Film festival North Carolina 2009
Interview with TV3's NIGHTLINE for the New Zealand Premiere of BLACKSPOT.
3 part Artilce in New Zealand film industry magazine ONFILM Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (to come)
David Parkinson Empire Online
The wide open spaces of New Zealand provide the unsettling backdrop for Blackspot, which was filmed over 19 months by Ben Hawker and his classmates from Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop. Having survived a near-collision on a remote highway, Luke Hawker and Simon Smith decide to wait for dawn in their broken-down station wagon. However, unresolved tensions and growing apprehension prompt them to venture out into the night for help.
But real and imagined dangers await them and they are forced to re-assess their friendship as they hunker down at the side of the road. With paranoia exacerbating the duo's fear of the dark, this is a decidedly creepy journey into the unknown that makes endless time and hostile space seem more terrifying than anything more tangible. Kevin McTurk and Glenn Miers ably contrast the confinement of the vehicle with the daunting wilderness, while Ben Hawker deftly allows suppressed memories to heighten the tension. Let's just hope you don't get lost on your way home...
Raindance Official write-up CP
While driving along the dark late night roads of New Zealand, two young men suddenly find themselves stranded when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The pair decide to wait until sunrise before seeking help, but as the hours slowly pass by and the sun fails to appear, they realise the horrid truth- the dawn isn’t coming.
The first directorial effort from Ben Hawker (of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop), the film explores the men’s paranoia in such extreme isolation as it becomes progressively more and more apparent that there is much more to be frightened of outside the confines of their stationary vehicle - and as the events continue to unfold the men begin questioning the very foundations of their apparent friendship.
Shot with a crew comprised almost entirely of Hawker’s Weta colleagues over the course of nineteen months (owing to New Zealand’s contrastingly short and freezing summer nights) and achieving on average an incredible 28 shots per night, it’s a stark contrast to their work most people will have seen on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
A clever low budget horror film that succeeds at never being predictable, Blackspot plays on childhood fears and succeeds with terrifying results. This nightmarish vision will keep you on the very edge of your seat.
Oscar Winner Richard Taylor
Ben and Luke Hawker have on their first outing made a masterful film for
the features market. Black Spot is a dark and brooding journey into the
back blocks of NZ. A story about love and the fleeting nature of life,
through its sparse landscape it enables you uncanny discoveries and how
you can come to understand things when it is too late! This great
tragedy set in eternal night is incredibly powerful and genuinely
terrifying. My congratulations on an accomplished piece of filmmaking
from two immensely talented artists.
With some great opening credits, mostly black and white and all shades in between we get to see two mid twenty’s men in a car at night - and this road seems to go forever - and the driver Simon asks his passenger Luke( brother of director) as if they’re lost, which way to turn. Right and they continue on for sometime until Luke momentarily nods off. He wakes, completely startled, with a kind of flashback in colour of a woman( Camille) running and a man entering the corridor of a house - and freaks out Simon.
They start arguing and generally irritating each other but the drive continues. Then the drivers change and we see Joe( Joe Dunckley) repairing the car and then vanishing and now the two are completely lost when the car breaks down. Beside them in a field is a goat about which they both try to be sensible, as they get out to walk. The goat suddenly appears on the road!
`Blackspot`, 2008, New Zealand, Progressive DVPAL -Super35 a/r 2.35to1, 83mins, written by Ben & Luke Hawker, was produced by Freya Blackwood( who must be multi-skilled according to her entries in the credits) - apart from being a disturbing horror the two DOPS Glenn Miers & Kevin McTurk have done a great job capturing the countryside at night - we can see all the ghostly features - which, of course, adds to the mystery and, of course, there are those other stars, up in the sky.
Shown at Rhode Island Film Festival, this flick, shot over 18months & in the very cold summer nights of NZ, this low budget horror probably by now will have earned its coat - no mean accomplishment! Chris Presswell, as introducer for Raindance, said that this was his favourite flick. He’ll have to make sure he’s never out on one of those long roads in the North Island ...
North Carolina’s Nevermore 2009 Film festival Write up
Ben Hawker's beautifully-scripted directorial debut is part mystery, part road film, part time-travel paradox, and part extraordinarily ambitious supernatural thriller. It feels like a fascinating, newly discovered episode of The Twilight Zone, but with a very modern twist.
Its plot is almost indescribable without giving away its secrets. Set in New Zealand on a cold winter night that never seems to end, Blackspot concerns two young men whose friendship is pushed to the limits when their 1970 Valiant station wagon breaks down, stranding them in the middle of nowhere. They resign to wait out the night in the safety of the Valiant, but soon dread and paranoia start to grip them, and time itself starts to take on a distorted and unsettling quality. Now, the two friends are fleeing into the chilly countryside, only to find horrors outside the car that far exceed any nightmare, possibly being stalked by a shadowy assailant who seems to anticipate their every move. And bit by little bit, Blackspot brilliantly reverses on itself; sometimes showing us the same scene from a different perspective, adding new insights about what’s truly happening (or about to happen), and further causing the terrified men to suspect that whomever is now following them is not human. And why does the dawn fail to arrive? Radical in concept, risk-taking in execution, and almost obsessively challenging in its quest for originality, Director Ben Hawker creates a nerve-wrecking, audaciously entertaining suspense film for grown-ups. Blackspot is a devilish changeling that warrants repeat viewings.