Alumnus brings film to Rockford

By Haley Galvin

DeKALB — Don Hatton, 1998 alumnus, is making his dreams come true with the production of an original feature film, “Villains,” which will be partially shot in Rockford.

In 2010, Don Hatton and his partner Nick Snow founded Dashford Media, a production company that writes, produces and directs short films, music videos and feature films. The two began directing and producing shorts and, over the last year, wrote and developed an original feature film.

“We have creative freedom to create something on our own,” Snow said.

Hatton said he decided to create Dashford Media with help from Snow to pursue what he had been prepared for at NIU with his degree in operations and management information systems.

As the producer, Hatton is responsible for the financial and management side of the films. He said he has been networking for years through short films, getting to know actors and making connections.

Through these connections and creative people he met along the way, Hatton and Snow decided to start filming their very own feature film titled “Villains.”

The film is a supernatural crime thriller, and Snow said there are no “good guys.” He said, instead, “Villains” has heightened crime characters that have a shockingly dark sense of humor at times.

“It’s a ‘Lord of the Rings’ meets modern crime,” Snow said.

Being their own business rather than a large studio, Snow said they have a lot of creative freedom with their ideas, but the resources are also up to them to find.

“We couldn’t do things without these connections,” Hatton said. “All these people saying, ‘I wanna do things with you and for you.’”

For the past year, Hatton said they have been shooting scenes in Rockford. A few of his duties entail finding shooting locations and scheduling the actors and crew, which is how they ended up so close to NIU.

Once Hatton has an idea, he said he wants to make sure he gets it just right. He must find the right location and actors to make his dream come to life on screen.

”We have a very distinct vision of how the film should look and feel, [and] we don’t ever want to cut corners on the vision of the film,” Hatton said. “We want the right quality and the right actors and the right talent.”

While the film has no specific release date, Hatton said the team is working tirelessly to create something that will be a top-notch film.

“Do things the way you want, not what you feel you have to do,” Hatton said.