When Invercargill team Super Furious Ninja Dragon drew the musical dance genre for their 48Hours competition entry, they added a noir-style detective story, hoping for "something never seen before". A 'Jane Doe' is found in an alleyway and a detective (Nathan Kennedy) and his rookie (Nick McGrath) "hit their way up" through the usual suspects, before a jiving gun fight. Award-winning cinematographer James Wilkinson (who also voices the detective) goes for black and white, using shadow play to great effect. The Black Ballet was the first Invercargill entry to make the national finals, after Peter Jackson picked it as one of his wildcards.
Exploding out of the deep south, this noir murder film fully embraces the dreaded 'musical and dance' genre. This film was a Peter Jackson Wildcard and it is an example of the slick filmmaking talent that comes from the smaller regions — in this case the dramatically backlit alleyways and highly contrasting stairwells of Invercargill.– 48Hours national managers Ness Patea and Ruth Korver on why The Black Ballet is one of their favourite 48Hours films