Stefen Harris faced off against Peter Jackson in a Spot On short film contest while both were teens. Later, after various efforts to film his debut novel had failed, Harris hired a small crew and turned it into multi-awardwinning mockumentary The Waimate Conspiracy. Ecological comedy No Petrol, No Diesel! followed. A 2007 scholarship saw the veteran policeman being mentored in the US by Kiwi director Martin Campbell.
I agonised over the decision long and hard before taking the risk of directing it myself ... It seemed that everyone involved knew more about film than I did but I kept telling myself I knew more about this film than anyone else. I knew if it was a failure there was no-one else to blame. Stefen Harris in Onfilm, on his award-winning debut The Waimate Conspiracy
Big business and a small, struggling rural support town are on a collision course in this good-natured comedy made on a shoestring budget with extensive community goodwill. Policeman, author and film director Stefen Harris reunites the cast from his debut The Waimate Conspiracy, but moves the action up SH1 to Temuka. An adaptation of his novel The Hydrosnipe, it features Mark Hadlow as an amoral corporate trouble-shooter threatening the town’s only petrol station after its recently deceased owner may have stumbled on a priceless scientific breakthrough.
Christchurch policeman Stefen Harris launched his film career with this feature-length adaptation of his own book The Waikikamukau Conspiracy, about a small town Māori land claim. When drama funding couldn’t be secured, it was shot as a low budget mockumentary in just six days in South Canterbury. Jim Moriarty manages to be endearing in his determination to regain his people’s land at any cost, while David McPhail and Mark Hadlow enthusiastically lampoon the judicial system. The film won Best Digital Feature at the 2007 Air New Zealand Screen Awards.