Stefen Harris faced off against Peter Jackson in a Spot On short film contest, while both were teenagers. In 2006, 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. The longtime policeman followed it with small-town ecological comedy No Petrol, No Diesel! After winning a 2007 scholarship, he was mentored in the United States by Kiwi-born director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). His third feature, 2018 petrol station thriller Blue Moon, was shot on an iPhone. It debuted at the 2018 Christchurch Film Festival.
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
When a man is found dead in the petrol station run by Horace Jones (Mark Hadlow), a surprising opportunity arises to get rid of some debt. But things get complicated when a menacing customer (Jed Brophy from The Hobbit ) shows up looking for the dead man’s money. Shot entirely on an iPhone at a petrol station in Motueka, Blue Moon is the third feature from writer/director Stefen Harris, who used his years as a police officer as inspiration for what goes on in the wee small hours. The film debuted in the Christchurch leg of the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.
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.