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Stephen Downes


Stephen Downes had never shot a film before he met director Robert Sarkies in an Otago University cafe. He wound up framing a trio of ambitious short films for Sarkies, followed by breakout Dunedin feature Scarfies (1999). With a zoology degree under his belt, Downes has mainly dealt with dramas of a natural kind. He has forged a globetrotting career as a wildlife cameraman and director from filming wild monkeys in Sri Lanka, to poaching in South Africa, to discovering komodo dragons have venom glands. Downes is co-founder of Dunedin-based 5to9 Productions, alongside ex Natural History New Zealand producer Mark Strickson.

The mainstay of my career has been animals. I always wanted to be a wildlife filmmaker and along the way drama happened. Stephen Downes, in the press kit for 1999 movie Scarfies