Haysom began working in film in the props department. Boy racer short Queen Street (1980) marks one of his earliest credits.
He produced his first film in 1984: documentary Every Dancer's Dream. It was the first of many projects involving dance, most of them made with director Gregor Nicholas. Every Dancer's Dream proved an auspicious beginning; the documentary about two ballroom dancing couples won a silver plaque at the 1984 Chicago Film Festival.
The Haysom/Nicholas team collaborated again on shorts Rushes, Hey Paris, and From Scratch performance piece Pacific 3-2-1 Zero. Their feature debut came in 1990 with User Friendly, a madcap comedy involving anti-aging potions, bowling clubs and bull terriers. Haysom produced, alongside future Film Archive chief Frank Stark. Though User Friendly failed to light up the box office, American magazine Variety found it "an exuberant romp".
The 80s was a hectic period for Haysom. Aside from his work producing short films, he was location manager on the Kiwi shoot of Robert De Niro movie Midnight Run, and assistant director on a trio of shorts directed by Alison MacLean. This period brought him into contact with many future collaborators, including Greg Stitt, Garth Maxwell and Leon Narbey.
Haysom would go on to produce Maxwell's christian-themed Red Delicious (1991), then work as associate producer on two features, MacLean's Crush, and the Narbey-directed The Footstep Man. Haysom also produced Narbey's TV doco Visible Evidence, a portrait of Kiwi documentary photographers.
In 1991 Haysom formed company T.H.E Film (Trevor Haysom Enterprises). Among the documentaries made under the T.H.E. banner are a number featured on TV's Work of Art slot; including two directed by Greg Stitt, Peter Peryer: Portrait of a Photographer and The Dark Forest, which chronicles the work of dancer Michael Parmenter.
Haysom was also continuing to produce and executive produce shorts for emerging filmmakers. Among the films was Brad McGann's multi award-winnning Possum (1999), which was selected for 14 international film festivals.
Haysom then asked McGann if he was interested in writing a TV adaptation of Maurice Gee's In My Father's Den. Haysom had been interested in the novel since the early 90s, drawn to the theme of 'the difficulty of connecting', and recognised this as something running through McGann's work.
Initially unsure if he could do the project justice, McGann was later won over to its big screen possibilities. The pair began an extended development period, holding casting sessions in London for the central role, with Haysom eventually winning substantial English funding to make the film as a Kiwi-UK co-production. Despite his key part in bringing In My Father's Den to the screen, Haysom reduced his fee in order to help get it into production.
Reviews tended to the rhapsodic, and the film won awards in Germany, China, England, the United States, and New Zealand. In 2004 Haysom took away the inaugural SPADA Independent Producer of the Year Award. But the promise of future McGann/Haysom collaborations ended when Brad McGann succumbed to cancer in May 2007.
Haysome also produced After the Waterfall, which marked the feature debut of another rising talent: director Simone Horrocks. The film, adapted by Horrocks from British author Stephen Blanchard's The Paraffin Child, revolves around a man (played by Outrageous Fortune's Antony Starr) devastated by the disappearance of his daughter. After the Waterfall debuted at the 2010 mid-year round of NZ film festivals.
Mid-2015 saw the start of the shoot for The Rehearsal, based on the book by Eleanor Catton. Produced by Haysom and Bridget Ikin, the film marked the first Kiwi project in more than two decades for Crush director Alison Maclean. Among other awards, the result was nominated for Best Film, Director and Screenplay at the 2017 Moa Film Awards.
Trevor Haysom continues to produce. Besides executive producing on the movie version of Under the Mountain and episodes of bro'town, he was a co-producer on period chase tale Tracker (starring Temuera Morrison and Brit Ray Winstone).
In My Father's Den press kit