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Business backing sought for Motueka movie

October 14th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

The producer of the movie "Blue Moon" based in Motueka, Stef Harris, is seeking further financial support from Motueka businesses to "put the project on the world stage".

Step is working on a project that aims to reignite the film industry in the Top of the South, starting with Motueka.

He plans to make a $1.5 million feature film funded by new Zealand Film Commission here in Motueka. In order to attract that funding to our town, phase one of the plan is to make a more modestly budgeted film as proof of concept.

"Blue Moon" is a feature film that has already received seed funding from Tasman District Council and it will be shot in Motueka in March next year.

"I have had an amazing response and I already have a dozen local film makers and the likes of film composer Peter Scholes, Hollywood sound technician Ben Dunker, actors Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy volunteering to help make the project a reality," he said.

"However to capitalize on this terrific opportunity for the community of Motueka I will need further financial support from local businesses to really put the project on the world stage.

"I'm sure there are individuals and companies here who would relish an opportunity to get behind the project." He can be contacted at

Harris said the movie received $10,000 from the Tasman District Council, which meant "a green light" to produce the film.

"However, there is still a lot of work to do to put together a business plan before shooting can begin," he said.

"Blue Moon" is a crime thriller, featuring Wellington actors Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy, who had roles in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movies.

It tells the story of a gas station owner who finds himself held up by a robber.

"We're taking an innovative approach to production, filming on iPhone 7+ and shooting in real time," Harris said.

"So the story starts at 4.25am and finishes at 6.05am. The ticking-clock suspense story features the iconic Motueka clock tower."

He previously produced the award winning feature film The Waimate Conspiracy, which was shot in six days and also featured Mark Hadlow.

Harris said he moved back to Motueka in 2014 to be closer to family and "became convinced" Tasman was "the perfect location for feature films".

"The other [film] I have in development with the New Zealand Film Commission is a big budget adventure story entirely located on Takaka Hill.

"It involves a group of police offers who take a serial killer to the scene of a crime and then the killer escapes from him."

Harris said Tasman District Council would be hosting the red carpet premiere screening of "Blue Moon" before the film travels to film festivals worldwide.

Auditions to find six local actors and extras would be held before March 6, on a to be announced date.

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