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City’s sole entry in film festival a tribute to perseverance – CCC

20 July 2006

Christchurch City Council congratulates director Stefen Lewis, whose mockumentary movie The Waimate Conspiracy is the city’s sole feature-length entry in this year’s international film festival.

The Council has not directly supported the project but in recent years has granted him several thousand dollars from the Creative Communities Fund, money the council administers on behalf of Creative New Zealand.

The Waimate Conspiracy’s showing on 15 August will be its world premiere.

The screenplay is based on Mr Lewis’ book The Waikikamukau Conspiracy and centres on the discovery of a cannonball buried in a paddock for 138 years and taken by some as confirmation of their belief that tribal lands had been forcibly removed.

The entire project took about three years and cost about $15,000. The budding director, who works for the Police as a Community Constable, persuaded many local people to help in the movie’s production, both in front of and behind the camera.

Name actors who heeded the call included Jim Moriarty, David McPhail, Janice Gray and Mark Hadlow. Among the enthusiastic amateurs was city councillor Sue Wells, who has a cameo role as a resource management lawyer.

“This is a great tale of kiwi initiative. No money and a dream realised after persuading an entire cast and crew to work for free,” Cr Wells says.

The film festival publication describes the movie as a “good humoured, deeply fanciful mock documentary” with a distinctly Cantabrian flavour.

● The 30th Telecom Christchurch International Film Festival runs from 3-20 August. The Waimate Conspiracy screens at the Rialto on 15 August at 8.15pm and 16 August at 3.45pm.

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