Chris Graham - who runs film company goodLife - was born in Wellington, and raised in Wellington, Bangkok, and Canada's capital city of Ottawa. He developed his graffiti art and photography skills at Wellington's Onslow College, then was accepted into New York's School of Visual Arts.
After four years he graduated with honours in film directing in 1993; his thesis film Life Before Me was judged best film (and Graham best director) from more than 100 works submitted by the school's thesis students. It also won a Best Film Student Jury Prize at the 1994 Tel Aviv Student Festival.
After moving back home to New Zealand, Graham joined production company Flying Fish, where he built up his commercial career over a ten year period.
Graham is also one of the country's most awarded music video directors, with 11 awards over a six year span, including a trio of Tui awards for Smashproof's 'Brother', Dei Hamo's 'We Gon Ride' & Scribe's 'Stand Up'. He recently made his music video debut in the United States, with "Wild Out' for hip hop artists Savage & Baby Bash, followed by 'Love the Islands' for Savage, which was shot all over the Samoan Islands.
Graham's short films include directing Bus Stop (Melbourne Film Festival 2002) and the technically-ambitious Water, in which a family find their home overcome by rising waters (Sundance Film Festival, 2004 in competition). He has also completed a short film commissioned by Vodka brand 42 Below, for the Chinese 'One Dream Rush' film project.
Graham has an affinity for Maori and Pacific Island artists and has directed award-winning music videos for Tha Feelstyle (Su'Amalie) and Trinity Roots (Little Things). He admits part of his motivation to direct Sione's Wedding, his first feature film, was because it starred The Naked Samoans, a group of Pacific Island comedians. "As a cinema-goer, I was dying to see a New Zealand comedy and leave the theatre with a bounce in my step, in a good mood, feeling optimistic about life."
After an impressive opening weekend, Sione's Wedding went on to become the fourth highest grossing New Zealand film on its home territory. The film was nominated for 10 NZ Screen Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.
Graham has also done stints directing for award-winning arts series The Living Room.
Graham lives in Auckland and recently set up independent production company, goodLife. He is currently writing his next film, and has other feature projects in development in both New Zealand and the United States.