Carthew Neal's producing career includes an Oscar nomination for Jojo Rabbit, Kiwi box office champ Hunt for the Wilderpeople, oddball documentary Tickled and Madeleine Sami in many roles series Super City. Neal runs Auckland company Fumes, and Piki Films. In 2007 he created environmental info series Wa$ted, which screened or was remade in 20+ countries. An early pioneer in interactive web storytelling (2002’s 5 Minute Call), Neal went on to produce web comedy Aroha Bridge and interactive documentary I Spy (with My 5 Eyes). He also manages musical acts — including Aroha Bridge creator, Coco Solid.
I want to maximize the potential of creative talent and ideas to create entertainment audiences will love. Carthew Neal, on the Fumes website
The Breaker Upperers is the tale of two women whose business is ending other people's relationships. Leading both the cast and the filmmakers are Madeleine Sami (Super City) and Jackie van Beek (What We Do in the Shadows). Sami's character finds herself falling for a teen (James Rolleston) who needs to dump his girlfriend. The film began winning acclaim after debuting at US festival South by Southwest, in March 2018. It had a successful New Zealand cinema release, and was purchased for screening by Netflix. The impressive cast includes Rima Te Wiata and Rose Matafeo.
Taika Waititi's fourth feature is the tale of a city kid and a grumpy uncle on the run. Raised on hip hop and state care, Ricky (Shopping's Julian Dennison) goes bush with his foster uncle (Sam Neill). The authorities are on their tail. In this excerpt, the pair get caught, and s**t gets real. Wilderpeople is based on Barry Crump book Wild Pork and Watercress. Keen to recapture the style of classic screen yarns like Came a Hot Friday, Waititi's aim was a funny, accessible adventure. The result won acclaim almost everywhere it went, and became New Zealand's biggest ever local hit.
The Five Eyes spy network was set up after WWll to monitor and share intelligence between the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. According to this interactive documentary, the network sought a new justification for its existence after the Soviet Union's collapse, and found it in digital communications. Narrated by Lucy Lawless, I Spy aimed to inform viewers about just what their local intelligence agencies are up to. Interviewees included author Nicky Hager and ex NSA/CIA director Michael Hayden. I Spy was funded by a joint Canadian-NZ Digital Media Fund.
Tickled sounds like a comedy, but the film traces a path from quirky to the stuff of fear, mystery and intimidation. The documentary began when then TV3 reporter David Farrier saw a cash offer for athletes to fly to Los Angeles for 'Competitive Endurance Tickling'. Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve headed to the United States, and found ticklers scared to go on camera — and threats from those behind the scenes. At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Tickled quickly won rave reviews and sales; Vogue and The Hollywood Reporter named it one of 2016's ten best documentaries.
Musician Coco Solid aka Jessica Hansell’s 10-part satirical web series follows a band in the ’burbs dreaming of stardom. In Aroha Bridge, control freak Kowhai and her stoner twin brother Monty (Hansell and Rizvan Tu’itahi) play their debut gig but are upstaged by the precocious Angeline. Madeleine Sami and Frankie Stevens voice the twins’ spacey mum and macho dad. Wellington animators Skyranch include music video director Simon Ward and Luke 'Disasteradio' Rowell. Funded by NZ On Air under the title Hook Ups, Aroha Bridge launched on the NZ Herald website in May 2013.
Budding musos Kowhai and Monty face the hard facts of economic reality in episode two of Jessica Hansell’s animated satire set in Aroha Bridge, based on her former neighbourhood Mangere Bridge. Though they’re pretty sure working for their wigged out ex-army dad (Frankie Stevens) might involve something illegal, their new jobs as “televisionaries” flogging creepy teddy bears proves just as dubious. Funded by NZ On Air, Aroha Bridge started life as a comic strip in NZ Herald’s Volume magazine before it appeared on the Herald’s website in animated form.
Selling out is the theme of the third part of Jessica Hansell’s 10-part animated web series. Cousin Ira offers the twins a gig playing at the grand reopening of the Aroha Bridge dairy on the condition they play a song about the dairy. Kowhai leaps at the chance to play a “festival” crowd, while Monty is dubious about promoting “big business”. Each episode of Aroha Bridge features a track created by a fan on an app accompanying the series. Production company Fumes also makes Super City starring Madeleine Sami, voice of the Hook twins’ spaced out mum.
Kowhai and Monty Hook run into some chic city girls at the dairy who invite them to play at an art opening. Under the influence of his mum’s “alternative medicine”, Monty pens an ode to spaghetti which Kowhai tries to reframe as a feminist thinkpiece. Crooner Frankie Stevens voices the twins’ slightly scary dad in this 10-part animated series created by Jessica Hansell. Wellington animators Skyranch is a collective of artist/musicians including Luke Rowell aka Disasteradio, responsible for the background sight gags.
Monty’s crappy administration skills prompt the Hook twins (Jessica Hansell aka musician Coco Solid and Rizvan Tu’itahi) to look for a manager in Hansell’s 10-part animated web comedy about a band dreaming of stardom. At the Aroha Bridge dairy they run into intriguing Scotsman Dougie (Frankie Stevens, also the voice of the twins’ macho dad) who just happens to be carrying all the right management literature under his arm – but Monty is suspicious of his motives. Aroha Bridge is based on Hansell’s comic strip Hook Ups, for music magazine Volume.
Frankie Stevens impersonates himself as a judge on the televised musical talent show Aroha Bridge Factor in this sixth episode of Jessica Hansell’s animated web series. Kowhai and Monty (Hansell and Rizvan Tu’itahi) audition with a track from Kowhai’s musical meisterwerk The Phantom of the Hiphopera. But in front of the judges, the twins’ effort to “street up” their story comes back to bite them. The twins’ costumes by Wellington animators Skyranch and Scotty Cotter’s goofy cousin Ira are highlights of the episode.
Inspired by her idol, the all-dancing, singing and acting Alaze Rhetoric, Kowhai forces Monty to attend dance lessons so they too can bring a triple threat. But hot Euro dance teacher Francine (voiced by Madeleine Sami) is blind to Kowhai’s self-proclaimed talent and only has eyes for Monty. The voices for Jessica Hansell’s 10-part web series about the music biz were recorded in a single afternoon, with crooner Frankie Stevens onboard as the twins’ ex-army dad. Comic use of a dairy doorbell merits special mention in this Aroha Bridge episode.
The Hooks’ blissed out mum (Madeleine Sami) has a vision of a Reiki studio in her basement, displacing the twins’ practice room in this eighth episode of animated series Aroha Bridge, based on Jessica Hansell’s comic strip Hook Ups. After answering an ad, the twins end up sharing rehearsal space with pretentious synth outfit the Rugged Sharks, but their music is not quite as crap as it first seemed, leading Kowhai to consider ripping them off. Hansell aka musician Coco Solid and Rizvan Tu’itahi star as a band from the ‘burbs dreaming of the big time.
The Hook twins (Jessica Hansell aka rapper Coco Solid, and Rizvan Tu’itahi) pimp their social media profile in the penultimate episode of Hansell’s animated comedy series about a suburban band with stars in their eyes. They go the cheap route by posting a sensationalist clip of their ex-army dad (Frankie Stevens) freaking out over a kitten (he is kittenphobic), however Kowhai recovers her morals and apologises in a lyrical highpoint of the series: “Oh dad, I’m so sorry/ I threw a baby cat in your face/ Oh dad, I’m so sorry/ I was panderin’ to my fanbase.”
Mum is cornrowing Dad’s hair for a costume party in this final episode inspired by the lyrics of a track sent in by a series' fan (“Halloween party, Halloween!/ Halloween party, Halloween!”). Cousin Ira lures the twins into the lair of enemy band the Rugged Sharks, where they realise they are the wait staff. No one gets Kowhai’s Riddler costume and Monty drinks to ease the pain. This 10-part animated music biz satire stars Jessica Hansell and Rizvan Tu’itahi as Kowhai and Monty Hook; Madeleine Sami as mum; Frankie Stevens as dad and Scotty Cotter as cousin Ira.
Actor Madeleine Sami transforms into five very different Aucklanders in this Taika Waititi directed comedy series. Cheerleader Pasha is desperate to hang on to her youth; Linda tries too hard with her middle-aged clique; Azeem the Iranian taxi driver is obsessed with Māori culture; homeless Georgie makes a shock discovery, and gym instructor Jo secretly loves a female colleague. Rachel House, Rose McIver and Antonia Prebble appear in this series opener. Super City creator Sami (The Breaker Upperers) co-wrote the scripts, and won an Aotearoa award for Best Actress.
Creating and playing all of the main characters in Super City made for a "physically exhausting" experience for Madeleine Sami. But the hard yakka paid off, with the first season winning Sami a best actress gong and rave reviews. The show weaved the storylines of very different Aucklanders (five in season one, and four new characters in season two): including a ditzy Indian cheerleader, an Iranian male taxi driver obsessed with Māori culture, and a homeless woman. Taika Waititi (Boy) directed the first series; Oscar Kightley (Sione's Wedding) took over for season two.
WA$TED gave an eco twist to the DIY renovation genre, by giving homes a green makeover. In this first episode the young family learning about sustainability are the Petelos, a household that guzzles gas and churns out trash. Patrick Petelo learns that if his example (taking the train a couple of days a week) was widely followed, Aotearoa’s carbon emissions would be reduced by 15%. Created by Carthew Neal, the show's format sold overseas, including to US channel Planet Green (now Destination America). Co-presenter Francesca Price later launched sustainability mag Good.
This reality show provides an eco-twist to the home DIY genre by giving households a green makeover. At each episode's end presenter Francesca Price gifts the house in cash what their earth-friendly conversion has cut from their bills. This household from the show’s first season is an Auckland flat of material girls; their power-hungry cosmetics and takeaways lifestyle gets audited by Price and builder Tristan Glendinning. Created by producer Carthew Neal, the WA$TED! format sold successfully overseas, and a US version screened for three seasons on Planet Green.
This reality television series set out to show that “you don’t have to be extreme to be green” by putting households through a green audit. Each week journalist Francesca Price gave a new family the WA$TED! treatment, gifting them in cash what their planet-friendly conversion had cut from bills. Created by producer Carthew Neal, the eco twist on the DIY/home makeover genre screened for two seasons on TV3 and the format sold globally (a US version screened on Planet Green). The show’s production walked the sustainable talk by eg. reusing props and crew carpooling.
In this one-off documentary Te Radar takes his roving reporter skills to Takaka, and immerses himself in the groovy world of The Gathering. The New Year's dance music festival ran from 1996 to 2002. Radar proves the master of the quote, whether chatting to 'Lords of the Ping', electronic act Pitch Black or avoiding immolation from fire poi enthusiasts ("who doesn't love a fire poi", he says grimly). Watch out for Black Seed Bret McKenzie, laidback DJ star John Digweed and the earnest 'Jesus Food' crew, whose free dosh proves a bit too popular for rival food stalls.
In March and April 2001 slippers met gumboots when The Royal New Zealand Ballet went on a five-week long heartland tour. The ballerinas performed in community theatres and halls in places like Twizel, Putaruru, Taihape, and Alexandra. This Gibson Group TV One documentary chronicles the challenges – injuries, fatigue, motel life, provincial performance diets (junk food, baking), dodgy stages and wiring, romance on the road – and receptive locals. The programme includes work from local choreographers to famous ballets, with music from classical to Head Like a Hole.