David Stubbs is co-creator of Emmy-winning web series Reservoir Hill, and three seasons of Girl vs Boy. After starting his screen career as an editor at the National Film Unit, Stubbs began directing an eclectic range of commercials, music videos, documentaries and dramas — including Moa Award-winner Belief and musical Daffodils. In 2009 he set up company KHF Media, with actor turned director Thomas Robins.
What we do is create wonderful lies. We engineer, fabricate, twist and turn stories — drama, comedy and documentary — and with a bit of luck the lies will reveal a magical truth. Hopefully accompanied by tears, laughter or goose-bumps. David Stubbs
Belief examines the 2007 death of young Wainuiomata mother Janet Moses during an attempted exorcism. It uses a blend of interviews and reenactments to explore a tragedy which director David Stubbs believes was caused by "fear and love mixing and turning into hysteria". In 2009 five members of Janet’s family were charged in relation to her death. Belief debuted in the 2015 NZ International Film Festival before screening on TV One. Herald critic Peter Calder called it "compelling and heartbreaking". David Stubbs was judged Best Documentary Director at the 2017 Moa Awards.
"As dark as Twilight, as twisted as Twin Peaks, and as bitchy as Gossip Girl" is David Stubbs' summary of the series he co-created, produced and directed with Tom Robins for Krafthaus Films. Beautiful but doomed Beth Connolly (played by the coincidentally named Beth Chote) washes up in Kafkaesque suburban Porirua, where folks are understandably freaked out by her dead-on resemblance to missing schoolgirl Tara. The winner of an International Digital Emmy in 2010, the series originally screened in 2009 and has since been sold to Swedish channel SVT.
Production company Krafthaus won an International Digital Emmy Award for this front-running interactive web series for young people, in which the audience texted in suggestions to drive the plot. Evoking a certain series of blockbuster vampire films, dark-haired beauty Beth Connolly (Beth Chote) arrives in a new town, where people are odd and the sky is permanently overcast. After a very strange reception from her classmates, brainbox Monika (Michelle Ny) shows Beth a picture of missing schoolgirl Tara — whom Beth is a dead ringer for.
In the second episode of Krafthaus' award-winning interactive web series, Beth's mum convinces her to give school a two-week trial after a nightmarish first day in which Beth (Beth Chote) discovered she was a dead ringer for missing schoolgirl (and everyone's worst enemy) Tara. But her classmates are every bit as kooky as the day before. After school, she meets friendly girl racer Sammy (Greer Samuel) then hottie Matt (Tim Kano). But just as the town and its folk seem almost normal, Beth is confronted by a sinister gang.
Acting on the advice of friends from home (actually audience members texting in), Beth accepts a ride to school from the mysterious Matt in the third episode of this International Emmy Award-winning interactive web series. But someone is watching them. Matt, we discover, knew Beth's missing lookalike Tara and certain shady rumours about Matt's personal life are proved correct. Beth visits Tara's sister Lilli (Tai Berdinner-Blades) in hospital, where she encounters cray-cray Mrs Jay (Carmel McGlone), who drops a horrible burden onto Beth.
In the fourth ep of Krafthaus' award-winning web series, Beth Connolly (Beth Chote) wanders into the forest searching for clues about the gang, where she runs into sassy Petra (Abby Damen) and a male friend. Sammy takes Beth to the softly spoken James (Dan Caddy), brother of missing schoolgirl Tara, who has been following Beth to what is revealed as an obsessive degree. James promises to help her. Spooky Mrs Jay (Carmel McGlone) reappears and this time, it's as if she's a different person.
A text from an audience member advises Beth to go to Petra's party in the fifth ep of this International Emmy Award-winning web series for teens. While Beth tries to stay close to her friend Sammy, she is distracted by Petra, then Monika, then Matt ... each of whom tells her disturbing news relating to the disappearance of Beth's lookalike Tara. Despite their pact not to drink too much, Sammy ends up in a drunken fight with host Petra, who reveals the real reason why Lilli Jay is in hospital. Hurt that Beth left her alone, Sammy leaves the party by herself.
The sixth episode of this Emmy Award-winning interactive web series begins with Beth (Beth Chote) returning from the party late and trying to confide in her mother about the spooky goings on around Reservoir Hill. Beth continues to find cul de sacs negotiating life in the eerie suburb: James Jay denies that he assaulted Matt, but Beth tricks him into telling the truth. And James' half-sister Lilli has just returned from hospital, disorientated, and confuses Beth with her missing sister Tara. The episode ends on a disturbing revelation.
Nightmare and reality collide in this seventh episode of David Stubbs and Thomas Robins' interactive web drama Reservoir Hill, which picked up an International Digital Emmy in 2010. Beth (Beth Chote) reveals Lilli's secret to Sammy — only to find Sammy has known it all along. Sammy hints at her beef with Matt, but Beth is still drawn to him. James loses his cool and blurts out another accusation at Matt. It's the girls — Beth, Sammy and Monika — who venture up to the reservoir above suburban Porirua, to confront their worst fears.
In the final episode of this International Emmy Award-winning web series, Beth (Beth Chote) is on the run from the hooded, masked bike gang, and heads into the perennially grey and misty streets of Porirua. Although Matt (Tim Kano) promises to rescue her, Beth finds herself trapped on a dam surrounded by the hoodies — where at last she discovers the secret of the town's bizarre and spooky behaviour towards her. What she does next is even more surprising...
Freaky creator Thomas Robins’ second horror anthology for kids makes use of a sophisticated story structure. Years ago Room 21 at Killian High was cursed by its satanic school founder. A new principal dismisses warnings and opens the space, unleashing the curse onto new students. Each episode is split into three parts as three students battle demons. The number 21 plays an important role; the 21 students of Room 21 must overcome an eclectic range of demons or else the evil Killian claims their souls ‘forever’. A second season followed in 2008.
This unlikely ode to loose pants from Christchurch hip hop duo Dark Tower reached number 29 in the charts in 2000. “I like my pants baggy, baggy, baggy, baggy, baggy / cuffs a draggin' with the crutch a saggin’.” The southern Pākekā pride on show presented a funk rap alternative to the dominant ‘urban Pasifika’ influence in NZ hip hop, and won a cult following. The video, directed by David Stubbs (Reservoir Hill) riffs off the found footage concept of (then) hit horror film Blair Witch Project; it was nominated for Best Video at 2000 NZ Music Video Awards.