Jessica Hobbs began directing short films in her 20s, during an eight year stint as an assistant director. After helming Cliff Curtis TV drama Overnight in 1995, she got her "big break" on Australia's Heartbreak High. Hobbs went on to build up an impressive — and award-winning — Australian resume, including hit show Love My Way, East Timor mini-series Answered by Fire, and the first two episodes of BAFTA-nominated ensemble drama The Slap. After relocating to England, she directed high profile mini-series Apple Tree Yard, based on the Louise Doughty bestseller about a married woman who has an affair.   

I love directing television and I feel that we’ve been very privileged over the last few years to see a big renaissance in the way that television is made. Television allows you the freedom to explore character development and story structure in greater depth over a longer period of time. Jessica Hobbs on website Blogafi, May 2012

Apple Tree Yard

2017, Director - Television

River

2015, Director - Television

Broadchurch

2014, Director - Television

Devil’s Dust

2012, Director

The Slap

2011, Director - Television

Rake

2010 - 2018, Director, Supervising Producer - Television

Spirited

2010, Director - Television

My Place

2009 - 2011, Director - Television

Tangle

2009 - present, Director - Television

Curtin

2007, Director - Television

Answered by Fire

2006, Director - Television

Fireflies

2004, Director

Love My Way

2004 - 2005, Director - Television

So Close to Home

2003, Director - Film

McLeod's Daughters

1998, Director - Television

All Saints

2005 - 2008, Director - Television

City Life

1996 - 1998, Director - Television

City Life follows a tight-knit group of apartment-dwelling twenty-somethings (lawyers, bartenders, drug dealers, art dealers, et al) on the emotional merry-go-round of urban living. Created by James Griffin, the television series was an effort to create popular drama relevant to contemporary Auckland city life and to appeal to a Gen X demographic – to inject Melrose Place into Mt Eden. A bevy of Kiwi acting talent drink, dramatise and prevaricate to a soundtrack of contemporary NZ pop.

Overnight

1995, Director - Television

In this award-winning Montana Sunday Theatre drama, Cliff Curtis plays Jim, a grungy rocker who can’t (and doesn’t want to) commit to a straight life with his misguidedly hopeful girlfriend Sina (Sarah Smuts-Kennedy). A night of emotional turmoil in the city ensues as Sina does her best to avoid the reality of her situation (as well as home invasion and Jim’s dodgy manager). Fiona Samuel's darkly funny script and top-notch casting underpin this look at the not-so-delicate nature of relationships amongst a group of Generation X Aucklanders.

Peach

1995, Associate Producer - Short Film

Luscious fruit, truckies, and Lucy Lawless feature in this Christine Parker short. Sal (Tania Simon) is gifted a peach and meets a saucy tow truck driver (Lawless) en route home to her toddler, and domestics with boyfriend Mog (Joel Tobeck). Mog’s truckie mates arrive for beers, including the nameless driver, whose presence (and peach-eating advice) stirs up desire. “Watch it rot, or taste it when it’s ripe.” A roster of leading NZ film talent worked with Parker on the film, and Lawless' turn hints at the cross-sexual appeal of her breakthrough role on Xena - Warrior Princess.

Heartbreak High

1998 - 1999, Director - Television

It's in the Genes Girls

1993, Producer - Television

In this documentary for TV One, director Aileen O'Sullivan turns the camera on three sets of mother/daughter artists, and asks whether art is in the genes. Interviewing each other about their creative lives are actor Kate Harcourt and actor/acting teacher Miranda Harcourt; weaver Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and weaver/painter Veranoa Hetet (née Hauwaho); and painter Jacqueline Fahey and performer/sculptor Augusta McDonald. Frank yet loving discussions abound, like when Hetet tells her mother "sometimes you come up with silly things".

Sure to Rise

1993, First Assistant Director - Short Film

While beachcombing, April (Hester Joyce) discovers an injured man and claims him as her own. She must keep him a secret, and alive, in a makeshift community called Paradise. But Paradise is under threat and the other residents are slowly moving on. Fiercely protective of the broken man in her bed, April cannot leave, nor can she stay. For April there is nowhere to go but up. Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Sure To Rise competed for the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Producer Owen Hughes writes here about where the film's rise led its director.

True Life Stories

1993 - 1994, 1st Assistant Director - Television

The Summer the Queen Came

1992, First Assistant Director - Television

Miles (Joel Tobeck) is 16. His family are falling apart and he's got a crush on his cousin. An imminent royal visit offends his mother's political sensibilities and his father is spending time with a female neighbour. Christmas is coming and the twins have murder on their minds. Director Niki (Whale Rider) Caro's survey of the everyday eccentricities of family was nominated for best TV drama scipt and director at the 1994 NZ Film and TV Awards. The film was one of three half-hour dramas commissioned by TVNZ under the series title Another Country. Producer Owen Hughes writes about it here.

Stealing Home

1991, Writer, Producer, Director - Short Film

The End of the Golden Weather

1991, First Assistant Director - Film

Set over a Christmas beach holiday in 1935, The End of the Golden Weather chronicles the friendship between a teenage boy and the wild-limbed Firpo, dreamer and social outcast. Writer/director Ian Mune spent more than 15 years "massaging" Bruce Mason's classic solo play into a movie, before assembling a dream team to bring it to the screen. The finished film captures the world view of a boy for whom fantasy, hope and disappointment intermingle. Among an impressive awards haul, 12-year-old star Stephen Fulford was recognised at America's Youth in Film Awards.   

An Angel at My Table

1990, Second Assistant Director - Film

Directed by Jane Campion, An Angel at My Table is adapted from author Janet Frame's renowned three-part autobiography. It threads together a series of images and scenes to evoke Frame's dramatic life story. Originally made as a TV drama, the much-acclaimed dramatisation won cinema release in 35 countries; it established Campion as a global director, launched actor Kerry Fox, and introduced new audiences to the "mirror city" of Frame's writing. This excerpt follows Frame's life-saving escape from Seacliff Asylum, to first publishing success at Frank Sargeson’s bach.

Ruby and Rata

1990, Second Assistant Director - Film

Originally conceived as a TV series, Gaylene Preston's comedy was a local hit, uplifting recession-era audiences with its tale of resourceful misfits. Ruby (Yvonne Lawley), an 83-year-old trying to dodge a retirement home, rents a room to Rata (Vanessa Rare in her screen debut) — a solo mum with sidelines in music and benefit fraud. Rata's son is into shoplifting, while Simon Barnett plays a hapless yuppie wannabe. Marginalised by the deregulated economy of the 80s and living on their wits, they may just find common cause despite themselves, in this tale from writer Graeme Tetley.

Brotherhood of the Rose

1989, Third Assistant Director - Television

Scarlet Fever

1988, Production Manager - Short Film