Sam Peacocke won attention for his work on a slate of distinctive music videos, for everyone from King Kapisi (Lollipop) to The Mint Chicks (Vodafone award-winner Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!). Peacocke's dramatic debut — short film Manurewa — reimagines events surrounding a high profile 2008 liquor store shooting. At the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, it won the Crystal Bear for best short film in its section. Peacocke has also won awards for a number of his commercials — and for 2012's Beautiful Machine, a feature-length documentary on Kiwi rock band Shihad.

Among the hundreds of short film scripts I had read, this one really stood out. It was different and bold, going into uncharted territory. To use an old cliché, it had a voice. Producer Kristian Eek on Sam Peacocke's script for Manurewa, Onfilm, February 2010

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Jean

2016, Drone Cinematographer - Television

In the 1930s Kiwi-born pilot Jean Batten set off on a series of legendary solo flights. Jean is the tale of a charismatic, determined woman, the mother who stayed close, and the man curious to unravel the person behind the legend. At the 2017 NZ Television Awards, the ambitious telemovie made a clean sweep, including awards for Donna Malane and Paula Boock's script, director Rob Sarkies, lead actor Kate Elliott, and the design team. In the excerpt — which hints at the story's globetrotting sweep — Jean fights heat and storms while attempting to fly from England to Australia. 

Nothing to Lose

2012, Director - Music video

This brooding collaboration with Ladi6 from Shihad frontman Jon Toogood's other project The Adults, is yet another departure from his hard rocking day job (although guitarist Shayne Carter briefly raises the temperature). Director Sam Peacocke's split screen video was shot at legendary Auckland studio The Lab (where The Adults recorded their debut album). Ladi6 anchors one side with a typically soulful performance while Toogood (uncharacteristically playing bass), Carter, drummer Gary Sullivan and engineer Nick Roughan are all serious intent beside her.

Shihad - Beautiful Machine

2012, Director - Film

This theatrically released documentary charts 23 years of highs and lows for one of NZ's most enduring rock bands — complete with personal dramas, early tragedy, adoring local audiences, album sales of 250,000, attempts to crack the United States, and that agonising name change. Seeking an audience beyond the faithful, award-winning director Sam Peacocke expanded the story's scope to feature the band's family and friends as much as the music. NZ Herald entertainment writer Scott Kara called the result "a cracker", and "a must-see for fans of the band".  

Manurewa

2010, Director, Writer - Short Film

Music video director Sam Peacocke's confronting first short film reimagines the events that took place around the robbery of a Manurewa liquor store in 2008, in which owner Navtej Singh was tragically murdered. The film takes a kaleidoscopic perspective on colliding South Auckland lives, notably in an — almost unbearably — tense hold-up scene. Largely shot with non-actors, the production was self-funded. The result was selected for the Melbourne and Berlin Film Festivals; at Berlin it won the Crystal Bear for best short in the Generation 14plus youth section.

Sleepeater

2010, Director - Music video

I Can't Stop Being Foolish

2009, Director, Editor - Music video

Do robots dream of mechanical owls? A young woman in distress wakes up to find she has a 'robot problem' in her apartment. As the wee ‘bots (resembling animated cuisenaire rods) cause mayhem, she calls for help on her rat-phone. Roused from the Winter Gardens, an exterminator and his giant caged owl come to the rescue. The promo was one of several shot for The Mint Chicks by Crystal Bear-winning short film director Sam Peacocke (Manurewa). To create the miniature robots, life-size puppets were shot in front of a green screen, then composited into the action.

Tired From Sleeping

2008, Director - Music video

Director Sam Peacocke’s tale of love and motor-racing was the first official music video to be made for The Checks. Set in the 1960s, it contrasts a young Japanese driver at the track with his apprehensive girlfriend who waits forlornly at home. Tapping into his own love of motor-sport and memories of being at a racetrack as a child, Peacocke made this stylish, streamlined clip for a budget of $30,000 at Hobsonville Air Base near Auckland; the meticulous attention to period detail includes authentic Lotus racing cars.

Beautiful Machine

2008, Director, Editor - Music video

The title track of Shihad’s seventh studio album sees the band moving beyond the harder edged rock of much of their previous work and embracing new technologies (with a decidedly electro introduction) while lyrically questioning the degree to which humanity has lived up to its potential. Director Sam Peacocke places the band in the wilderness of a damp, fog filled, tussock marsh of blacks, greys and dark greens while a man (an apple short of Margritte’s ‘Son of Man’) and woman rise up and run towards each other: irresistibly drawn to human connection.

Lull

2006, Director - Music video

Shot near Anawhata Beach, west of Auckland, this clip from award-winning music video director Sam Peacocke (Manurewa, Shihad - Beautiful Machine) offers shades of classic Vincent Ward film Vigil, thanks to its images of moody rural landscapes, and kids watching bleak relationships go bad. Blindspott perform the track against foreboding macrocarpas which have a life of their own. The clip was judged Best Rock Video in the 2007 Vodafone Juice TV Awards.

Lollipop

2006, Director - Music video

A remixed version of a lighter song from hip-hopper King Kapisi’s third album Dominant Species, this down and dirty number gets a burlesque style treatment from director Sam Peacocke. Behind the Old West frontage of ‘King Kap’s Confectionary’ store (where the new flavour is coconut), a very dapper King Kapisi presides over a hallucinatory mix of candy, dancing girls, Donnie Darko-inspired rabbit suits — and a striking smoke effect, created from ink spreading on water. Lollipop was voted Best Hip Hop Video at the 2006 Juice TV Awards.

Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

2006, Director - Music video

This award-winner from the 2007 NZ Music Awards sees the Mint Chicks performing after dark, somewhere on the edge of suburbia, while a wolf (actually a siberian husky) sparks a journey through the streets — past people wrestling with poultry, and each other. Director Sam Peacocke (Manurewa, Shihad - Beautiful Machine) displays the same enigmatic approach taken with Mint Chicks clip Walking Off a Cliff Again. The band also took out NZ Music Awards for Best Group and Album. Real Groove magazine later rated this the best New Zealand single of the decade. 

Walking Off a Cliff Again

2006, Director, Editor - Music video

Another treasure from director Sam Peacocke — who also directed Vodafone Award-winning Mint Chicks video Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! — this promo channels the kind of obtuse storyline that Mint Chicks songs were known for. It opens on a tiny lego band ordering a comatose man in a rabbit hat to help them. Sulky teenagers, feuding couples and a high dive into a tin bathtub complete the outlandishly art-directed picture, before arriving at the clip's high-water mark — the bunny boils over.