Born in the British town of Redditch — once the source of most of the needles on the planet — Simon Coldrick grew up in varied locales from the Midlands to West Sussex, and played a fair amount of rugby along the way. He would later spend a decade working in television in London, before relocating to New Zealand.
At high school Coldrick studied performing arts, only to be told at the end of two years study that the BBC was about as easy to infiltrate as the Death Star. That was all the encouragement he needed.
After a short stint as a cameraman, Coldrick managed to score a job at a post-production house in London, where he began learning about cutting and polishing television shows. He went on to stack up a long line of credits as an online editor — the person whose job it is to follow another editor’s lead, and cut together the shots in a TV programme.
Among the series he assembled were episodes of BBC science show Tomorrow’s World, award-winning oil history The Prize (for PBS), Jeremy Clarkson series Speed and a co-production about the Medicis. His first stint as lead editor was an item for BBC arts slot The Late Show, in the mid 90s.
After returning from his first holiday in New Zealand, Coldrick was plunged directly into another job — arriving jet-lagged back in London, he flew directly to East Berlin after BAFTA-winner Christopher Swann invited him to work on an ambitious project involving the Berlin Philharmonic. Once the taxi driver managed to locate the hotel, that is.
In the mid 90s Coldrick returned to New Zealand, this time to spend 18 months working on commercials. By now Coldrick had met partner Paula McTaggart, a Kiwi working in A and R at Phonogram in London. In 2005 the couple relocated down under with their daughter, and set up post-production company The Bigger Picture in Auckland.
Coldrick got busy editing for television, and soon won a Qantas award for SAS series First Among Equals. His contributions to that and Reluctant Hero, a doco about SAS soldier Willie Apiata, were strong enough to win him a co-writing credit. Since then many of Coldrick’s editing projects have combined documentary and drama in one package — including Olympic running telemovie The Golden Hour, which was nominated for an International Emmy, and McTaggart’s award-winning Strongman - The Tragedy, partly inspired by her father, who was a miner.
Coldrick won Moa and Documentary Edge Festival awards for his work on Erebus: Operation Overdue. The doco centres on the Antarctic recovery team who dealt with the aftermath of Flight 901.
The same year Coldrick began work on the “hugely demanding” The Day that Changed My Life, the project he feels has challenged him most to date. Chris Dudman’s one-off documentary began from a series of “incredibly cathartic” interviews with survivors of the quakes in Christchurch, recorded soon after the event. The project reminded Coldrick that filmmakers have the responsibility “to tell people’s stories with as much integrity as possible, and never forget that the subject has to live with the consequences, way after it has been seen”.
The Day that Changed My Life went on to win three awards at the Documentary Edge festival in 2015 — including best NZ editor, and best local documentary.
As for Coldrick, he went on to edit offbeat David Farrier documentary Tickled, which debuted at Utah's Sundance Film Festival in 2016. Praising the film's conspiracy thriller aspects, Variety described it as a "well-shot and tightly edited" cautionary tale. His work on this strange tale of competitive tickling won him the 2017 New Zealand Film Award for Best Documentary Editor.
In 2019, Codrick turned to sport of another kind with By the Balls, which he co-directed with his Erebus colleague Charlotte Purdy. The feature-length documentary looks back at the 1980s, when politics (especially apartheid in South Africa) divided the men in black in the period before the first World Cup. Although made for television, By the Balls premiered at the 2019 New Zealand International Film Festival.
Profile updated on 24 June 2020
The Bigger Picture website. Accessed 25 June 2019
Dennis Harvey, 'Film Review: 'Tickled'' Variety website. Loaded 24 January 2016. Accessed 21 June 2019
Strongman - The Tragedy website. Accessed 25 June 2019
The Day that Changed My Life press kit