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Profile image for Simon Marler

Simon Marler

Director, Producer

Simon Marler has cast films, taught film, and directed a number of them as well.

One of his first paid films jobs was in 1982, when he worked as a runner on period epic Savage Islands. He was a clapper loader on horror romp Death Warmed Up and German helicopter series Skycrane, then worked behind the scenes on other features and TV programmes. 

For five years from 1987, Marler concentrated on theatre. He was the director of the Art at Work theatre group, whose touring plays included Dean Parker's The Feds. He also worked as a stage manager at Auckland's Mercury Theatre, and wrote and directed 1988 play Thirst For Love, which utilised a 36-screen rotating wall and a cherry picker. 

In the 90s Marler moved into casting, including co-casting two of the more actor-heavy TV  productions that decade: acclaimed Sonja Davies bio-pic Bread & Roses, and political mini-series Fallout. For the latter show Marler's long list of casting calls included finding actors to portray Helen Clark and Richard Prebble. From 1997 until 2000 he was managing director of Auckland company Central Studios and Central Casting.

His work in short film dates back to the early 80s, though it increasingly became a focus in the late 90s. Nostalgia Deja Vu (1980), one of Marler's earliest shorts, is based on footage of a wooden ferry that used to cross Auckland harbour. In the same period he worked with co-director Garth Maxwell (Jack Be Nimble) on Come With Us, an experimental short based around two performers (Marler and Maxwell) moving to rhythms. Come With Us later screened on compilation show Kiwi Shorts.

Marler's 1998 short Point Your Toes, Cushla! played at many international festivals, and won general release in Kiwi cinemas. The film follows a young dancer competing at a ballet competition, observed by her ambitious mother (Alison Wall). Point Your Toes, Cushla! was awarded a diploma at a short film and documentary festival in Saint Petersburg (Russia).

Marler followed Cushla by writing and directing Mrs W Grant, the tale of an elderly woman with a score to settle. Like Cushla, Grant was invited to play at the yearly round of New Zealand International Film Festivals, as well as two festivals in Switzerland.

In 2007 he directed and co-produced documentary Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere. Made for Māori Television, the feature-length doco examines the impact of humans on a small Northland lake, and asks whether the lake's trustees can breathe life back into its waters. The film won the Best of the Festival award at the 2008 Wairoa Māori and Indigenous Film Festival, and was later invited to festivals in Santa Fe and Wisconsin.

Directing aside, Marler has also produced a host of short films for others, including Iranian immigrant tale Lemon Tree (directed by Rain Jung), and the first two shorts by Christmas writer/director Gregory King (camcorder tale Pop, and 2000's Teach You A Lesson).

Marler was executive director of Script to Screen from September 2007 until January 2011. Script to Screen is an independent trust which aims to develop the craft and culture of storytelling for the screen.

Currently living in Japan, he has also directed music videos, lectured for the screen course at Unitec in Auckland, and taught English as a foreign language in Switzerland.

Sources include
Simon Marler
Script to Screen website. Accessed 3 May 2009