In a turbulent media landscape, director/producer Kay Ellmers feels that the long-form documentary is still powerful. Her screen CV includes acclaimed doco He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan, and popular series like Marae Kai Masters and Mīharo. Ellmers is Managing Director of Tūmanako Productions, and a consultant on documentary and factual programming for Māori Television.
Keith Hill's creative energies spread further than most. The award-winning author and founder of Rattle Records and spiritually-based company Attar Books has contributed to films variously as a cameraman, editor and producer. His CV as a director also ranges widely: from experimental work to drama, to documentary (2012 New Zealand International Film Festival title Persuading the Baby to Float). Hill made his feature debut in 2002, with acclaimed romance This is Not a Love Story. Hill's screenplay won an award at United States festival Dances with Films, and was nominated at the 2003 New Zealand Film Awards.
Christchurch-raised Anna Cottrell is a prolific documentary maker, with a keen interest in the stories that people tell. Her work ranges widely, from documentaries on immigrants (An Immigrant Nation) and family (Other People's Children), to five seasons of the bite-sized Great War Stories. Cottrell launched her company AC Productions in 2001.
Former magazine editor and continuity person Christine Parker made her name as a writer/director with three distinctive short films: One Man's Meat, in which Donogh Rees commits murder; Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up another Obelisk, in which Rima Te Wiata has destructive supernatural powers; and bi-sexual romance Peach. Parker made her feature debut in 1999 with romantic drama Channelling Baby, starring Danielle Cormack and Kevin Smith.
Libby Hakaraia has an overflowing kete of credits, covering subjects from Fat Freddy’s Drop to Apirana Ngata, Anzac Day to Anne Salmond. The ex-radio journalist had a screen apprenticeship at Kiwa Productions, where she made many docos on Māori themes. Based in Otaki, she now produces shows with partner Tainui Stephens under the Blue Bach banner, including the popular Māori Television reboot of It’s in the Bag.
Actor Joel Tobeck acted in a number of early titles directed by Niki Caro, including Cannes-nominated short film Sure To Rise (1994) and Caro's first feature Memory and Desire. In 1997 Tobeck won a NZ Film and TV award for Topless Women Talk About Their Lives, playing wannabe partner to Danielle Cormack's character. He re-teamed with Cormack for offbeat drama Channelling Baby, and played the bad guy in both the first Lawless telemovie (winning him another acting award) and This is Not My Life. Tobeck has also acted on American television hit Sons of Anarchy and Australian series The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
Two years after graduating in 2007 from acting studies at Unitec, Sophie Henderson joined the ensemble on Outrageous Fortune. She played Bailey, the hard-nosed lawyer girlfriend of both West twins. In 2013 her acclaimed debut feature Fantail won a place in the NZ International Film Festival. Henderson wrote and starred, playing “a girl called Tania who thinks she’s Māori”. In 2017 she co-starred in drama Human Traces — this time as a scientist who encounters a stranger, while working with her husband on an isolated island. In 2019 Henderson and her partner Curtis Vowell began making their second feature Baby, Done.
Director and photographer Kerry Brown's extended résumé of images began when he was a teenage skateboarder, snapping shots of skater culture. Having directed iconic music videos for many legendary Kiwi bands, including Crowded House (Four Seasons in One Day) and The Exponents (Why Does Love Do This To Me?), he now works as a stills photographer on movie sets across the globe.
From the acclaimed Illustrious Energy to Under the Mountain, Chris Hampson has been working as a producer and executive producer for more than 20 years. In 2000 he became a partner in production company ScreenWorks, where he produced Street Legal and tele-movie Skin and Bone.
Tim Balme burst onto the big screen as the hapless young man fighting off zombies with lawnmowers, in Peter Jackson's Braindead. He went on to roles on TV's Mercy Peak, Shortland Street and Maddigan's Quest, alongside gigs as a writer (Outrageous Fortune) and time as Head of Development for South Pacific Pictures.