Ric Pellizzeri is an award-winning TV director and producer. He has worked extensively both in his native Australia and New Zealand, having partnered with company Screentime on Underbelly NZ and telefilms Siege, How to Murder Your Wife, The Monster of Mangatiti and Rainbow Warrior drama Bombshell. His Aussie credits include hit police drama Blue Heelers and directing the pilot episode of Home and Away.
Stelios Yiakmis got his screen break as heartthrob doctor Johnny Marinovich on Shortland Street, a role he played for five years. The part Greek, part Kiwi actor has gone on to act on both sides of the Tasman, including hit show McLeod's Daughters, acclaimed 2006 movie Jindabyne, and Kiwi crime drama The Blue Rose.
Composer Marc Chesterman has brought his experience of playing drums in bands and sound designing for the theatre, to the screen. Chesterman has worked on a run of films with director Florian Habicht, including composing the soundtrack for Woodenhead and Spookers. He has composed music for Zia Mandviwalla short Eating Sausage, and was sound designer for Rita Angus documentary Lovely Rita.
New Zealand-born Erroll Shand majored in acting at the University of Southern Queensland, then returned home in the early 2000s after early roles on Australian television. Shand has gone on to carve out a memorable gallery of bad guys — from drug kingpin Terry Clark in Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud and the dodgy boyfriend in witness protection tale Safe House, to terrifying gangleader ‘Chocka’ Fahey in cop drama Harry. The roles haven't all been criminal. In movie The Z-Nail Gang he was a surfer and family man, while 2017 series Dear Murderer saw him playing a crown prosecutor.
Having grown up in a musical family, Esther Stephens found it hard to decide between music or acting. So she did both. After training in performing and screen arts, she won an ongoing role as fashionista Olivia Duff in Go Girls. Since then, Stephens has had major parts in WWI drama When We Go to War and Westside. On stage, she won acclaim as suffragette Kate Sheppard in musical That Bloody Woman.
Since cutting his teeth on 1978 soap Radio Waves, Mike Smith has built one of the longest directing CVs in local television, winning awards en route for both drama and comedy. In 2005 he produced the debut season of Outrageous Fortune, and played a hand in its casting. He has also created or helped create shows Heroes, hit comedy Willy Nilly, The Lost Children and campground comedy Sunny Skies.
Dan Musgrave donned 70s style threads to star as charismatic ‘Mr Asia’ Marty Johnstone in Land of the Long Green Cloud, NZ’s contribution to the Underbelly franchise. The Blenheim-raised graduate of Toi Whakaari has co-written a series of theatre comedies to complement his acting career — which includes playing criminal Lefty Munroe in Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside.
Beginning as an actor, writer and director in local theatre during the 70s, John Banas increasingly focused on dramatic writing for television from the 80s on. After relocating to Australia, he established himself as a prolific TV screenwriter with a string of iconic shows, including Blue Heelers and City Homicide. His New Zealand scripts include award-winning telemovies Siege and How to Murder Your Wife.
Art department veteran Dan Hennah worked on a range of screen projects before becoming an art director and set decorator on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Five times Oscar nominated, he won an Academy Award for his work on The Return of the King. Since then Hennah has graduated to production designing on a number of features, including taking on the job for Peter Jackson's three-parter of The Hobbit.
In the course of a 32-year career, Rod Cornelius experienced seismic changes within New Zealand’s television industry firsthand. From his first job with the NZ Broadcasting Corporation through the turbulent remakings of state television in the late 80s and 90s, Cornelius held several key management roles — including TVNZ Controller of Programming and Managing Director of Avalon Studios.