After graduating from Auckland's Unitec School of Performing Acts in 1999, Leighton Cardno soon found himself balancing two television roles at once. On Shortland Street he was dominating trauma doctor Adam Heywood, while teen hit Being Eve saw him playing lazy brother to Eve. Cardno went on to spend time in Canada (where he appeared on Canadian coroner drama Da Vinci's Inquest), played a journalist on Go Girls, and starred in soft drink-fuelled short film Jet Black. In 2014 he was nominated for a Moa award for his role in offbeat movie Jake, as the man who takes over another man's identity.
Detroit-raised Doug Dillaman likes moving pictures so much that when not cutting images himself, he's often writing about film. In 2004 Dillaman headed to NZ to study editing, then began cutting for local television, including Let's Get Inventin' and Maddigan’s Quest. In 2008 he joined a filmmaking collective who met each Sunday. Dillaman worked with many of them on his directorial debut: identity-switching movie Jake.
Whai Ngata worked in Māori broadcasting at Television New Zealand for 25 years, a period when the quantity of Māori broadcasting underwent a major expansion. Starting as a reporter, he rose to become TVNZ's general manager of Māori Programming, a post he held from 1994 until retiring in 2008. Ngata was named an Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit in 2007. He passed away on 3 April 2016.
Miriama Smith began acting on screen as a teen. Over a dozen roles and a decade later, she joined the cast for three seasons of TV series Mercy Peak. She went on to star as feisty corporate boss Brady Truebridge in Filthy Rich. The versatile Smith has done screen time as a gang leader (The Tribe), mother (Stolen, Kaitangata Twitch), competitive dancer (Dancing with the Stars) and presenter (Finding Aroha).
Charlotte Purdy’s CV ranges from reality TV to Antarctic disaster. After a television OE in the United Kingdom, she helmed documentaries and factual TV back home. Under her Rogue Productions banner she created reality format The Big Experiment, and made Reel Late with Kate. After a decade producing current affairs, she co-directed docudrama Erebus: Operation Overdue and rugby doco By the Balls.
Known for his many live tours as a poet, debater and speaker, Kiwi legend Gary McCormick has made a host of appearances on New Zealand television. His work on the talk show McCormick and long-running series Heartland helped make him television's most popular presenter in a 1999 newspaper poll.
Cinematographer Waka Attewell has been shooting images of New Zealand for over 30 years. He began his career at John O' Shea's Pacific Films and later established his own production company Valhalla Films, where he has filmed and directed a run of commercials, films and documentaries.
Actor Scott Wills made his name as one of the boys in 2001 pool caper Stickmen, which won him the best actor award that year at the New Zealand Film Awards. Since then he has appeared in police show Interrogation and won a Qantas award for playing the stay at home son in Sima Urale's Apron Strings.
In her 10 year tenure as Māori Affairs correspondent for One News, Tini Molyneux fronted some of the biggest news stories in New Zealand, let alone Māoridom — including the Foreshore and Seabed hikoi, the birth of the Māori Party and the 2007 Urerewa police raids. She began her 30 year television career as a newsreader for Te Karere, and went on to present and report stories for Waka Huia and Marae.
Should Clive Sowry ever choose to enter Mastermind, his knowledge of the National Film Unit will give his competitors a definite run for their money. Sowry worked at the government filmmaking organisation for 14 years, including nine as the NFU's archivist. He went on to undertake a programme that saved 100s of local films, and has written often about filmmaking in New Zealand — including for NZ On Screen.