Ken Duncum, who heads the scriptwriting programme at Victoria University, has written comedy (Skitz, Willy Nilly), detective shows (Duggan) and meta dramas about television itself (Cover Story). His extensive theatrical CV is laced with plays in which music plays a major part — including the acclaimed Waterloo Sunset, and hit show Blue Sky Boys.
Actor Marton Csokas came to fame in the early 90s, playing the bumbling Dr Dodds in Shortland Street. Since then he has appeared in interracial romance Broken English and coming of age story Rain, before starting a run of international roles — often as the villain — in everything from xXx to The Bourne Supremacy.
Australian-raised Melanie Rodriga (née Read) moved to New Zealand in 1977, and worked as an editor. After adapting Keri Hulme story Hooks and Feelers, she wrote and directed feminist thriller Trial Run in 1983. In 1988 Rodriga was a best director finalist for pioneering TV drama The Marching Girls. Rodriga now lectures in film at Perth’s Murdoch University and continues to make and develop films.
Stephen Downes had never shot a film before meeting director Robert Sarkies in an Otago University cafe; he wound up framing a trio of Sarkies’ short films, plus his breakout feature Scarfies. With a zoology degree under his belt, Downes has also forged a prolific career as an international wildlife filmmaker, from capturing kaka parrots in his lens to "chasing wild ass" in India. He is co-founder of 5 to 9 productions.
Gary Scott began his television career as an assignment editor on TV3's news desk, before joining Ninox Films as a writer and researcher. He directed documentaries then joined Wellington company Gibson Group in 2001, where he has produced or executive produced a slew of factual programmes and series, including Kiwis at War, Here to Stay and NZ Detectives.
Dunedin-born Susan Brady began her screen career running across Chinatown rooftops for TV's Gold, playing an Irish sheep-rustler. The role "was a hoot". Since then she has been an Amazonian Mum on Hercules, the ditsy sister on Melody Rules, and guested as a rebellious daughter on Marlin Bay. Aside from playing her share of American mothers, Brady has brought her voice skills to Power Rangers and the Milky Bar Kid.
Brooke Williams began taking acting lessons at the age of four. At 17 she acted for director Colin McColl in The Cherry Orchard. Since then the 2006 Toi Whakaari graduate has won awards after starring in Romeo and Juliet, and contributed a trio of memorable roles on television: as Van's Russian bride on Outrageous Fortune, depressed Norse goddess Eva on The Almighty Johnsons, and icy PA Lana Jacobs on Shortland Street.
John McKay is a veteran sound editor, sound designer, and mixer. He abandoned an early focus on directing to build a diverse, respected career in post-production. His credits include significant contributions to iconic films The Quiet Earth, Footrot Flats, Kitchen Sink, and Lord of the Rings. McKay is notable for an approach which combines creativity with a high level of technical craft and organisational rigour.
Paul Horan co-founded the NZ Comedy Festival and The Classic Comedy Bar, kickstarting a vital Auckland comedy scene — and his own successful trans-Tasman TV career. His credits include The Topp Twins, Super City, and Australia's Rove Live. After helping develop prime time formats like The Project, his company Slightly Uncomfortable Productions has specialised in hybrid news comedy shows.
Brit-born Suzanne Paul first made a splash on Kiwi television screens in the 80s, thanks to her infomercials. Hit TV show Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? saw her surprising ordinary New Zealanders with a long run of celebrity guests. She paired up with Anthony Ray Parker again for TV's Garage Sale and Second Honeymoon, then went on to win the third season of Dancing with the Stars — despite breaking a rib in the final.