Starring one cow and two elderly guitarists, Michael Bennett's first short film Cow was invited to screen at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Since then he has written and/or directed a wide range of projects, from children's television (Kaitangata Twitch) to award-winning shows about Māori architecture (Whare Māori). His feature film work includes ensemble feature Matariki, and the script for Cliff Curtis comedy Jubilee.
Dave Smith was a law student at Victoria University when he was "accosted" by fellow student Roger Hall to join him onstage. Later the pair acted in university revue One in Five. The popular show, which also starred John Clarke, was released on vinyl. Smith's first television gig was In View of the Circumstances (1969), New Zealand's first comedy sketch show. He went on to write for Edwards on Saturday and Public Eye. Controversy ensued on the former when ex Prime Minister Jack Marshall sued the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, after Smith wrote a sketch calling Keith Holyoake's dog Sir Jack.
Folk musician Marcus Turner spent three years as one of a trio of presenters on kids show Spot On, where he became known for his musical performances and comic sketches. After leaving the show in 1984 he worked as a director, including on documentaries for NHNZ and another kids classic, Play School. He also spent time in the UK as a fulltime folk musician. Turner passed away in early February 2016.
Paul Sutorius is an editor who is as comfortable cutting together scenes for drama, children's adventure, a horror movie or a documentary. Sutorius has worked extensively with director Gaylene Preston, and won awards for his editing on Preston's second feature Ruby and Rata and her Te Papa making-of-museum doco, Getting to Our Place.
Don Selwyn, ONZM, was an actor, casting director and mentor to a host of talented Māori who went on to work in film and television. Selwyn’s long acting resume includes 1970s historical epic The Governor and police show Mortimer’s Patch. He also directed The Māori Merchant of Venice, the first feature film in te reo Māori.
Elizabeth Mitchell made her name as creator and producer of animated hit bro'Town, which screened for five seasons and won multiple awards. Since then she has produced short films and directed documentaries, and is currently developing a feature based on Oscar Kightley's award-winning short Tom's Dairy.
Danny Mulheron has approached comedy from almost every angle: as a writer, director, inside a hippo suit, and as co-creator of the politically-incorrect Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby. But laughter is only half the story. Mulheron has also acted in a run of productions, presented car series AA Torque Show, and directed everything from documentaries (The Third Richard) to several TV dramas about iconic Kiwis.
Jim Hopkins's screen career has ranged from science reporting to shed anthropology. The long-time public speaker has been an NZ Herald columnist, talkback radio host, “thoroughly boring” Waitaki district councillor, and author (Blokes in Sheds). Though his television encounters have often been quirky or comedic, Hopkins has also done time as a straight reporter (80s science show Fast Forward).
Ian Watkin's long acting career saw him playing mad doctors, priests, axe-wielding stepfathers, and American presidents. Part of the legendary Blerta troupe which toured Australasia in the 1970s, Watkin went on to appearances in everything from Beyond Reasonable Doubt and an iconic Crunchie bar commercial, to presenting Miss Universe New Zealand. He passed away in May 2016.
Eight years after debuting on TV sketch show Funny Business, Lucy Lawless won international fame for her starring role on Xena: Warrior Princess. The series won her a devoted fan following, and invitations to guest-star on everything from The Simpsons to Bro' Town. Since the end of Xena's six season run, Lawless has mainly acted for American television, including a role as bad girl Lucretia in locally-shot series Spartacus.