The multi-talented Jackie van Beek emerged from Wellington’s theatre scene in the 1990s. After directing a run of award-winning shorts, her first feature The Inland Road was invited to the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. She went on to co-direct, co-write and co-star in comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami. As an actor, van Beek is probably best known for playing a vampire groupie on What We Do in the Shadows.
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.
Elizabeth Mitchell made her name as creator and producer of animated sensation 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.
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.
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.
Although Ginette McDonald's career is most associated with the gormless, vowel-mangling girl-from-the-suburbs: Lynn of Tawa, she is a woman of many parts. Alongside an extensive acting and presenting career, her work as producer and director spans three decades, and includes Shark in the Park, Peppermint Twist, and kidult series The Fire-Raiser.
Eight years after her TV debut on sketch show Funny Business, Lucy Lawless won global fame as the star of 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 acted in New Zealand and the United States, including as bad girl Lucretia in locally-shot series Spartacus.