Richard Bluck began working as a cameraman at the Avalon Television Centre in the 1970s. Alongside a host of other projects, he has brought his skills as director of photography to features Black Sheep, What We Do in the Shadows, Second-Hand Wedding and many short films.
Producer Rachel Gardner studied at the London School of Economics, then worked as a journalist at the Financial Times. After returning downunder in 2002 she moved into producing, starting with award-winning documentary Colin McCahon: I Am. Her work on hit show The Lion Man would result in an invitation to become head of drama at company Great Southern Film and Television. Gardner has worked with partner Angela Littlejohn on a run of short films, plus features Apron Strings, Show of Hands and Slow West. In 2014 she joined See-Saw, the Anglo-Australian company behind Slow West and Lion.
Cinematographer Graeme Cowley created the moody imagery for classic movies Utu and Smash Palace. Elsewhere he played another vital role in the Kiwi film renaissance, by establishing camera equipment hire company Film Facilities, alongside the late Nigel Hutchinson. Cowley went on to produce black comedy Carry Me Back, and work on the restoration of Utu.
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.
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.
Robin Scholes is one of New Zealand’s most experienced and respected producers. Her credits range from feature films (Once Were Warriors, Mahana, Mr Pip) to iconic TV shows (Magic Kiwis) and documentaries (Colin McCahon: I Am). In 1997 she was made an OBE for services to the film and television industry.
Catherine Downes, MNZM, has won awards both for her stage directing, and her globetrotting one-woman shows about Katherine Mansfield. After launching theatre companies in Holland and the United Kingdom, she spent five years as artistic director of Christchurch's Court Theatre. On screen, she played one of the flatmates in early sitcom Buck House, and starred as a doctor in Epidemic. Time in Australia saw her win a Sammy Award for acclaimed Kings Cross drama Winter of Our Dreams. Later she acted in the original stage version of classic Kiwi play Joyful and Triumphant, and a 1993 television adaptation.
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.
Lamenting a lack of good roles for Asian women, Chinese Kiwi JJ Fong teamed up with fellow actors Ally Xue and Perlina Lau and director Roseanne Liang. The result was comical web series Flat3. Fong played aspiring actor Jessica, whose life is overly dictated by her libido. After three seasons, the quartet began on follow-up web series Friday Night Bites, and short film Sugar Hit (part of anthology series K’ Rd Stories). JJ Fong originally studied dance, which led her to musical theatre and acting. Her screen CV also includes web series ADK, TV's Go Girls and Shortland Street, and a memorably bitchy part on Step Dave.
National Film Unit cameraman John Hutchinson was well known for his films of royal tours and rugby. An early highlight of his 20 years behind the camera was filming the fire that destroyed Ballantyne’s store in Christchurch, but he quite literally reached new heights with his thrilling short film Jetobatics (1959).Image credit: Archives New Zealand, ref AAQT 6401 A39924