Dorthe Scheffmann’s varied behind the scenes roles have helped ensure that many classic Kiwi movies managed to finish their shoots, without falling apart in the process. In 1996 she competed at the Cannes Film Festival with The Beach, the first short film she directed. Her first feature was released in 2018: ensemble drama Vermilion starring actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
Stephen Lovatt's acting career has taken him from Arcadia to Takapuna Beach, with stops in Shortland Street, Ramsay Street and ancient Rome. Award-nominated for his starring role in 2002 feature This is Not a Love Story, Lovatt's screen CV includes roles in Spartacus, Being Eve and a five-year-run in Australian export Neighbours. The Toi Whakaari grad is also an acclaimed theatre actor.
At high school Craig Parker was "the world's most uncoordinated kid". After discovering that taking drama would mean less time in PE, he picked acting. The decision launched a 30+ year career around the globe. His screen roles include Shortland Street, Mercy Peak, and TV movie Shackleton's Captain. Since winning a keen fan base for a bit part in Lord of the Rings, he has also acted in Spartacus and Reign.
Elam School of Fine Arts graduate Summer Agnew first made his mark with acclaimed documentary Minginui (2004), which he co-directed with fellow Elam graduate Adam Luxton. The film offered a moody portrait of a former mill town. The SPADA New Filmmaker of 2007 followed it with episodes of Let's Get Inventin' and New Artland — plus short film Patu Ihu, which played at festivals in Aotearoa and overseas. In 2016 Agnew and Luxton's 'speculative documentary' On an Unknown Beach was chosen to debut in the NZ International Film Festival. Agnew has also directed a run of music videos and commercials.
While still in his 20s Chris Thomson was given command of a number of landmark New Zealand TV dramas, including genre-hopping colonial tale The Killing of Kane and The Alpha Plan (1969), Aotearoa’s first dramatic TV series. After time working for the BBC, he moved to Australia and began a busy career as a director, including credits on high profile mini-series 1915 and Waterfront. Thomson died on 1 July 2015.
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh has helped create some of the most iconic images of New Zealand cinema: the girl with a mop of red hair, standing at the end of a country road in Angel at my Table; the piano on a deserted beach in The Piano, and the charged kitchen scenes of Once Were Warriors.
After working at the National Film Unit, the BBC and Canada's National Film Board, John Laing made his feature film debut as a director with Arthur Allan Thomas drama Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1980). Since then he has directed another six features, and many television shows and tele-movies. Laing has also produced for both Outrageous Fortune and Mercy Peak.
Music has been integral to Kevin Ballantyne’s life since the day he picked up a cornet at age five. The Aucklander has been composing music for 40 years for television, theatre, short films and commercials. Ballantyne wrote music for the iconic Heartland series. His first foray into writing music for the screen was 1977 natural history documentary Red Deer, which won an award at the American Film Festival.
Manu Bennett’s acting career has seen him battling Roman gladiators, teaching salsa on acclaimed movie Lantana, and creeping out both superheroes and the staff of Shortland Street.
Auckland-born but long based in the United Kingdom, Andrew McAlpine studied fine arts at Nottingham University, then began designing for a variety of stage projects. By the 1980s he had moved into music videos, and film. He has gone on to collaborations with directors Danny Boyle (The Beach) and Spike Lee (Clockers), and in 1993, Bafta glory with The Piano, the first of three films helmed by New Zealand directors. The others are Toa Fraser's shaggy dog tale Dean Spanley, and Rhys Darby romance Love Birds.