Working with his brother Phill, Jeff Simmonds has created a run of quirky ‘documation’ films, which retell real-life stories using traditional 2D-style animation. The films from the SPADA 2006 New Filmmaker of the Year (shared with Phill) include family history tale A Very Nice Honeymoon and disintegrating band chronicle The Paselode Story.
Nelson-born Gus Roxburgh, who works in Los Angeles for the media arm of Red Bull, has carved a career by combining his love of the outdoors and his passion for filmmaking. As comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind it, Roxburgh has made films in some of the world’s most dangerous places — from New Zealand’s Southern Alps to the streets of South Los Angeles.
Alongside his brother Jeff, Phill Simmonds has created a run of quirky short films, which utilise traditional animation to retell real-life stories. The films from the SPADA 2006 New Filmmaker of the Year (shared with Jeff) include family history tale A Very Nice Honeymoon and bickering band chronicle The Paselode Story. His latest project is an animated feature film based on Parihaka.
Costa Botes has had a long independent career as a director of drama (Stalin’s Sickle, Saving Grace ), a run of feature-length documentaries (Angie, Candyman, The Last Dogs of Winter) and at least one film that is very difficult to classify (Forgotten Silver). Botes also spent many years as a film critic, with a reputation for an acerbic wit.
Helping friend Niki Caro on her film Whale Rider prompted Māori artist Tim Worrall to focus his energies into the screen industry. Worrall returned to university to study scriptwriting in Wellington, after giving feedback on the script for Caro's hit movie. Since finishing his Master of Arts in 2007, Worrall has gone on to write and direct award-winning short Tits on a Bull, direct on comedy show Only in Aotearoa and write for teen drama This is Piki. He has also written and co-directed two Loading Doc short documentaries: The Road to Whakarae and Kōtuku Rerenga Rua. His 2017 short film Meke starred Temuera Morrison.
Veteran actor Roy Billing has acted in so many films, TV shows and plays, his CV runs to more than 10 pages. Often cast as the straight-talking everyman, Billing has also provided award-winning screen portrayals of rugby-playing priests (Old Scores), drug barons (Underbelly), small-town mayors (The Dish) and avuncular judges (Rake).
Peter Jackson has gone from being a shy, unknown fanboy making pastiche versions of his favourite fantasy movies, to a renowned master of his craft; from Pukerua Bay to Wellywood: today he has few peers in the realm of large scale filmmaking.
Producer Trevor Haysom has worked on projects ranging from ballroom dancing to bro'Town; a four decade screen career has seen Haysom notably produce for emerging filmmakers, including Gregor Nicholas (Rushes, Hey Paris) and the late Brad McGann (In My Father's Den, Possum). Haysom formed company T.H.E Film in 1991, and took away the inaugural SPADA Independent Producer of the Year Award in 2004.
Samoan Kiwi Ramona Papali'i was one of the first Pasifika women to appear regularly on Kiwi television. In the late 1970s she joined the team on weekly show Pacific Viewpoint — "they wanted someone who had a degree, could speak fluent Samoan and could drive. I had none of these things but I bull******d my way through." Thanks to her gumption and talent, by 1980 she was presenting See Here, a short lunchtime programme aimed at Māori and Pacific Islanders. Papali'i stayed on for the show's entire six year run. In 1994 she presented documentary series Tagata Tangata, about the people of Polynesia.
Guy Capper has brought his double-barrelled skills as animator and comic to short films, award-winning commercials (the Hedgehog Speed Safety campaign) and the stage. Robert and Sheepy — the memorable animated creations of Capper and Jemaine Clement — were seen in short film series The Pen, and Radiradirah. Capper has also featured in a series of multi-media shows which mix stand-up comedy with claymation characters.