Jane Campion is one of the most dynamic — and applauded — filmmakers to emerge from Australasia. Campion's CV includes Cannes-winning road trip Peel, An Angel at My Table, based on the life of writer Janet Frame, and award-winning mini-series Top of the Lake. With her twisted settler romance The Piano (1993), she became the first woman to take the top award at the Cannes Film Festival.
After time in print and television news, and nine years commanding the Wellington Film Festival, Shelton began his dream job — selling local films for the New Zealand Film Commission. During a 22 year run as the commission's first marketing director he handled sales for more than 60 feature films, including Goodbye Pork Pie, An Angel at My Table and Once Were Warriors.
Vincent Ward has won an international reputation as an original and visionary filmmaker. Vigil and The Navigator played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival (the first New Zealand features to do so). Docudrama Rain of the Children (2008) revisited people from his 1980 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone. Ward also directed Robin Williams afterlife drama What Dreams May Come.
Two of Andrew Bancroft’s early shorts won awards — the noirish Planet Man was the first NZ short to win Critic's Week at Cannes Film Festival. Aside from his own shorts and television work, Bancroft has also helped develop a successful slate of short films for others.
Niki Caro's near wordless Sure to Rise was nominated for best short film at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Four years later her debut feature Memory and Desire was invited to Cannes. Caro followed it with Whale Rider, winner of more than 27 awards, and still one of New Zealand's most successful films abroad. Since then Caro has directed everywhere from vineyards in France to mining towns in Minnesota.
Grant Lahood made his name with a trio of short films featuring speedy snails, troublesome mice and squabbling animal activists. After taking The Singing Trophy and Lemming Aid to success at the Cannes Film Festival, Lahood has gone on to direct documentaries, commercials and two feature films — one of which (Kombi Nation) features an all human cast.
Christine Jeffs first made her name as one of New Zealand's foremost commercial directors. After winning attention with her no dialogue short Stroke (1994), she made her feature film debut with coming of age tale Rain, which premiered at the 2001 Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. Jeffs went on to direct Sylvia, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow as poet Sylvia Plath, and American indie title Sunshine Cleaning.
Mark Albiston has racked up awards at festivals in Cannes, Berlin and Salt Lake City, thanks to short films Run and The Six Dollar Fifty Man (which he co-directed with Louis Sutherland). After a UK OE, Albiston returned home to launch Sticky Pictures, where he began winning gongs for arts shows The Living Room and The Gravy. Alibston and Sutherland's 2013 feature Shopping won further awards and acclaim.
John Keir began his career as a TV reporter, and from the late 70s on was producing and directing an extended slate of documentaries. His CV includes docos about air crashes (Flight 901: The Erebus Disaster), war (Our Oldest Soldier), gender (Intersexion) crime (First Time in Prison) and the Treaty (Lost in Translation). His many collaborations with director Grant Lahood include two short films that won acclaim at Cannes.
Leanne Saunders’ eye for talent has resulted in producer credits on six features: box office hits Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Born to Dance, Nazi horror The Devil’s Rock, and dramas Desert, The Weight of Elephants and Christmas. She also executive produced a run of successful shorts. In 2016 Saunders was appointed Head of Production and Development at the NZ Film Commission.