Since the late 1980s Bryan Bruce has been a prolific documentary maker and presenter. Over more than 30 documentaries, plus three seasons of The Investigator, he has cast fresh eyes on some of the most famous crimes in New Zealand’s history, and asked tough questions about the country’s economic and social trajectory.
English-born Leo Woodhead moved downunder as a teen. In his final year of a film masters at Auckland University, he went to the Czech Republic and made Cargo, a short about human trafficking; it premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Follow-ups Zero and Cold Snap also explored troubled young protagonists, and were invited to prestigious festivals. Woodhead directs commercials in New Zealand and internationally.
Paul Stanley Ward won a Qantas Award for his first short film script: 2008's The Graffiti of Mr Tupaia. After an OE that took in a Masters in Literature at Oxford University and work for the Discovery Channel in the United States, he returned home to write for Kiwi settler show Here to Stay, plus policing documentary Undercover. Later came shorts Choice Night and Cold Snap, which was selected for the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Ward was founding editor of NZ On Screen. The longtime nature lover went on to create kids nature app Wild Eyes, and Capital Kiwi, whose mission is to return kiwi to the wilds of Wellington.
The CV of editor Jeff Hurrell splices TV documentaries — often alongside director Bryan Bruce — with a run of short films, including 2011 award-winner Lambs. The short film work lead to him editing debut features for directors Jason Lei Howden and Paul Campion, Deathgasm and The Devil’s Rock. Hurrell also cut the high profile Born to Dance, and runs Wellington production house Martin Square.
Larger than life and the ultimate showband performer, Prince Tui Teka's resume included years on the international circuit with the Maori Troubadours and the Maori Volcanics. A successful solo career and love songs like ‘E Ipo’, alongside roles in films like Savage Islands and Came a Hot Friday have ensured his name is listed in New Zealand entertainment history.
After stints in the merchant navy and the British film industry, Steve Locker-Lampson began a new life in New Zealand in the 60s, heading the camera department at indie production house Pacific Films. The following decade he forged a reputation as one of the country's pioneer aerial cameramen, and worked behind the scenes on movies Solo and Smash Palace. Locker-Lampson passed away in October 2012.
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.
Jess Feast is a documentary maker whose work covers everything from Berlin and ballet to the Flight of the Conchords. Cowboys & Communists examined cultural conflicts in post-cold war Berlin via a US-themed bar and residents of the tower block it’s housed in. 2013 breakout hit Gardening with Soul follows a year in the life of a vivacious nonagenarian nun and won the Best Documentary Moa (NZ Film) award.
After coming up with the idea for Nemesis Game, his first feature film, Jesse Warn ended up making it in Canada with a multi-national cast, and being nominated for best picture at the 2003 NZ Film Awards. He went on to direct a run of commercials, and episodes of Spartacus. Since then Warn has spent time in the US directing a range of high profile series, including True Blood, Arrow and Supergirl.
New Plymouth-born Jared Turner got his big break with 2004 feature Fracture, as the thief upon whose botched robbery the story pivots. Though his screenwork to date has been mainly in New Zealand, Turner grew up in Sydney, where he studied theatre. After time in the cast of Kiwi TV hit Go Girls, he spent three seasons as one of The Almighty Johnsons. Turner played Norse god Ty, whose romantic tendencies are inhibited by an unusually cold exterior. He went on to act Australian series The Secret Daughter, played a villain in The Last Saint, and co-starred in 2019 TV movie Ablaze, about the 1947 Ballantyne store fire.