Using the power of documentary film Frank Chilton made a difference to the lives of disabled children in New Zealand and around the world. The films he directed for the National Film Unit won many awards and he was honoured by the Queen with an OBE for services to the handicapped.
Dropping in on the Americans at the South Pole for afternoon tea, having driven there by tractor, was one of the most unusual events of Derek Wright's career as a National Film Unit cameraman. In his 40 years with the NFU he filled many other roles, from laboratory assistant to producer: but it is for his filming in the Antarctic that he is particularly remembered.
As a war correspondent filming the New Zealand forces in Italy and the Middle East, Ron McIntyre played a key role in supplying the raw material for the early films of the National Film Unit. After nearly four years overseas, he returned home and tried his hand at independent filmmaking. McIntyre spent just over seven years with the NFU as a cameraman and director, and also worked briefly for Pacific Films.
Award-winning documentary maker Peta Carey has framed subjects from a Kiwi buddha to Fiordland waterfalls, Pacific atolls to paragliders. She cut her teeth as a presenter on kids show Spot On, then began directing current affairs. Genetic research examination Lifting of the Makutu won her a 2006 NZ Screen Award. Carey runs Watershed Films, and has written feature stories for North & South and The Listener.
As an intrepid young cameraman for the National Film Unit, Don Oakley travelled to remote parts of New Zealand and brought to the screen scenes of the recently-rediscovered takahē, Opo the dolphin, and life in the backblocks. In a lengthy career, he also filmed in the studio and overseas, rising to be chief cameraman of the NFU.
Part of a well-known Kiwi arts family, Josh Frizzell’s screen apprenticeship involved props and design; one early gig saw him delivering prop machine guns up the Shotover River by helicopter. He went on to direct a run of 90s music videos, including award-winners for Emma Paki (System Virtue) and Shihad (Stations). Frizzell has helmed episodes of Go Girls, The Brokenwood Mysteries and the Cook Islands set Tatau. His extensive resume of advertising work includes multiple inflight safety campaigns for Air New Zealand, and a break-in at the Tui Brewery. He is one of the owners of Trans-Tasman commercials company Eight.
The films of Gregor Nicholas have won international attention and a host of awards. His work as a director crosses the gamut in style and subject: from acclaimed short film Avondale Dogs to All Black commercials for Adidas, from interracial love story feature Broken English, to experimental music-based short films for From Scratch.
The multi-talented Stan Wolfgramm originally trained as an actor at New York’s Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Returning to Aotearoa, he founded Drum Productions in 1992 to tell Pasifika stories: from fashion showcase Style Pasifika, to pioneering PI youth show Pacific Beat Street, to the opening of the Pacific Forum. Of Tongan, Cook Island and German descent, Wolfgramm was made a MNZM in 2015’s New Year’s honours.
Dame Pat Evison's extensive screen career saw her acting alongside George Henare, Roger Hall, William Holden, and a young Mel Gibson. Evison worked extensively on both sides of the Tasman, including long-running TV roles on Close to Home and Australia's Flying Doctors. She passed away in May 2010.
After early screen work as a stuntman, Lawrence Makoare went on to don various disguises for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, including that of fearsome Uruk-hai Lurtz in the first film. In the same period he was nominated for an NZ Film Award for Crooked Earth, after co-starring opposite Temuera Morrison as a Māori radical running a dope operation. Since then he has played baddie Mr Kil in Bond movie Die Another Day, and was nominated again after playing a legendary warrior in Toa Fraser action film The Dead Lands. Makoare's work also includes big budget TV series Marco Polo and Cook Islands murder mystery Tatau.