An ideas man who campaigned for a Government film body, Stanhope Andrews would become the National Film Unit's first manager. Andrews commanded the Unit for a decade. Along the way he oversaw dramatic expansion, set up regular newsreel Weekly Review, and opened the door to filmmakers of both genders.
Cyril Morton's career began in the 1920s, during New Zealand's first sustained burst of filmmaking. Morton helped create Government filmmaking body the National Film Unit. The former cameraman was later second-in-command at the Unit for 13 years, until retiring in 1963. Morton passed away in 1986.
The long journalism career of Pulitzer-Prize winner Peter Arnett includes interviews with Fidel Castro, General Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. But he is probably best known for the two month period in 1991 when he reported on the Gulf War for CNN — the only Western journalist then left in Baghdad.
John Day rolled film on a wide range of screen projects before establishing company Matte-Box Films in 1980. He went on to mix a busy trans-Tasman commercials career with directing gigs on a number of non-fiction titles (The Power of Music, The Hunt for the Pink and White Terraces), plus ghost movie The Returning. Day passed away on 7 January 2015.
Peter Read began his screen career in 1968 at the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, as a trainee editor in his hometown of Christchurch. He decided camera operators had more fun, so after an OE to London and a move to Wellington he became a camera operator. Read worked on a wide variety of shows from lifestyle (Country Calendar) to drama (Cuckoo Land) and commercials. Read passed away on 21 June 2018.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the multi-talented Dave Fraser brought his multiple musical talents to score everything from features and National Film Unit documentaries to television dramas and commercials. Image credit: Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/2-215042-F (Detail)
All Black, Auckland Warrior, juice entrepreneur, and onscreen larrikin, Marc Ellis’ first non-footy screen foray was co-hosting Sportscafe, where his antics regularly attracted headlines (including Nude Day appearances). A run of hosting roles followed – often with fellow sportsman Matthew Ridge – where the lads were fish-out-of-water in New Zealand (In the Deep End, Time of Your Life) and overseas (Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road). The pair were team captains on quiz show Game of Two Halves; Ellis went solo for 2009's How the Other Half Lives. These days he is co-owner of advertising agency Media Blanco.
Jim Hopkins's screen career has ranged from science reporting to shed anthropology. The long-time public speaker has been an NZ Herald columnist, talkback radio host, “thoroughly boring” Waitaki district councillor, and author (Blokes in Sheds). Though his television encounters have often been quirky or comedic, Hopkins has also done time as a straight reporter (80s science show Fast Forward).
Rugby and league international, car wash entrepreneur and celebrity Matthew Ridge became – alongside fellow sportsman Marc Ellis – one of the twin onscreen towers of 90s and 2000s lad culture in New Zealand. The larrikin pair went adventuring in Aotearoa and overseas (Fresh Up In the Deep End, a run of Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road series) and were panel captains on sports quiz show Game of Two Halves. Solo, Ridge was chosen to host the original version of high profile game show The Chair. He has also been a regular participant in a run of celebrity reality shows (Treasure Island, Top of the Class).
John Anderson got busy directing a run of television dramas in the 1980s, including award-winning Polynesian road movie Mark ll, and two of the final works by playwright Bruce Mason. The onetime actor reinvented himself as a documentary filmmaker in the 90s, then relocated to Kiribati, where he worked on more than 400 films covering everything from climate change to dance. Anderson died in Kiribati on 19 August 2016.