Richard O’Brien made his mark in the history of musicals — and cult movies — after creating the tale of a sweet transvestite from Transylvania. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has played on cinema screens for decades. The stage show continues to win new fans. O’Brien has gone on to a wide range of projects, including movie Dark City and hosting New Zealand’s DNA Detectives and UK hit The Crystal Maze.
Bret McKenzie is one half of musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie and Jemaine Clement found international fame with the cult HBO comedy, which followed the duo's fictional efforts to 'make it' in New York. An Oscar-winner after writing songs for The Muppets (2011), McKenzie's screen career began after a brief role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy helped win him a cult following.
Kathryn Burnett is a screenwriter, playwright and script consultant. Her scriptwriting credits include Fresh Eggs and The Cul de Sac, and award-winners The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, The Strip, Holly's Heroes and short film Shelved. Past recipient of a British Council television scholarship, Burnett co-created 2009 drama series The Cult. She also teaches screenwriting workshops.
David Brechin-Smith is an award-winning screenwriter. Nominated for Lovebites and The Strip, he won awards for The Insider's Guide to Happiness and prequel The Insiders Guide to Love. He created and wrote drama series The Hothouse and worked on thriller series The Cult. Teen comedy-drama series Paradise Café and movie The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell are also among his credits.
Former stuntwoman Sara Wiseman went directly from performing arts school to acting in crime series Street Legal. She went on to star as Dr Nicky Somerville in 60 episodes of the popular Mercy Peak. On the big screen, Wiseman has starred in 2005 psychological thriller Luella Miller, taken the title role in Jinx Sister, and won awards for her parts in movie Matariki and TV's What Really Happened - Votes for Women.
Simon Riera (pronounced Re-air-ah) fell in love with filmmaking while studying geology at Otago University. Since then his work as a cinematographer has included five features — spanning everything from Hopeless to Housebound — award-winning work on TV thriller The Cult, and an array of noteworthy short films.
Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he appeared on 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. Following his big screen debut in Tongan Ninja, he starred in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and acted in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
David Blyth cemented his place in the Kiwi filmmaking renaissance with two films that left social realism far behind: 1978 experimental feature Angel Mine, and 1984's Death Warmed Up, New Zealand's first homegrown horror movie. Since then Blyth's work has included family friendly vampire film Moonrise, a number of documentaries on war, and varied works exploring sexuality.
When Peter Cox dreamed up The Insiders Guide to Happiness for his Master's scriptwriting thesis, he never thought it would be made into a TV series. But he was proved wrong when it became an award-winning drama, even spawning a prequel. Cox found further screen success by co-creating TV thriller The Cult and comedy The Pretender, as well as writing for series This Is Not My Life.
By the time she'd graduated from drama school Toi Whakaari, Chelsie Preston Crayford had won an award for acclaimed short Fog and acted in three feature films, including starring in Home by Christmas as her own grandmother. She has gone on to play a cult member (TV series The Cult) and Katherine Mansfield's lover (telemovie Bliss). She also won awards in Australia for TV thriller The Code and a starring role as a crimelord in the 1920s edition of Underbelly. In 2017 she co-starred in big screen drama The Inland Road. She is the daughter of director Gaylene Preston and musician Jonathan Crayford.