Art department veteran Dan Hennah worked on a range of screen projects before becoming an art director and set decorator on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Five times Oscar nominated, he won an Academy Award for his work on The Return of the King. Since then Hennah has graduated to production designing on a number of features, including taking on the job for Peter Jackson's three-parter of The Hobbit.
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.
Vanessa Alexander attracted attention as a rookie director with her low-budget feature Magik and Rose. Since then she has compiled an impressive list of achievements as a producer (Being Eve, Cargo), director (the opening episodes of Outrageous Fortune and Agent Anna) writer (Love Child), script editor, and lecturer. These days Alexander works in Australian television.
Jess Charlton was behind the camera on three web series from creative collective The Candle Wasters — award-winning party tale Bright Summer Night, musical romance Happy Playland, and 2018's Tragicomic. Born in London but raised in Invercargill and Queenstown, Charlton has shot over a dozen short films, including Jessica Grace Smith's award-winning Everybody Else is Taken and coming of age tale Tama. She was one of the key creatives behind 2012 dystopian feature Existence, and shared two NZ Writers Guild awards for co-writing the script. Charlton has shot ScreenTalk interviews for NZ On Screen.
Quite aside from being a talented and prolific actor, Ian Mune has made behind the scenes contributions to many New Zealand screen landmarks. Mune's writing career ranges from some of New Zealand's earliest television series to Goodbye Pork Pie. His work as director includes classics Came a Hot Friday and The End of the Golden Weather, and the hit sequel to Once Were Warriors.
Tim Sanders has worked on a number of New Zealand's most ambitious movie productions, including Whale Rider, The Lord of the Rings, and Perfect Creature. Originally based in Australia, Sanders is now better known as a New Zealand producer. He is noted for his pragmatic attitude and bent for commercial genre subjects.
Director Peter Salmon first won attention with 1998 chase romp Playing Possum. In 2007, his coming of age short Fog was invited to Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival. His extensive CV of television credits includes Being Eve, Outrageous Fortune and The Wot Wots. Since moving to Australia in 2012, Salmon has directed several high profile drama series including Rake, Offspring and Wanted.
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.
Producer Lloyd Phillips won an Academy Award in 1981, for short film The Dollar Bottom. South African-born Phillips was raised in New Zealand, where his first feature, Battletruck, was shot. He went on to establish a globetrotting Hollywood career, working on The Legend of Zorro, 12 Monkeys, Inglourious Basterds and Vertical Limit (also shot in New Zealand). Phillips died of a heart attack on 25 January 2013.