From a turbulent beginning in Auckland, self-styled adventurer and traveller Shayle Gardner was regularly employed on the British stage, and managed NZ troops’ entertainment during World War I. He also played his part in UK silent film history, starring in Comin’ thro' the Rye and The Three Passions. Gardner also had a short, tantalising stay in Hollywood; but in the end he came to rest in the place of his birth.Image credit: Alexander Turnbull Library, Eph-A-DRAMA-1922-01 (Detail)
Simon Marler's film industry experience includes stints as a casting director, as a director of shorts and documentaries, and three years as head of New Zealand film organisation Script to Screen.
The trio of documentaries surrounding the religious community of Gloriavale generated huge TV ratings. Amanda Evans is the director and producer behind this mini-TV phenomenon. In her 30 year career she has produced and/ or directed documentaries, reality series and iconic Kiwi kids and arts shows.
Ivars Berzins fell in love with photography aged eight, en route to TV assignments across NZ, in Norwegian fjords, and in East Timor. Berzins was chief cameraman in TVNZ's Wellington office before leaving in 1996 to start company Pacific Crews (now Pacific Screen), which he went on to run with his wife, producer Amanda Evans. These days he directs as well as films, including on documentary series New Zealand Stories.
From a career in print journalism and public relations that began in his teens, Gordon Dryden became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the mid 70s. Earning himself a reputation as a tough interviewer, Dryden hosted coverage of the 1975 election before presenting Friday Conference. A 1991 TV series on education would lead to book The Learning Revolution, which sold in the millions.
After starting his career as an actor then doing eight years in the editing suite, Andrew Hawthorn has made his biggest mark in sports coverage. A child star in kidult drama Hunter's Gold, Hawthorn did time as a radio DJ and TV editor before moving into sports for TVNZ. After helming Olympics coverage and groundbreaking America's Cup coverage that was seen around the world, he joined Sky Sports in 2010.
There were times when the career of longtime National Film Unit director David Sims could have been cut short. Having survived close encounters with steam locomotives in mountainous terrain, he narrowly escaped being blown up, drowned and burnt alive at sea. Even filming a planned set-up on location had its hazards, as he found when his call of “action!” sent exploding rocks whistling by perilously close overhead.
Allan Martin, OBE, worked as a television executive on both sides of the Tasman, but had his roots in programme making. He began making TV in England in the early 60s. Returning home, he developed influential programmes for the NZBC in Compass and Town and Around. Headhunted by the ABC in Australia, he returned to NZ in 1975 to set up the new second channel, and later became Director-General of TVNZ.
American-born Steve Sachs is the producer of drama/comedy Savage Honeymoon and horror movie The Locals. He also produced the television series True Life Stories and a number of acclaimed short films.
Dave Gibson is one of New Zealand's most experienced producers. Under his command, company Gibson Group made programmes for local and international audiences for over three decades. In 2012 Gibson was admitted to the Order of NZ Merit for services to the screen industry; in 2014 he sold his shares in Gibson Group, and began a four-year stint as Chief Executive of the NZ Film Commission.