Max Currie began his screen career in his early 20s, after joining the reporting team on groundbreaking LGBT show Queer Nation. He developed his scriptwriting skills during extended time in New York. Fresh from directing short films and writing for Shortland Street, Currie's feature debut was Moa-nominated for best director, writer and film: Everything We Loved, a psychological family drama featuring two magicians and a child.
James Wallace, KNZM, is a patron of cinema, among other types of art. His CV as a producer of short films includes Accidents and Cannes success Planet Man. Wallace produced pioneering AIDS drama A Death in the Family and acclaimed feature Desperate Remedies. He was the Company Secretary and Solicitor for cinema chain Kerridge Odeon, and has spent time on the board of the NZ Film Commission.
Kiwi Samoan Jeremiah Tauamiti started his career as a camera operator (Fresh), before going on to direct films of his own, including shorts Maria and Liliu. His 48 Hours Film Festival team Goodfellas are perennial award contenders. Tauamiti has also acted in short films, such as The Promise of Piha and My Friend Michael Jones. In 2019 he co-directed his first feature For My Father’s Kingdom with partner Vea Mafile'o. The documentary, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, is about Mafile'o's Tongan father, Saia.
Donogh Rees began her long theatre and screen career after graduating from Auckland’s Theatre Corporate. Fresh from 1982’s Pheno was Here, the first of many shorts, Rees stole the screen as the image-obsessed Constance, for director Bruce Morrison. Since an award-winning turn as the injured writer in Alison MacLean’s Crush, her roles include three years on the nursing staff of Shortland Street, and Marilyn Waring in Fallout.
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.
Bob Stenhouse, the first Kiwi animator to be nominated for an Academy Award, spent 12 years working for state television. After joining the Government’s National Film Unit in 1980, he made Oscar-nominated short The Frog, The Dog and the Devil. Stenhouse’s later films have included several Joy Cowley short stories, plus award-winning short The Orchard, a Japanese fable adapted to a New Zealand setting.
Lisa Taouma has a laufala bag spilling over with Pasifika screen credits. She has directed on Tagata Pasifika, helmed TV2’s Polyfest and made documentaries on subjects from Samoan tattoo to fa’afafine. She produces pioneering PI youth show Fresh with Mario Gaoa, and in 2014 launched Polynesian online community Coconet. Taouma also wrote short films Brown Sugar and Talk of the Town.
David Fane is an award-winning actor and writer on stage and screen. He played multiple characters in animated TV hit bro’Town, dispensed wise words as Falani on Outrageous Fortune, and was a founding member of comedy group The Naked Samoans.
Leanne Saunders’ eye for talent has resulted in producer credits on six features: box office hits Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Born to Dance, Nazi horror The Devil’s Rock, and dramas Desert, The Weight of Elephants and Christmas. She also executive produced a run of successful shorts. In 2016 Saunders was appointed Head of Production and Development at the NZ Film Commission.
Yoson An began working in the New Zealand screen industry in 2012 with short film Death Note, having previously worked in theatre. He got his first starring role in a feature film the following year — in David Blyth horror film Ghost Bride, he played a Chinese immigrant forced into an arranged marriage. A lead role in Australian drama series Dead Lucky followed in 2017, this time as a rookie cop who blames his mentor for the death of his best friend. He also acts in hit webseries Flat3, and big-budget fantasy Mortal Engines. In 2018 it was announced that he would play the love interest in Niki Caro's big budget remake of Mulan. Image Credit: Photo by Andi Crown