The late Margaret Thomson is arguably the first New Zealand woman to have directed films. Thomson spent much of her film career working in England, plus two years back in New Zealand at the National Film Unit. Her NFU short Railway Worker (1948) is regarded as a classic.
Since scrapping a career as a teacher in 1978, actor Desmond Kelly has appeared on screen in more than 40 roles. Often playing the straight-talking working class Kiwi bloke, Kelly has contributed memorable performances to Smash Palace (as Bruno's co-mechanic), The Scarecrow (as the hero's Dad), Springbok Tour telefeature Rage (as rugby union boss Ces Blazey) and as the swagman co-star in TV series Jocko.
Roger Donaldson is notable for spearheading the New Zealand film renaissance with Sleeping Dogs (1977). He has been busy directing in Hollywood for much of the period since. Donaldson's first Kiwi story since acclaimed drama Smash Palace (1981) was Burt Munro biopic The World’s Fastest Indian (2005) — the most successful New Zealand film on home soil until the arrival of Taika Waititi's Boy in 2010.
Although he trained as a geologist, Craig Gainsborough has gone on to accrue a run of producing credits— from music videos and commercials, to documentaries (include caving short Luckie Strike and films on ADHD and palliative care). His dramatic credits include 48 Hour Film Festival national runner-up Tide, Michael Duignan comedy Ten Thousand Days, and teenage farm-boy tale Thicket, which won the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award at the 2017 NZ International Film Festival. Gainsborough's work as director includes co-directing girl and dog story Stay.