As a war correspondent filming the New Zealand forces in Italy and the Middle East, Ron McIntyre played a key role in supplying the raw material for the early films of the National Film Unit. After nearly four years overseas, he returned home and tried his hand at independent filmmaking. McIntyre spent just over seven years with the NFU as a cameraman and director, and also worked briefly for Pacific Films.
Actor Willa O'Neill won awards for her work in two 90s movie hits: Dunedin student thriller Scarfies, and ensemble piece Topless Women Talk about their Lives.
Sandy Houston's career in animation and visual effects has involved 70 plus movie projects — including animated classic Watership Down, visual effects landmark Jurassic Park, and Oscar-winners The Return of the King and King Kong. Along the way she has been on hand to watch computers become key tools in creating screen illusion.
Hugh Macdonald began his long, award-studded career at the National Film Unit, where at 25 he directed ambitious three-screen spectacular This is New Zealand (1970), which was seen by 400,000 New Zealanders. In the 80s he produced Oscar-nominated short The Frog, the Dog, and the Devil and established his own company, continuing a busy diet of commercial films, train documentaries and animation.
Claude Wickstead started working at the Government Film Studios in 1938. After serving in WWll, he joined the National Film Unit’s sound department, where he contributed to the soundtracks of a great many films including the long-running series Weekly Review and Pictorial Parade. He was in charge of the NFU Sound Department from 1951 until his retirement in 1977.
The long journalism career of Pulitzer-Prize winner Peter Arnett includes interviews with Fidel Castro, General Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. But he is probably best known for the two month period in 1991 when he reported on the Gulf War for CNN — the only Western journalist then left in Baghdad.
Ngila Dickson, ONZM, has designed costumes for vampires, university professors, fertility cults, and wizards in pointy hats. And that's only counting the work she has done for Kiwi filmmakers. Since sharing an Academy Award and a BAFTA for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dickson has contributed her costume prowess to movies in Japan, Germany, South Africa and Los Angeles.
Born in Greece and raised in Adelaide, Athina Tsoulis began making films after she moved to Auckland in the 1980s. Black comedy The Invisible Hand was invited to multiple festivals, including Clermont-Ferrand. Long keen to tell women's stories, Tsoulis made her feature film debut in 1998 with edgy comedy I'll Make You Happy. Her follow-up, small town drama Jinx Sister, starring Sara Wiseman, was Qantas-nominated for the Best Low-Budget Feature of 2008. Third feature Stars in Her Eyes (2016) involved both screen industry veterans, and students from Unitec — where Tsoulis has for a number of years taught directing.
Jim Moriarty's screen career has ranged from 70s soap Close to Home and Rowley Habib's The Protestors, to starring in mock-doco The Waimate Conspiracy and playing Dad in The Strength of Water. Committed to theatre as a tool for change, he has often worked with troubled youth (eg 2003 documentary Make or Break). Moriarty's directing work includes TV's Mataku, and a stage musical of Once Were Warriors.