Melanie Rakena partnered with Jane Andrews in 2002 to create JAM TV, who specialise in popular factual television, much of it involving travel. JAM programmes such as Intrepid Journeys, Off The Rails and Global Radar have managed to achieve both popular and critical acclaim.
Jane Andrews founded Jam TV with Melanie Rakena in 2002. The partnership has resulted in a run of award-winning shows that brought fresh energy to local factual programming. Jam shows Off the Rails, South and the long-running Intrepid Journeys achieved high ratings and critical acclaim. In 2010 the Andrews directed and produced Radar's Patch won a Qantas award for Best Information/Lifestyle Programme.
Globetrotting director Dean Cornish's credit reel ranges from Intrepid Journeys to bold buildings, Extreme Tribes to Rachel Hunter, sex trafficking to This Town. Trained at Christchurch's NZ Broadcasting School, Cornish has produced films in more than 90 countries and crafted a reputation as a go-to guy for travel stories. He shared a Best Director gong at the 2011 Aotearoa Film and TV Awards for Making Tracks.
Brit-born Helena McAlpine moved to NZ in her 20s. Soon she was DJing on The Edge and being headhunted by C4, where she became one of the music channel’s main hosts. After discovering she had breast cancer, she got busy on a large bucket list, including cameoing on Shortland Street, campaigning for the Breast Cancer Foundation, and flying a plane once again. McAlpine died on 23 September 2015.
Popular and idiosyncratic radio and TV host Marcus Lush chronicled his love affair with the railways on high-rating series Off the Rails, which won him an award for best presenter at the 2006 NZ Screen Awards. Lush followed it with Ice, which saw him spending time in Antarctica, before making further Kiwi excursions South and North.
Pip Hall has written for television and theatre, and won awards in both mediums. She started her screen career writing for sketch shows like Skitz and Telly Laughs, and enjoyed a long working relationship with soap Shortland Street. She went on to work on the scripts for Kiwi TV movies Why Does Love? and Runaway Millionaires, miniseries Jonah (about Jonah Lomu) and crime show One Lane Bridge.
Renaissance man Fane Flaws has done it all. Since boarding the legendary magic bus of travelling band Blerta in the early 1970s, he has been a musician, graphic designer and artist — not to forget directing a long run of award-winning music videos and commercials, and launching bestselling multimedia project The Underwater Melon Man.
The films of Jim Marbrook include feature-length documentaries on speed chess maestros (2003 award-winner Dark Horse), psychiatric hospitals (Mental Notes) and environmental issues in New Caledonia (Cap Bocage). Marbrook also lectures in screen and television at Auckland University of Technology.
Former magazine editor and continuity person Christine Parker made her name as a writer/director with three distinctive short films: One Man's Meat, in which Donogh Rees commits murder; Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up another Obelisk, in which Rima Te Wiata has destructive supernatural powers; and bi-sexual romance Peach. Parker made her feature debut in 1999 with romantic drama Channelling Baby, starring Danielle Cormack and Kevin Smith.
Sophia Hawthorne, who died in February 2016, starred on stage in Cabaret, Closer and Romeo and Juliet. After a number of short films — including the moody She’s Racing — she got breakthrough screen roles in movies When Love Comes and Savage Honeymoon (playing wild child Leesa Savage). Further nominations followed for TV’s Insiders Guide to Happiness. She was daughter of actor Elizabeth and director Raymond Hawthorne.