Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he appeared on 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. Following his big screen debut in Tongan Ninja, he starred in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and acted in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
Bret McKenzie is one half of musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie and Jemaine Clement found international fame with the cult HBO comedy, which followed the duo's fictional efforts to 'make it' in New York. An Oscar-winner after writing songs for The Muppets (2011), McKenzie's screen career began after a brief role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy helped win him a cult following.
Sometime actor Taika Waititi has clearly sunk his teeth into directing. His 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night was Oscar-nominated. Second feature Boy (2010) became the most successful Kiwi film released on its home soil — at least until the arrival of Waititi's fourth movie, Barry Crump inspired adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2017 Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok became an international hit.
Jonno Woodford-Robinson has edited everything from features (Taika Waititi's debut Eagle vs Shark) to commercials (such as Telecom's Meerkats campaign). Woodford-Robinson's other features include Alison Maclean's The Rehearsal, Mahana and pioneering Fijian film The Land Has Eyes. A frequent collaborator with director Jason Stutter, Woodford-Robinson's projects include Stutter's adaptation of novel Predicament. After several nominations, he picked up his first New Zealand Film Award in 2017 for his work as co-editor (with Mike Horton) of Lee Tamahori's rural drama Mahana.
The multi-talented Jackie van Beek emerged from Wellington’s 90s theatre scene. After directing a run of award-winning shorts, her first feature The Inland Road was invited to the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. She went on to co-direct, co-write and co-star in comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami. As an actor, van Beek is probably best known for her role in What We Do in the Shadows, as a vampire groupie.
Jess Feast is a documentary maker whose work covers everything from Berlin and ballet to the Flight of the Conchords. Cowboys & Communists examined cultural conflicts in post-cold war Berlin via a US-themed bar and residents of the tower block it’s housed in. 2013 breakout hit Gardening with Soul follows a year in the life of a vivacious nonagenarian nun and won the Best Documentary Moa (NZ Film) award.
Neil Stichbury trained as a photographer. After a short stint directing for TV3 and Communicado, he began a busy decade making commercials with Republic Films partner Simon Mark Brown. His partnership with director Luke Nola resulted in a run of kids shows, including Let’s Get Inventin’, whose escapades spawned multiple seasons and overseas sales. Stichbury is now developing further screen projects.
Seasoned stand-up comedian Rhys Darby played an inept band manager on cult hit Flight of the Conchords. It proved a springboard to wider fame. After feature acting roles on both sides of the Atlantic, Darby took the lead role in Kiwi romantic comedy Love Birds. 2014 saw the debut of comedy show Short Poppies, with Darby playing a different person in each episode. He continues to act and perform live.
Guy Capper has brought his double-barrelled skills as animator and comic to short films, award-winning commercials (the Hedgehog Speed Safety campaign) and the stage. Robert and Sheepy — the memorable animated creations of Capper and Jemaine Clement — were seen in short film series The Pen, and Radiradirah. Capper has also featured in a series of multi-media shows which mix stand-up comedy with claymation characters.
Chelsea Winstanley has produced a stellar run of short films: Meathead and Night Shift were selected for the Cannes Film Festival; Meathead won an award in Berlin. Later she was one of the producers of vampire movie What We Do in the Shadows, directed by her partner Taika Waititi, and Jemaine Clement, and Waititi's Jojo Rabbit. She also produced Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, on pioneering Māori director Merata Mita, and was one of the team of Māori women behind acclaimed drama Waru. Her work as director includes a 2005 documentary on Tame Iti. She is sometimes credited as Chelsea Cohen.