Though most of his films have been documentaries, Florian Habicht's work has often blurred the boundaries between truth and fiction. His CV includes offbeat fairytale Woodenhead, two love letters to New Zealand's far north (Kaikohe Demolition, Land of the Long White Cloud), films on theatre legend Warwick Broadhead and Brit band Pulp, and his award-winning, genre-stretching romance Love Story.
Tony Williams' contribution to the development of NZ film and television has been huge: his camerawork for John O'Shea's 60s feature-films, the nine ground-breaking documentaries he directed for Pacific Films, and his feature Solo, which helped launch the 70s new wave. After moving to Australia in 1980, Williams continued to wield a lively influence on our culture by directing many legendary commercials.
Peter Wells broke ground as one of the first New Zealanders to tell gay stories on-screen. Aside from his work as an author, he explored gay and historical themes in several acclaimed drama and documentaries — including pioneering TV drama A Death in the Family, colourful big screen melodrama Desperate Remedies and Georgina Beyer documentary Georgie Girl. Wells died on 18 February 2019.
Gaylene Preston has been making feature films and documentaries with a distinctive New Zealand flavour and a strong social message for over 30 years. In 2001 she was the first filmmaker to be made a Laureate by the Arts Foundation, recognising her contribution to New Zealand film and television.
Yorkshire born and raised, Austin Mitchell began winning attention in New Zealand by hosting current affairs shows in the 1960s, while teaching history at Otago University. Back home in England, he began an eight year run as a television journalist, and wrote 1972's The Half-Gallon Quarter-Acre Pavlova Paradise, a love letter to New Zealand which became a Kiwi bestseller. Thirty years later Mitchell returned to see how the country had changed. The result was TV series and book Pavlova Paradise Revisited. Mitchell began a 46 year political career in 1977, as Labour MP in the English seat of Grimsby. He retired in 2015.
Playwright turned director Toa Fraser grabbed the theatre world with award-winning play No.2, which he then directed for the screen. At the 2006 Sundance Festival it won the coveted audience award. Follow-up Dean Spanley won seven gongs at the 2009 Qantas Film Awards, including best director. Fraser went on to helm ballet documentary Giselle, te reo action movie The Dead Lands, and hostage drama 6 Days.
Former stuntwoman Sara Wiseman went directly from performing arts school to acting in crime series Street Legal. She went on to star as Dr Nicky Somerville in 60 episodes of the popular Mercy Peak. On the big screen, Wiseman has starred in 2005 psychological thriller Luella Miller, taken the title role in Jinx Sister, and won awards for her parts in movie Matariki and TV's What Really Happened - Votes for Women.
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.
Actor/director Simon Prast is best-known for his stage career, and 11 years commanding the Auckland Theatre Company. Prast's screen-acting career dates back to the mid 80s, most famously for his role as rich kid Alister Redfern in beloved soap Gloss. His biggest feature role to date remains Stephen, man-at-the-crossroads in 1998 feature When Love Comes.
For three decades, playwright and critic Bruce Mason played intelligent, impassioned witness to many key developments in Kiwi theatre and culture; a number of them his own. His play The Pohutukawa Tree has spawned more than 180 productions, and was watched by 20 million after being adapted for the BBC. The End of the Golden Weather is both a classic solo play, and movie.