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.
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.
One of many talents to emerge from legendary Wellington company Pacific Films in the 1970s, Mike Hardcastle was often behind the camera during the renaissance of Kiwi feature films. Then he took a break and returned to the industry as the man who could not only shoot your project, but edit it too. Hardcastle passed away on 24 August 2016.
Throughout his 50 year career, John O’Shea was a pioneer and a champion of the independent New Zealand film industry. His name was synonymous with Pacific Film Productions, which he ran for over 20 years after Pacific founder Roger Mirams left for Australia. O’Shea was involved in the establishment of the New Zealand Film Commission, Ngā Taonga and the Wellington Film Society.
Dylan Pharazyn has developed a reputation for directing music videos (Dimmer, The Checks), commercials (for company The Sweet Shop) and short films laced with stylish digital effects. His first short Vostok Station — an ambitious, man-alone in a polar post-apocalypse tale — was invited to Sundance. The Elam School of Fine Arts graduate is also a graphic designer, art director and computer animator.
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.
Colin Broadley was one of those who dared to sail against the currents, as a DJ on pirate station Radio Hauraki. In 1964 he starred in Runaway, the first Kiwi feature in over a decade. Broadley played David Manning, a disaffected man alone, smouldering his way around NZ. Before departing broadcasting for other avenues, he did stints hosting early music show In the Groove, and playing a heavy in TV thriller The Alpha Plan.
Alun Bollinger, MNZM, has been crafting the slanting southern light onto film and other formats, for almost 40 years. He is arguably New Zealand's premier cinematographer; images framed by Bollinger's camera include some of the most indelible memories to come from iconic films like Goodbye Pork Pie, Vigil and Heavenly Creatures.
While studying fine art at Elam, Niamh Peren won the Best Moving Image prize for The Great Bunny Hunt. Her shorts Moustache Me Oh My and Bubblegum have played on Austria's Channel Okto. As an actor Peren has appeared in Stephen Kang's Cannes award-winning short Blue, and acclaimed docudrama Erebus: Operation Overdue. She also shared camera duties on Florian Habicht's Land of the Long White Cloud.
Bruno Lawrence was a widely popular and prolific actor, musician and counter-cultural hero. His inimitable and charismatic screen presence was central to Kiwi legends Smash Palace, The Quiet Earth and Utu. Lawrence was also known for his influential and anarchic travelling theatre troupe, Blerta.