With a career spanning half a century, there's not much in the entertainment industry John McCready hasn't seen. From record company A&R to radio management and TV programming McCready built a reputation as a tough competitor with his finger on the pulse of public taste.
After time in print and television news, and nine years commanding the Wellington Film Festival, Shelton began his dream job — selling local films for the New Zealand Film Commission. During a 22 year run as the commission's first marketing director he handled sales for more than 60 feature films, including Goodbye Pork Pie, An Angel at My Table and Once Were Warriors.
Trevor Spitz, who died in March 2012, was a key player in the 1989 launch of channel TV3. The musician turned promoter had begun working in television in the 70s as a talent scout and producer of entertainment shows, and won success — and controversy — with hit television export That's Country. He was influential in the careers of many performers, including comedic duo McPhail and Gadsby and singer Suzanne Prentice.
After producing her first short film for Niki Caro, Rachel Jean worked alongside veteran producer Owen Hughes on a host of documentaries, plus the occasional drama. Later Jean went solo, producing TV series Secret Agent Men, and The Market. After time as TV3’s Head of Drama and Comedy, she became Head of Development at South Pacific Pictures.
Producer Colin Follas worked on a long line of agriculture-related TV shows: from Country Calendar (which he regularly fronted, with such aplomb he was known as 'One Shot Follas') to specialist productions Ag Report and Farming with Pictures. He set up company Tiger Films, and produced shows ranging from corporate videos and food promotions to award-winning Treaty of Waitangi drama Nga Tohu: Signatures.
Catherine Saunders kicked off her radio career in 1961, then became a television announcer. She was a reporter for 60s magazine show Town and Around, and later began an extended run as a panelist on Selwyn Toogood’s Beauty and the Beast. In 1969 Saunders started working in public relations and marketing; she was a key player in marketing butter, Daffodil Day and the NZ Dairy Board’s 'Bigger Block of Cheese' campaign — one of the country’s most successful. She has also hosted TV's Tonight With Cathy Saunders, had her own Radio New Zealand slot, and produced RNZ hit Top Of the Morning for five years.
The career of Grant Bradley demonstrates that New Zealand producers can find many sources to fund their movies, beyond the beaten path to the Film Commission. Bradley set up company Daybreak Pictures in 1990. After producing more than 20 titles for Daybreak, he relocated to Australia in 2008 with his brother Dale. The duo established NZ and UK-based company Aristos Films in 2013.
Alan Erson captured the everyday lives of New Zealanders in 1990s documentary series First Hand. His directing credits also include Heartland and Nuclear Reaction. Since 2004 Erson has built a successful career in Australia as Head of Documentary and Factual Programmes for the ABC, and General Manager at Essential Media and Entertainment. In 2016 he became Managing Director at WildBear Entertainment.
Australian-raised Melanie Rodriga (née Read) moved to New Zealand in 1977, and worked as an editor. After adapting Keri Hulme story Hooks and Feelers, she wrote and directed feminist thriller Trial Run in 1983. In 1988 Rodriga was a best director finalist for pioneering TV drama The Marching Girls. Rodriga now lectures in film at Perth’s Murdoch University and continues to make and develop films.
With a background in film publicity in England, Nigel Hutchinson emigrated to New Zealand in 1974. After co-founding production company Motion Pictures, he went on to direct a run of award-winning TV commercials, and co-produce Kiwi movie landmark Goodbye Pork Pie. He passed away on 23 March 2017.