Chairman of company Greenstone TV, Richard Driver first broke into television as host of music show Radio with Pictures. After directing documentary Hokonui Todd, the ex singer ran production company Visionary TV and produced music series Give it a Whirl and award-winner Love, Speed and Loss. He went on to create and programme Sky TV's Documentary Channel for four years, before selling it to the BBC.
Multi award-winning editor Bryan Shaw has helped forge documentaries about strikes, artists and the sinking of the Wahine. In recent years he has added drama work to his CV, including episodes of Outrageous Fortune, Westside, The Almighty Johnsons and feature comedy The Devil Dared Me To.
Billy T James ranks as a key figure in the development of Kiwi comedy. Billy honed his talents as a singer and comedian on stages worldwide, then brought them to a local TV audience on throwback show Radio Times. His self-titled comedy show was a major ratings hit. His turn as the Tainuia kid in Came a Hot Friday is still fondly remembered — as is Billy T's infectious chuckle, black singlet and yellow towel.
Alan Smythe is the impresario behind long-running family concert Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. His diverse CV includes being founding editor of the London Review of Books, playing cello for the Paris Opera, and hosting TV talent quest The Big Time. Behind the scenes, he adapted short stories for pioneering drama series Winners & Losers and About Face, and worked with director Roger Donaldson on some of his earliest films — including co-directing a film with him about motorcycle racer Geoff Perry. In 2001 Smythe became the founding head of Auckland University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.
Producer Steven Orsbourn has 30+ years of screen industry experience. As a cameraman, he shot everything from travel to sport (he was embedded with the All Blacks and David Tua), and was nominated for four NZ TV Awards. After producing high profile rugby films (including Qantas Media award-winner The Test), he shifted platforms to digital, leading content production at the NZ Herald online and Culture.
John Gilbert has edited images of hobbits, disabled lovers, and heroic conscientious objectors. Along the way he has done time at TVNZ, edited over 20 feature films, and cut a clutch of classic short films. In 2017 Gilbert won his first Academy Award — for Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge — after having been previously nominated for The Fellowship of the Ring.
Ted Coubray was one of Aotearoa's earliest filmmakers to sustain a full-time career. In the 1920s he began filming local events for screenings in town halls around the Manawatū. He went on to shoot a number of feature films, including his own hit Carbine's Heritage. When sound hit the film industry in the late 20s, the inventive Coubray pioneered his own sound on film system, Coubray-Tone. He died on 10 December 1997. Image credit: taken from Geoff Steven documentary Adventures in Māoriland
Beth Tredray began working in sound at Radio New Zealand, and the National Film Unit. Often on contract to TVNZ, she worked on shows Close Up and Top Town. Going freelance as a sound recordist in the early 90s, she began moving into sound design in the mid 2000s. Since then Tredray has designed the soundtracks for hit documentary Tickled and Emmy-nominated telefilm The Golden Hour.
David Blyth cemented his place in the Kiwi filmmaking renaissance with two films that left social realism far behind: 1978 experimental feature Angel Mine, and 1984's Death Warmed Up, New Zealand's first homegrown horror movie. Since then Blyth's work has included family friendly vampire film Moonrise, a number of documentaries on war, and varied works exploring sexuality.
Peter Elliott has been a fixture on New Zealand television for over three decades. Award-nominated as the scheming Rex Thorne on 80s soap Gloss, he would go on to win for tele-movie Until Proven Innocent, and spend four years on Shortland Street. Elliott has also guided viewers through New Zealand's history as host and narrator of shows Explorers, Captain's Log, and Frontier of Dreams.