A clever thinker whose love of stories bridged the gap between art and commerce, producer Don 'Scrubbs' Blakeney helped set the NZ film industry on a path of rapid expansion, and financed such pioneering films as Utu and Goodbye Pork Pie.
Leanne Saunders’ eye for talent has resulted in producer credits on six features: box office hits Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Born to Dance, Nazi horror The Devil’s Rock, and dramas Desert, The Weight of Elephants and Christmas. She also executive produced a run of successful shorts. In 2016 Saunders was appointed Head of Production and Development at the NZ Film Commission.
Barrie Everard was a significant player in the local movie business over four decades. After many years distributing films in a highly competitive market, he went on to found the Berkeley Cinema chain. Everard produced 1987 adventure movie The Leading Edge and executive produced Never Say Die. He was the first exhibitor/distributor to sit on the board of the NZ Film Commission, and was chair from 2002 to 2006. He died on 14 November 2016.
Ruth Harley has been a leader and change agent across 30 years in the screen industry. She was commissioning editor at TVNZ, then the first Executive Director of NZ On Air. From 1997 she spent a decade as CEO of the NZ Film Commission, then crossed the Tasman to head the newly created Screen Australia for five years. In 1997 Harley was awarded an OBE, and in 2006 was named a CNZM.
Self-taught editor Cushla Dillon moved from shorter works to features with Harry Sinclair's Topless Women Talk about their Lives: both the bite-sized TV series then the movie, for which she won her first NZ film award. Dillon has gone on to edit shorts, documentaries, and many more features — including The Price of Milk, Orphans & Kingdoms, and award-winning documentary This Way of Life.
Dave Gibson is one of New Zealand's most experienced producers. Under his command, company Gibson Group made programmes for local and international audiences for over three decades. In 2012 Gibson was admitted to the Order of NZ Merit for services to the screen industry; in 2014 he sold his shares in Gibson Group, and began a four-year stint as Chief Executive of the NZ Film Commission.
An upbeat and hugely positive character, Jim Booth is best known as the Film Commission boss who gave Peter Jackson his big break. He later became Jackson’s producer, completing three films before succumbing to cancer in 1994.
Glenn Standring is a writer/director with a background in animation and computer graphics. His 1996 short Lenny Minute was accepted into competition at Cannes. To date his feature films have been southern gothic takes on the occult/horror genres. He also provided the script for historical action tale The Dead Lands, directed in 2014 by No. 2 talent Toa Fraser.
Kiwi Chris Dudman studied film at Ilam and London’s Royal College of Art; his graduation short was nominated for a student Oscar. After working on arts documentaries in the UK, Dudman returned to NZ in 1995. Since then he has directed drama shows (the high-rating Harry), documentaries (The Day that Changed My Life), attention-grabbing shorts (Choice Night), and a number of high profile ads for his company Robber’s Dog.
Since making 2003 short Blood and Bone, Eek has worked in various production roles, including line-producing features A Song of Good and The Most Fun You Can Have Dying. In 2009 he produced ambitious short Manurewa. Largely self-funded, it won the Crystal Bear in the Generation 14plus section at Berlin 2011. Eek also helped shepherd shorts via the NZFC 'premiere' shorts scheme, as part of Robber’s Dog Shorts.