Globetrotting New Zealander Len Lye was a gifted innovator in many areas of the arts — film, painting, sculpture, photography, and writing. Inventing ways to make films without a camera, he became one of the pioneers of the genre later known as the music video. Later he moved to New York's Greenwich Village and became a leading figure in the kinetic art movements of the 1950s and 60s.
Ray Waru has been a prolific television producer and director since the 1970s, specialising in Māori, heritage and historical programming. He established the first Māori production unit and has been involved in a range of ground-breaking, award-winning shows, while operating his own media company for over 20 years. In 2006 Waru was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to broadcasting.
During a broadcasting career spanning more than three decades, versatile producer/director Peter Morritt produced and directed a run of shows for state television, from current affairs to talk shows, including the first two seasons of Fair Go. London-born Morritt retired in 1996.
After early screen work as a stuntman, Lawrence Makoare went on to don various disguises for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, including that of fearsome Uruk-hai Lurtz in the first film. In the same period he was nominated for an NZ Film Award for Crooked Earth, after co-starring opposite Temuera Morrison as a Māori radical running a dope operation. Since then he has played baddie Mr Kil in Bond movie Die Another Day, and was nominated again after playing a legendary warrior in Toa Fraser action film The Dead Lands. Makoare's work also includes big budget TV series Marco Polo and Cook Islands murder mystery Tatau.
During the late 80s and early 90s Lindsay Perigo anchored on a run of high profile TVNZ news and current affairs shows, where he gained a reputation as the “doyen of political interviewers” (Metro magazine). The opera-loving broadcaster abandoned television in 1993 — famously calling the medium "braindead" — and reinvented himself as an apostle of libertarian philosophical doctrines (on radio, in print and online).
A founding member of early electronic group Free Radicals, Jonathan Besser has composed for opera, ballet, theatre (Red Mole) and performance ensemble Bravura. Born in New York but New Zealand-based since 1974, Besser began adding screen compositions to his CV in the 90s. Since then he has composed extensively for documentary maker Shirley Horrocks, been award-nominated for 1995 documentary feature War Stories, and won a TV Guide Television Award for documentary A Cat Among the Pigeons. In 2015, Besser began composing for 3 News' World War One short documentary series, Great War Stories.
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.
Russell Campbell has been analysing film and television for more than four decades. A longtime lecturer in film at Victoria University, Campbell’s books include Observations, a volume on New Zealand documentary — a field in which he has extensive first-hand experience.
Christopher Plummer went from playing punk music to cutting film, first at TVNZ editing documentaries, and then on a slate of award-winning films. They include the shorts Sure to Rise (Niki Caro), and Possum (Brad McGann); and feature films Channelling Baby, In My Father's Den, Black Sheep, No.2, Vincent Ward doco Rain of the Children, and Taika Waititi's breakout hit Boy.
Actor Frank Whitten first won attention in 1984, playing the enigmatic farmer in Vincent Ward's breakthrough feature Vigil. Later he was known to many for his role as the Southern Man in the Speights "onya mate" commercials, and his ongoing appearances in Outrageous Fortune, playing the manipulative grandfather to the West clan. He died in February 2011.