Seasoned stand-up comedian Rhys Darby played an inept band manager on cult hit Flight of the Conchords. It proved a springboard to wider fame. After feature acting roles on both sides of the Atlantic, Darby took the lead role in Kiwi rom-com Love Birds. 2014 saw the debut of comedy Short Poppies. He went on to act in the 2017 remake of Jumanji, and cameoed as Psycho Sam in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Globetrotting director Dean Cornish's credit reel ranges from Intrepid Journeys to bold buildings, Extreme Tribes to Rachel Hunter, sex trafficking to This Town. Trained at Christchurch's NZ Broadcasting School, Cornish has produced films in more than 90 countries and crafted a reputation as a go-to guy for travel stories. He shared a Best Director gong at the 2011 Aotearoa Film and TV Awards for Making Tracks.
Australian-born director Michelle Walshe worked in the screen industry in the United Kingdom, then moved to New Zealand in 2001. She worked for production companies Greenstone and Eyeworks, before co-founding Augusto Productions in 2008. Walshe has helmed corporate campaigns for clients from golfer Lydia Ko ('Ko Goes Pro') to Adidas. In 2014 she directed kids TV show Kune’s Kitchen, and co-directed Rhys Darby comedy series Short Poppies; in 2016 Walshe and Justin Pemberton helmed Chasing Great — the film about All Blacks captain Richie McCaw broke box office records for a local documentary.
Auckland-born but long based in the United Kingdom, Andrew McAlpine studied fine arts at Nottingham University, then began designing for a variety of stage projects. By the 1980s he had moved into music videos, and film. He has gone on to collaborations with directors Danny Boyle (The Beach) and Spike Lee (Clockers), and in 1993, Bafta glory with The Piano, the first of three films helmed by New Zealand directors. The others are Toa Fraser's shaggy dog tale Dean Spanley, and Rhys Darby romance Love Birds.
South African-born Faye Smythe immigrated down under with her family aged 11. In 2005 she joined the cast of Shortland Street. Five years as nurse Tania Jeffries saw her character beat an addiction to prescription drugs, an abusive relationship and a marriage derailed by a partner who got her lesbian sister pregnant. In 2011 Smythe made her movie debut in comedy Love Birds, playing the woman who dumps Rhys Darby’s character.
Known for his reliably offbeat sign-off, David Farrier joined at TV3 in 2006, direct from a Bachelor of Communication Studies at AUT in Auckland. As entertainment reporter for late night show Nightline, his interviews ranged from Hollywood stars to the sublimely ridiculous. In 2014 he joined Rhys Darby as the reporter on mockumentary show Short Poppies. Farrier left TV3 and concentrated on a documentary about the dark underside of competitive tickling, which he directed with Dylan Reeve. Tickled was invited to the Sundance Film Festival in early 2016; it proceeded to win sales, lawsuits and widespread acclaim.
After learning the ropes making short films and music videos, ex-soldier Matthew Metcalfe has made films in Antarctica and Iraq, and produced movies and TV movies with partners in Canada (Nemesis Game), England (Dean Spanley) and France (Capital in the 21st Century). His projects range from tutus (ballet feature Giselle) to war (animated film 25 April).
Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he appeared on 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. Following his big screen debut in Tongan Ninja, he starred in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and acted in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
David Fane is an award-winning actor and writer on stage and screen. He played multiple characters in animated TV hit bro’Town, dispensed wise words as Falani on Outrageous Fortune, and was a founding member of comedy group The Naked Samoans.
Paul Murphy began his wide-ranging career in childhood, as part of roving performance clan Blerta. Later he worked as a grip — grips set up and operate the equipment used to move the camera — on his father Geoff's film Never Say Die, plus many more productions. Paul moved into directing with 2001 short Sox. In 2007 he made self-financed feature Second-Hand Wedding. The tale of family and garage sales was a big local hit. Next came Rhys Darby romantic comedy Love Birds (2011). In 2019 Murphy began filming crime caper Lowdown Dirty Criminals with actors James Rolleston, Robbie Magasiva and Rebecca Gibney.