Tessa Hoffe’s directing credits include Shortland Street and iconic British soaps Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Grange Hill. The Wellington raised filmmaker has written and directed six short films, all selected for international film festivals. She has also directed children’s dramas, including World’s End and Bafta-nominated family tale Rocket's Island.
Luke Nola is the creator of madcap children’s show Let’s Get Inventin’, which over seven seasons spawned awards, dozens of inventions — and 11 successful patents. The show screened in more than 30 countries. Nola began as a graphic designer, and the advertising world soon led him to television; he has also directed children’s shows Life on Ben and The Goober Brothers, in which he played one of the Goobers.
Neil Stichbury trained as a photographer. After a short stint directing for TV3 and Communicado, he began a busy decade making commercials with Republic Films partner Simon Mark Brown. His partnership with director Luke Nola resulted in a run of kids shows, including Let’s Get Inventin’, whose escapades spawned multiple seasons and overseas sales. Stichbury is now developing further screen projects.
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.
Ronald Hugh Morrieson fashioned dark yet exuberant novels from the provincial Taranaki towns where he spent most of his life. A classic Kiwi example of a writer who won increasing fame after death, Morrieson remains one of New Zealand's most filmed writers, despite writing only four books.
American-born Steve Sachs is the producer of drama/comedy Savage Honeymoon and horror movie The Locals. He also produced the television series True Life Stories and a number of acclaimed short films.
Miranda Harcourt's career has seen many notable excursions into screen work — from finding early fame on beloved soap Gloss to ambitious big screen drama For Good, which she acted in and helped produce. In 2017 she made fantasy The Changeover, with her husband Stuart McKenzie. As an acting coach, Harcourt has worked with everyone from Melanie Lynskey to Nicole Kidman.
English literature graduate and former share trader John Campbell joined TV3 as a reporter in 1989. In 1997 he began fronting his own current affairs segment on 3 News. John Hawkesby's resignation in 1998 saw Campbell drafted in to read the 6pm news with Carol Hirschfeld. In 2005 he moved to 7pm for Campbell Live, and hosted it for a decade. After returning to Radio New Zealand, he joined TVNZ in 2018.
After completing a philosophy degree at Canterbury University, Gillian Ashurst set off for five years overseas, including a journalism diploma in London. Back in New Zealand, she studied filmmaking. Her second short film, alien on earth tale Venus Blue (1998), was invited to 12 international festivals, including Sundance. Follow-up Sci-Fi Betty won further film fest invites. Ashurst's first, and so far only feature — road movie Snakeskin — won six NZ Film and Television Awards in 2001, including Best Film. She has since written and directed documentaries on scientists Ernest Rutherford and William Pickering.
Elam School of Fine Arts graduate Summer Agnew first made his mark with acclaimed documentary Minginui (2004), which he co-directed with fellow Elam graduate Adam Luxton. The film offered a moody portrait of a former mill town. The SPADA New Filmmaker of 2007 followed it with episodes of Let's Get Inventin' and New Artland — plus short film Patu Ihu, which played at festivals in Aotearoa and overseas. In 2016 Agnew and Luxton's 'speculative documentary' On an Unknown Beach was chosen to debut in the NZ International Film Festival. Agnew has also directed a run of music videos and commercials.