Best known for his music videos, Elam graduate Tim van Dammen began dabbling in acting, bands and photography as a teen. Inbetween drumming for Collapsing Cities, he has directed two no-budget features and 160+ videos, including clips for Sola Rosa, Boh Runga and Kids of 88. His third feature Romeo and Juliet: A Love Story, launched at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival. It combined Shakespeare, many songs and trailer trash. Five years later the festival was set to play van Dammen's action comedy Mega Time Squad.
Jonno Woodford-Robinson has edited everything from features (Taika Waititi's debut Eagle vs Shark) to commercials (such as Telecom's Meerkats campaign). Woodford-Robinson's other features include Alison Maclean's The Rehearsal, Mahana and pioneering Fijian film The Land Has Eyes. A frequent collaborator with director Jason Stutter, Woodford-Robinson's projects include Stutter's adaptation of novel Predicament. After several nominations, he picked up his first New Zealand Film Award in 2017 for his work as co-editor (with Mike Horton) of Lee Tamahori's rural drama Mahana.
Brooke Williams began taking acting lessons at the age of four. At 17 she acted for director Colin McColl in The Cherry Orchard. Since then the 2006 Toi Whakaari graduate has won awards after starring in Romeo and Juliet, and contributed a trio of memorable roles on television: as Van's Russian bride on Outrageous Fortune, depressed Norse goddess Eva on The Almighty Johnsons, and icy PA Lana Jacobs on Shortland Street.
Veteran producer Michael Stedman, ONZM, was commander of Dunedin's Natural History Unit and head of programme production for TVNZ — at the same time. In 1997 he helped arrange the deal that saw the unit sold to Fox Television and renamed NHNZ, while still keeping its main base in New Zealand. Stedman became managing director of one of the world's largest producers of wildlife and factual programming.
Jono Smith was 14 when he won the starring role as teenager Ned Poindexter in 50s-era coming of age classic The Scarecrow. After leaving school, Smith joined TVNZ and became a camera assistant. Since relocating to England in 1993 he has shot a raft of television projects, short films, and four features. In 2010 he co-produced acclaimed movie Sus.
Sophia Hawthorne, who died in February 2016, starred on stage in Cabaret, Closer and Romeo and Juliet. After a number of short films — including the moody She’s Racing — she got breakthrough screen roles in movies When Love Comes and Savage Honeymoon (playing wild child Leesa Savage). Further nominations followed for TV’s Insiders Guide to Happiness. She was daughter of actor Elizabeth and director Raymond Hawthorne.
The films of Gregor Nicholas have won international attention and a host of awards. His work as a director crosses the gamut in style and subject: from acclaimed short film Avondale Dogs to All Black commercials for Adidas, from interracial love story feature Broken English, to experimental music-based short films for From Scratch.
John McKay is a veteran sound editor, sound designer, and mixer. He abandoned an early focus on directing to build a diverse, respected career in post-production. His credits include significant contributions to iconic films The Quiet Earth, Footrot Flats, Kitchen Sink, and Lord of the Rings. McKay is notable for an approach which combines creativity with a high level of technical craft and organisational rigour.
Joe Hitchcock began in film after his stop motion short Kismet played at the 2005 Screamfest in Los Angeles. He has since found a niche as a cinematographer and director, working on shorts, adverts and music videos. In 2010 Hitchcock was nominated as Best Director at New Zealand's Show Me Shorts film festival, for The North Pole Deception. He made his feature directing debut with Penny Black (2015), a road movie pairing a supermodel and an anarchist. Since then he has directed much travelled short Stick To Your Gun and several short documentaries, and shot campaign footage for future PM Jacinda Ardern.
Hutt Valley-raised actor Cameron Rhodes has had an award-winning stage career, including starring as Cyrano de Bergerac in Adelaide and touring NZ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Aside from theatre and coaching work he has also done his share of screen roles, including an award-nominated turn in I’m Not Harry Jenson, the evil Prince John in NZ-shot adventure series Dark Knight, and the counsellor in 2014 hit Housebound.