Alun Falconer started his film career at the National Film Unit in 1946. Early in 1948 he and cameraman Roger Mirams left the NFU and founded the Pacific Film Unit. A year later he went to China where he worked as a journalist and was an eyewitness to the fall of Shanghai. He left in 1950 for London where he returned to film production and later made his name as a television script writer.
Broadcaster Hugo Manson fronted the news on Wellington station WNTV-1, and went on to report for current affairs shows throughout the 70s and early 80s. He is probably best known for a stint presenting iconic consumer affairs programme Fair Go. Off screen, Doctor Manson’s career ranges from oral history expert, a PhD in education (from England's Bath University) to real estate agent and author. He also co-founded the NZ Oral History Archive (now part of the National Library of New Zealand) with Judith Fyfe, and has taught and helped create oral history courses at Aberdeen University in Scotland.
Dunedin-born actor Colin Tapley found character parts gave his movie career longevity. Tapley argued that the average time for a leading man in 1930s Hollywood was seven years. He played supporting roles in pre-World War II Hollywood films, and after the war extended his career into the late 60s with performances in British movies and TV. His best remembered film is 1955 classic The Dam Busters.
It wasn't just Alan Sharp's movies that travelled. The straight-talking scriptwriter was raised in Scotland, sold much of his work to Hollywood, and from 1983 until his death in February 2013, wrote many scripts from his "turangawaewae”, a summer house on Kawau Island. His work included Rob Roy, Burt Lancaster classic Ulzana's Raid, Night Moves and the award-winning Dean Spanley, directed by Kiwi Toa Fraser.
Scots-born Erik Thomson moved to New Zealand at age seven. In the mid 90s his career took off, after he began acting in Australia. In 2004 he won an AFI award for feature Somersault, then later starred in Aussie TV hit Packed to the Rafters and NZ drama/comedy We're Here to Help. In 2016 Thomson won a Best Actor Logie for his role in TV series 800 Words, as an Australian widower who moves his family to NZ.
Producer Lloyd Phillips won an Academy Award in 1981, for short film The Dollar Bottom. South African-born Phillips was raised in New Zealand, where his first feature, Battletruck, was shot. He went on to establish a globetrotting Hollywood career, working on The Legend of Zorro, 12 Monkeys, Inglourious Basterds and Vertical Limit (also shot in New Zealand). Phillips died of a heart attack on 25 January 2013.
Michael Seresin's talent behind the camera has taken him to Turkey (Midnight Express), NYC (Fame), Ireland (Angela's Ashes) and Scotland (Harry Potter). Seresin, now an NZOM, began at indie company Pacific Films, where he mostly filmed documentaries. Since then — apart from commanding the camera on Kiwi classic Sleeping Dogs — he has largely worked overseas, often alongside powerhouse British director Alan Parker.
John Bates is a documentary director whose low profile and natural modesty belies his talent. His award-winning documentaries range across many iconic New Zealand people and events, including the 1951 waterfront dispute, the 1975 Māori Land March, late photographer Robin Morrison, and the history of television itself.
For 20 years Kathleen O'Brien was the only woman director at the government's National Film Unit. Her films were invited to festivals overseas. Known for her work involving children and education, O'Brien's directed comical road safety short Monkey Tale (1952), and the moving Story of Seven Hundred Polish Children (1966).
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.