Christchurch editor, artist and animator Ken Clark turned a childhood passion for magic and monsters into stop motion animation. After making student films, a decade at TVNZ saw him editing staples across news, sport, and children's programming. He also designed titles for After School and CGI for What Now?. Since 1990 Clark has tutored in animation; his shorts have shown in galleries and festivals.
Tim Capper's urge to make inanimate objects move has taken on animation, stop motion and digital effects. After working on commercials and The Frighteners, George Port tapped him to create effects for the final seasons of Xena and Hercules. Capper has gone on to supervise effects for Spartacus and many Taika Waititi projects, and directed music videos and award-winning stop motion promos (for road safety and MTV).
The founding member of Oscar-winning special effects house Weta Digital, George Port laboured for seven months solo on the digital effects for Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. He went on to found Auckland effects company PRPVFX, which has supplied special effects for Xena: Warrior Princess, Rain of the Children and Green Lantern.
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.
Dunedin businessman and artist, Fred O’Neill, whose hobby of making quirky animated films brought him international recognition, sent his Plasticine hero to Venus thirty years before Nick Park got Wallace and Gromit to the Moon. O’Neill’s films encouraged children not to take up smoking, brought Māori legends to the screen in a novel way, and entertained young viewers in the early years of New Zealand television. Image credit: Stills Collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Courtesy of the Fred O'Neill collection.
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.
Barry Prescott has directed puppets, policemen, politicians, and plasticine figures. After time as an actor, he made a trio of short films using stop motion animation. In 2005 oddball live action tale The Man Who Couldn’t Dance began winning awards at a wide range of festivals. Since then Prescott has combined directing, design and advertising work with occasional writing on What Now? and Dancing with the Stars.
Tom Reilly was named new filmmaker of the year thanks to a showreel that included his short film Man with Issues. Reilly's shorts and commercials have often mixed traditional stop motion animation with digital effects. In 2010 he scored festival acclaim with feature Gordonia, chronicling battles between an eccentric car yard owner and Waitakere City Council, then directed a trio of doco series for Wellington’s Gibson Group.
Veteran animator Euan Frizzell brought his artist's hands to almost every form of the genre, from traditional cartoons to stop motion to computer generated animation. Along the way, he animated stories by local legends Margaret Mahy and Lynley Dodd, and directed and animated for Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and Fred Flintstone. Frizzell died on 23 September 2012.
Working with his brother Phill, Jeff Simmonds has created a run of quirky ‘documation’ films, which retell real-life stories using traditional 2D-style animation. The films from the SPADA 2006 New Filmmaker of the Year (shared with Phill) include family history tale A Very Nice Honeymoon and disintegrating band chronicle The Paselode Story.