The idea that New Zealanders often take for granted the depth of talent in the local screen industry is well illustrated by the career of Flux Animation founder Brent Chambers. Most Kiwis would have seen at least one example of his prolific output, yet few would be able to put a face or a name to his work. Chambers was tireless in building a competitive and viable international business, with a distinct local identity.
Writer Erica Kent (née Molloy) began working in screen production having graduated Auckland University in 1999, and earned a certificate in Television Production at Avalon Film and Television School. Since then, her writing projects have ranged from children’s TV to the big screen, and crossed to magazines and fiction. Shows she has worked on include children’s television staples Suzy’s World and Sticky TV. In 2013 she wrote short film Hope’s War, the tale of a Kiwi teenager whose German ancestry causes him problems during WWll. Kent is also the creator, writer and co-producer of children’s series Maia the Brave.
Remembered by his colleagues as “the leader in capturing New Zealand scenery on film from 1923 to 1954”, Bert Bridgman began his career as a cameraman in the days of silent film, and later directed the Centennial film One Hundred Crowded Years. He served as a war correspondent in the Pacific for the National Film Unit and was chief colour cameraman at the time of his death.
His name was synonymous with entertainment in New Zealand. Dubbed Ol' Brown Eyes — Māoridom's version of Frank Sinatra — Howard Morrison's voice and charisma carried him through decades of success both here and abroad. From the Howard Morrison Quartet to time as a solo performer, Morrison's take on songs like 'How Great Thou Art' ensured his waiata an enduring place at the top of local playlists.
Aaron Watson's career path has been anything but dull. He's acted in children's television programmes (eg InFocus and Oi), performed at the 1996 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his friend Duncan Sarkies, and spent 14 years as a tour guide in Russia and Central Europe. Dunedin-raised, Watson turned to producing in 2011, working with friend Jackie van Beek on short films In Safe Hands (a 2012 NZ Film Award winner) and Go the Dogs (2012 Berlin Film Festival). In 2017 the pair released their first feature film The Inland Road. Watson has gone on to produce feature comedy This Town, from Wellington filmmaker David White.
Former Spot On presenter Ian Taylor, CNZM, is the founder of computer graphics company Animation Research Limited. ARL made its name providing real-time sports graphics at the 1992 America's Cup, and has gone on to apply their technology to golf, cricket, tennis and Formula One car-racing around the globe.
Tangata Whenua, A State of Siege, Utu, Smash Palace, The Quiet Earth, Illustrious Energy...The resume of soundman turned producer Don Reynolds covers the modern renaissance of New Zealand film. After starting his own sound companies, Reynolds has gone on to production roles in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
From The Governor to The Lord of the Rings, Martyn Sanderson's distinctive voice and sideburns were part of New Zealand's screen landscape for three decades. His work ranged from the experimental to the mainstream, including directing feature films (Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree) and personal documentaries.