Described by author Emma Jean Kelly as a flamboyant "champion of New Zealand culture", Jonathan Dennis was the founding director of The Film Archive in 1981 and led the organisation into a bicultural era. Dennis, who headed the Film Archive for nine years, was praised for making films more accessible. He also made documentaries (Mouth Wide Open, Mana Waka) and presented Radio New Zealand's Film Show.
Best-known as an outspoken and award-winning columnist, Rosemary McLeod devised and was principal writer on iconic 80s soap Gloss. McLeod was a newspaper reporter for years before moving into broadcasting. She eventually became a sitcom writer and script editor both in New Zealand and Australia, and was among the first women to write a sitcom in either country.
Producer Tash Christie's screen credits span from motorway patrols to outsider art. Now working at company Greenstone TV, Christie has produced documentaries The Women of Pike River and Qantas award-winner A Good Way to Die? (alongside her partner Dan Salmon). She has also worked on a run of primetime documentary and reality shows, from Neighbours at War to The Big Ward.
If director and producer Peter Coates was a superhero, he’d surely be ‘Renaissance Man’. His contribution to championing the arts on television is arguably heroic, and his career multi-faceted. From 1971 to 2004 Coates produced, directed or scripted hundreds of TV productions covering a smorgasbord of topics, from operas to soap operas, and from portraits of New Zealand artists to rugby coaching films.
Morton Wilson began composing for film while playing in band Schtung. Hagen and fellow band member Andrew Hagen went on to provide music for a quartet of Kiwi movies, including The Scarecrow and Kingpin. In 1981 they moved to Hong Kong and got even busier, composing commercials. Wilson went on to oversee Schtung sound studios in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, while Hagen launched Schtung in Hollywood.
Since scrapping a career as a teacher in 1978, actor Desmond Kelly has appeared on screen in more than 40 roles. Often playing the straight-talking working class Kiwi bloke, Kelly has contributed memorable performances to Smash Palace (as Bruno's co-mechanic), The Scarecrow (as the hero's Dad), Springbok Tour telefeature Rage (as rugby union boss Ces Blazey) and as the swagman co-star in TV series Jocko.
Globetrotting New Zealander Len Lye was a gifted innovator in many areas of the arts — film, painting, sculpture, photography, and writing. Inventing ways to make films without a camera, he became one of the pioneers of the genre later known as the music video. Later he moved to New York's Greenwich Village and became a leading figure in the kinetic art movements of the 1950s and 60s.
Veteran actor Elizabeth McRae, NZOM, is probably best-known for her long-running role as Shortland Street receptionist Marjorie Brasch. Alongside her work as a theatre actor and voice coach, her screen work includes leading roles in the Return Journey episode of anthology series About Face, and Nancy Brunning short Journey to Ihipa.
With a career spanning half a century, there's not much in the entertainment industry John McCready hasn't seen. From record company A&R to radio management and TV programming McCready built a reputation as a tough competitor with his finger on the pulse of public taste.
After winning awards for her acting at Wellington Girls' College, Tina Grenville was named 1964's Model of the Year. But it's as an actor, both in New Zealand and Australia, that she is best known. Highlights from a 14 year stint across the Tasman include Logie-winning show The Godfathers, and soap The Restless Years. Back home, she played spirited mother Val Johnstone in short-lived drama Homeward Bound, and co-hosted 80s show Good Morning. She also featured in early horror film Death Warmed Up, and black comedy Predicament. Grenville's autobiography A Life in Three Acts was published in 2012.