Special effects man and designer Richard Taylor got his break making puppets for 80s TV series Public Eye. He has gone on to become a key part of the Weta effects empire, supervising the creation of orcs, zombie mishaps and miniature cityscapes for a run of movies and TV shows. A passionate advocate for Kiwi talent, Taylor and his team have scored three New Zealand film awards, four BAFTAS and five Academy Awards.
Douglas Drury was one of a group of producers who lead an expansion of local television drama at a time — the mid 60s — where New Zealanders rarely saw their own stories on screen. Later, as second in command of state television’s drama department, he helped launch landmark series Pukemanu and initiated NZ's first situation comedy, Buck House. Drury passed away in Australia on 5 February 2016.
Jeremy Dillon began as an actor, did time as a children's show host and found his true calling as the creator of the friendly monsters seen on shows like The Moe Show and Pop-Up. In 2010 he set up production company Pop-Up Workshop, with friend Zane Holmes.
While still in his 20s Chris Thomson was given command of a number of landmark local TV dramas, including genre-hopping colonial tale The Killing of Kane and The Alpha Plan (1969), New Zealand’s first dramatic television series. After time working for the BBC, he moved to Australia and began a long and busy career as a director, including credits on high profile mini-series 1915 and Waterfront. Thomson died on 1 July 2015.
Fascinated by every stage of the television process, Zane Holmes began in the backroom as an editor and has gone on to stints in producing, directing and visual effects. After getting his directing break on hit Being Eve, he later joined Jeremy Dillon as a partner in company Pop-Up Workshop,which specialises in shows for children. They followed series Pop-Up with The Moe Show, starring a friendly creature with big ears.
Vanessa Alexander attracted attention as a rookie director with her low-budget feature Magik and Rose (made when she was just 28). She has compiled an impressive list of achievements as producer (Being Eve, Cargo), director (opening episodes of Outrageous Fortune) writer (Agent Anna), script editor and mentor, and lecturer at the University of Auckland. Alexander currently lives and works in Australia.
Liz Mitchell has designed costumes for catwalk, TV and Kiwis striding the red carpet at the Oscars. Her screen credits include power-dressing soap Gloss, and Front Lawn classic Walkshort. She now masterminds the creation of a range of clothing designs, from high end to Farmers, through fashion label Liz Mitchell. She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, for services to the fashion industry.
Kathryn Burnett is a screenwriter, playwright and script consultant. Her scriptwriting credits include The Cul de Sac, and award-winners The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, The Strip, Holly's Heroes and short film Shelved. Past recipient of a British Council television scholarship, Burnett co-created 2009 drama series The Cult. She also teaches screenwriting workshops.
David Blyth cemented his place in the Kiwi filmmaking renaissance with two films that left social realism far behind: 1978 experimental feature Angel Mine, and 1984's Death Warmed Up, New Zealand's first homegrown horror movie. Since then Blyth's work has included family friendly vampire film Moonrise, a number of documentaries on war, and varied works exploring sexuality.
One of New Zealand’s leading TV actors, Jeffrey Thomas was born in Wales and graduated with a Master of Literature from Oxford University. Since arriving in Wellington in 1976, his credits have included Close To Home, Gloss, Shark in the Park, Mercy Peak, Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune. In the 80s he starred in a Welsh language drama series. An award-winning playwright, he has also acted extensively on stage.