Samoan-born, New Zealand-raised director Sima Urale is our first prominent Samoan female director. Urale has brought touching stories of Pacific people to the screen, often from an NZ outsider’s point of view. Urale credits her film success to determination and dealing with social issues close to her heart.
John Milligan is an award-winning producer, director and writer who has worked on a wide range of shows for television. His many series credits include Maggie’s Garden Show, Epitaph, Shipwreck and Mucking In. Milligan was also producer and director of the documentaries Trio at the Top, New Zild and Von Tempsky’s Ghost.
Bruce Morrison's career as a producer, director and writer has brought some memorable New Zealand stories to the screen. He has been involved in a number of arts shows such as Kaleidoscope and Profiles, as well as poetry documentaries The Roaring 40's Tour and The Road to Jerusalem. Morrison directed the feature films Constance, Shaker Run and Queen City Rocker, and was a long-time director on Gary McCormick's iconic Heartland documentary series.
Director Tony Hiles has been making films and documentaries since the mid 1960s; from helming TVNZ staples such as Country Calendar, to independent docos and art films. In 1996 he won an NZ Film Best Director award for his debut feature Jack Brown Genius. His beginnings at TVNZ’s Avalon Studios in the 1970s, where he directed game shows, music, and current affairs programmes Founding production company City Associates with partner Judith Fyfe in 1980, and his experiences making local history documentaries Making films with artists Michael Smither and Robin Morrison, and the fun of small-crew, seat-of-your-pants shooting Being brought on board as consultant producer on Peter Jackson’s break-out splatstick debut Bad Taste Directing Good Taste Made Bad Taste, the movie’s ‘making of’ story His relationship with producer Jim Booth and the impact that his untimely death had on Jack Brown Genius
Peter Wells was an accomplished writer/director who explored gay and historical themes in his work. Among his screen credits are groundbreaking TV dramas Jewel’s Darl and A Death in the Family. Wells also created stylish feature film Desperate Remedies with co-director Stewart Main. In later years he collaborated with filmmaker Annie Goldson for documentary Georgie Girl.
Acclaimed Director of Photography Leon Narbey has had a hand in many of New Zealand’s best known films. He directed the feature film Illustrious Energy in 1987, and has been the DOP on other major film projects such as Desperate Remedies; The Price of Milk; and the smash hit Whale Rider. More recent films include the Topp Twins doco Untouchable Girls and Samoan language feature The Orator.
Director Gaylene Preston has been stretching New Zealand film in new directions since her early short films and her first feature, the genre and gender-bending Mr Wrong (1985). Long devoted to “communicating local stories to local audiences”, Preston features in Deborah Shepard’s book Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women.
Tom Finlayson is a producer, director and writer who has an impressive track record in New Zealand television. He began his TV career as a reporter on Town and Around, but quickly moved on to news producing, and eventually TV drama production. Finlayson produced the highly acclaimed kidult show Under the Mountain and the successful police drama Mortimer’s Patch, as well as the films Other Halves and The Grasscutter.
Rachel House is an accomplished theatre actor and director, but she has also established a strong screen career, beginning with gritty roles in Tiger Country and Queenie and Pete. Since then she has played both comedic and dramatic parts in a string of high profile movies including Whale Rider, Eagle vs Shark and Boy.
Anthony McCarten is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, who has also directed two of his own feature films. His screenplay credits include Via Satellite, The English Harem, Show of Hands and Death of a Superhero. McCarten's most successful screenplay to date is Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which won him a BAFTA award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015. McCarten was interviewed for NZ On Screen when he was in Auckland for the 2015 Big Screen Symposium, organised by Script to Screen.