Pietra Brettkelly is an award-winning New Zealand filmmaker who travels the world to make her documentaries. The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, her Sundance-selected film about international adoption, won best director and documentary at the 2009 Qantas Film and TV Awards. Māori Boy Genius was invited to the Berlin, Sydney and NZ Film Festivals.
Kiwi Pietra Brettkelly travels the globe making documentaries.
Jude Dobson became famous in New Zealand as co-host of nightly game show Sale of the Century. She went on to present a range of lifestyle series on TVNZ including Open Home, Alive and Kicking, and NZ Living. In 1997 she began hosting five nights a week magazine show 5:30 with Jude. Since then she has set up her own production company and produces media content about parenting.
Production manager Brian Walden proved a near unstoppable force during the mid 70s dawn of Kiwi TV drama. Known as 'the Sarge' to those who worked with him, Walden was on location to bring in a slew of classic dramas, on time and budget: among them were Hunter’s Gold, The Mackenzie Affair, Gather Your Dreams, Mortimer's Patch and legal classic Hanlon. In the mid 80s he left TVNZ to go freelance, and helped produce everything from vampire movie Moonrise to TV's The New Adventures of Black Beauty.
Tom Parkinson is a veteran television producer and director who has worked on iconic Kiwi TV shows such as Hunter’s Gold, Hudson and Halls and Telethon. Parkinson was a key force behind many of our hit comedies in the 70s and 80s, including Billy T James’ shows, A Week of It, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy. Parkinson is also a former Head of Entertainment Programmes at TVNZ, and helped launch TV3.
Catherine Saunders has worked in both broadcasting and public relations. She began as a radio announcer in 1961 and produced a number of documentaries, before crossing over to television. In the mid 60s, Saunders reported for Town and Around (she was paid half the amount of the male reporters). Later she spent 12 years as a panelist on Beauty and the Beast, and hosted chat show Tonight with Cathy Saunders. In the 90s, Saunders co-hosted 50 Forward, a show aimed at older viewers.
The late Marcia Russell was an award-winning journalist and TV writer/producer with a long career in New Zealand media. Her first television role was as host of the 1970s talk show Speakeasy. Russell moved on to news and current affairs roles with TVNZ, and helped set up the fledgling TV3 news department in the late 1980s. She was involved with some of the most notable documentary series produced in New Zealand such as Landmarks and The New Zealand Wars. Russell also produced the four-part documentary series Revolution, which chronicled the rise of the Lange Government and its impact on the New Zealand economy and society. Russell was awarded an OBE for services to journalism in 1996 and was a recipient of the Academy of Film and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Eager to join the television industry, Janine Morrell-Gunn started off as an intern with TVNZ in 1985. She began by directing news and current affairs stories, before taking on various production roles on shows such as McPhail and Gadsby, Fast Forward, Spot On, and Beauty and the Beast. Morrell-Gunn was appointed Executive Producer of TVNZ’s Children’s Unit, but when this was moved to Wellington in the late 90s she opted to stay in Christchurch. With husband Jason Gunn, she set up Whitebait TV and has subsequently produced a myriad of children’s TV shows such as Bumble, Wannabes, and the re-launched What Now?.
With over 30 years experience in the television industry, Michael Stedman has done just about everything behind the cameras. He began as an editor and moved on to directing and producing for TVNZ. While there he produced shows such as Beauty and the Beast, University Challenge and numerous sport and news programmes. He has held senior positions at television networks in New Zealand and Australia, and is currently the Managing Director at Natural History New Zealand.
Costume designer Barbara Darragh is the creator of Xena’s iconic outfit, Billy T James’ look as the Tainuia Kid in Came a Hot Friday, and has won awards for her work on the feature films The End of the Golden Weather and River Queen. Darragh’s television credits include Under the Mountain, Greenstone, Hercules and Xena, and, most recently, Spartacus.