Donogh Rees is an accomplished actress in theatre and on screen. Her feature film debut was playing the lead role in Constance. She won a Film and TV award for her portrayal of a woman with a head injury in the film Crush, and in 2012 was seen playing Lady Capulet in an unorthodox film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Her most well known television role was playing Nurse Judy Brownlee in Shortland Street, but she has been in a number of TV shows such as Marlin Bay, Xena and the mini-series Fallout.
Veteran producer John Keir has had a long career producing both documentaries and films. He has collaborated on several film projects with director Grant Lahood, including Lemming Aid and Chicken. Keir has also produced large live TV events such as the Sir Edmund Hillary special On Top of the World and Anzac Day coverage for Māori Television.
Actor Rena Owen found fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in hard-hitting feature film Once Were Warriors. She went on to spend two decades years in Los Angeles, though she returned to New Zealand to act in Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's TV movie Piece of My Heart.
Grip Annie Frear trained in television production at the ABC in Australia, and then returned to New Zealand and forged a distinguished film career working on such titles as E Tipu E Rea, Desperate Remedies, The Piano, Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up Another Obelisk, and Peach. Frear was the Grip Co-ordinator for the massive production undertaking that was The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Producer Larry Parr has had a hand in producing a number of classic New Zealand films, including Sleeping Dogs, Came a Hot Friday and Smash Palace. He has also made forays into directing with Fracture and A Soldier's Tale. After three years as Head of Programming at Māori Television, Parr became Television Manager at Te Māngai Pāho, which funds Māori radio and TV programmes.
Dunedin-born Alan Dale always had his sights set on brighter lights: first Auckland, then Sydney, then Los Angeles, where he now lives. He started out performing in amateur theatre, but came to professional acting late, taking a DJ slot on Radio Hauraki in his late 20s, followed by a role on the Hauraki-inspired series Radio Waves. Moving to Australia, Dale appeared on The Young Doctors, before playing the fondly remembered solo father, Jim Robinson, for almost a decade on Neighbours. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has often played bad guys, authority figures and moguls on series including ER, Lost, NCIS, 24, The X Files and Entourage, plus high profile roles on The OC and Ugly Betty, and parts in feature films including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dale has returned to New Zealand for only two series: Plainclothes and Auckland Daze. He also appeared in Flight of the Conchords on HBO, playing the Australian Ambassador.
Gordon Dryden has had a long and distinguished career in journalism, public relations and broadcasting. He became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the 1970s, fronting sports and then current affairs programming. Dryden made a name for himself as a tough interviewer on The Friday Conference, and as a talk radio host. In recent years, Dryden has developed education books both in print and online.
Veteran producer/director John Laing has worked in film and television in New Zealand, Canada and the UK. His feature films include the Arthur Allan Thomas-inspired Beyond Reasonable Doubt, cross-cultural romance Other Halves and thriller Dangerous Orphans. Laing has also directed a long list of popular drama series for TV, including Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, Street Legal, Inside Straight and Marlin Bay; plus tele-feature Safe House.
Cinematographer Waka Attewell is something of a legend in the Kiwi film industry. From landmark 70s TV series Tangata Whenua, he has gone on to climb mountains with Sir Ed; shoot commercials, shorts and six and a half features — including the acclaimed Starlight Hotel — plus direct Ian Mune doco In the Shadow of King Lear.
Taika Waititi [Te-Whānau-a-Apanui] acted in movies Scarfies and Snakeskin, TV show The Strip (sometimes under the credit Taika Cohen), and appeared on stage as a stand-up comedian. Turning his creative energies towards directing, he made Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night, and Tama Tū, based on the experiences of The Māori Battalion in WWII. He has gone on to great success directing (and sometimes appearing in) feature films.