Since the 1970s, producer John Barnett has been instrumental in bringing a host of uniquely Kiwi stories to local and international screens, from Fred Dagg to Footrot Flats, from Whale Rider to Sione’s Wedding and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, from iconic soap Shortland Street to the wildly successful Westie family drama Outrageous Fortune.
Producer Elizabeth Mitchell set up Firehorse Films to produce the popular TV3 animated comedy series bro'Town. Mitchell was a print journalist turned television promotions director, and her only experience in animation prior to bro'Town was a TV ad on the white spotted tussock moth.
Shortland Street producer Steven Zanoski’s first job in television was as a writer/reporter on kids programme What Now? He went on to become a storyliner for Shortland Street and eventually the programme’s producer. During his time as a writer on the show, he also penned the screenplay for one-off TV drama House of Sticks. Zanoski has also had a hand in the development of Outrageous Fortune and executive produced Mataku and Mercy Peak.
David Harry Baldock’s long TV career includes submarines, sea rescues, ailing prime ministers and psychics. The onetime editor began making his mark as a director and producer on current affairs and a run of documentaries. In 1988 he left state television to launch production company Ninox, whose prolific output would grow to include Sensing Murder, Mitre 10 Dream Home, award-winner Pacific Rescue and ambitious documentary series Our People Our Century.
Ainsley Gardiner (Te-Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Awa) fell in love with the magic of the big screen while growing up in Whakatane, where you could find her most Fridays at the local cinema catching the latest release. Her first formal foray into film and television came in 1995 when she joined producer Larry Parr at Kahukura Productions, eventually producing low budget feature Kombi Nation (2003) and co-producing the 26-part comedy/drama TV series Love Bites (2002). Following the demise of Kahukura, Gardiner teamed up with Taika Waititi to work on Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night. Soon after that she established Whenua Films with actor/producer Cliff Curtis. Together the trio struck creative gold with World War II short Tama Tū, Waititi's debut feature Eagle vs Shark and box office hit Boy.
Robert Boyd-Bell has made a huge contribution to the development of TV news reporting in New Zealand. He began his career as a reporter with the fledgling NZBC News service in the mid 1960s, and later headed the northern newsroom of TV One in the 1970s. Boyd-Bell has also worked as a documentary producer, and was instrumental in setting up educational television services eTV and The Knowledge Breakfast. He is a keen advocate for public service broadcasting.
Actor and writer Tim Balme has played an integral part in the NZ film and television scene for longer than he chooses to remember, having portrayed good guys, bad guys, the guy next door, creepy guys, dopey guys, lovable guys, clever guys and almost every other guy in between. Lately, Balme has diversified his portfolio and worked as a writer and in drama development.
Simon Prast made his television debut in cop drama Mortimer’s Patch. Best known for playing spoilt rich kid Alistair Redfern in Gloss, Prast’s biggest film role was playing a gay man in 1998 movie When Love Comes. He also has a strong background in theatre, and for 11 years ran the Auckland Theatre Company.
After making her television debut on Shortland Street in 2004, Siobhan Marshall won fame as straight-talking sister Pascalle West over six seasons of Outrageous Fortune. In 2005 she won celebrity singing contest Sing Like a Superstar. More recently she made a guest appearance on The Almighty Johnsons, and starred with her Outrageous screen sister Antonia Prebble as co-star of The Blue Rose.
Producer Dave Gibson ran Wellington-based company the Gibson Group for more than three decades - producing movies, documentaries, television drama and comedy, and even making shows for mobile phones and interactive walls for museums. Gibson is now the head of the New Zealand Film Commission.