Michele Fantl has produced a number of acclaimed telemovies, features and documentaries. Along the way, she has worked extensively with writer/directors Peter Wells, Stewart Main, Garth Maxwell and Fiona Samuel. Her screen credits include movies When Love Comes and 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous, and award-winning Katherine Mansfield tele-feature Bliss.
After two decades as a print journalist, Robyn Scott-Vincent moved to television, where she reported for the primetime news, Top Half and Holmes. Since moving into producing and directing, she has worked on a number of documentaries including Kirsa. A Mother's Story, Cindy's Diary and Grammar Boys. These days Scott-Vincent runs Attitude Pictures, making award-winning series Attitude.
After 10 and a half years as CEO of the NZ Film Commission, Ruth Harley stepped down to head across the ditch to helm Screen Australia. Doctor Harley quickly moved into management in the film and television sector, initially at TVNZ in the 1980s, then as the first Executive Director of newly formed funding body NZ On Air. In 1997 she was appointed CEO of the Film Commission.
Tandi Wright spent some of her childhood in the dressing room at Avalon TV Studios - waiting for her actor parents to finish work on Close to Home. But rather than encouraging her to follow suit, Wright insists they were always 'realistic about how nearly impossible it is to make a career out of acting'. She agrees - but seems to have pulled off the impossible anyway. Wright has been acting for television since the age of six, playing lead roles in some of New Zealand’s top productions including Shortland Street, Willy Nilly, Being Eve, Serial Killers, Outrageous Fortune, This Is Not My Life and Nothing Trivial. Her film credits include Not Only But Always, Black Sheep, and Out of the Blue.
Kate Elliott began her life on screen after attending an audition at school. Since winning that role - as a bulimic, sexually abused, self-mutilating teenager in House of Sticks - Elliott has starred in many of New Zealand’s major television productions including Street Legal, The Insiders Guide to Love, The Cult, Shortland Street, and played Katherine Mansfield in tele-feature Bliss. Her film credits include Toy Love, The Locals, and Fracture.
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.
Celebrated actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand began her career as a child and made her screen debut on Paul Maunder-directed Gone Up North for a While aged nine. In her teens she played rebellious Jan in soap opera Close to Home, attended drama school, and on venturing into the professional world, started winning roles, including TV series Seekers, with Temuera Morrision. Her film roles include the colonial glamour drama Desperate Remedies.
Actor Mia Blake made her screen debut in ensemble comedy film Hopeless, which then became the TV series Lovebites. In 2006 Blake won an NZ Screen Award for her role in Toa Fraser film No. 2, then starred in horror movie The Tattooist. Blake was nominated again after playing a woman giving birth in short film This is Her. Blake has gone on to act in The Millen Baird Show, Auckland Daze and Golden.
Shavaughn Ruakere began her screen career as a presenter on kids TV show What Now?, and later graduated to music channel C4 after a stint on UK morning show SM:TV. Since then Ruakere has made the switch to acting, and appeared in a number of shows including The Jaquie Brown Diaries and a long stint in Shortland Street as Roimata Ngatai.
As a high schooler, Melanie Lynskey came to international attention in her first screen role, playing Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nominated feature film Heavenly Creatures. Since then, the New Plymouth-born, Los Angeles-based actress has gone on to work with many of Hollywood’s biggest names, playing Drew Barrymore’s step-sister in Ever After, Matt Damon’s wife in The Informant, and George Clooney’s sister in Up in the Air. She has also had a scene-stealing guest role as Rose on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom Two and a Half Men. Lynskey has returned to New Zealand to star in feature films Snakeskin and Show of Hands.