Tony Williams is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished directors; his career has spanned five decades. Williams began working with noted film producer John O’Shea at Pacific Films in the 1960s and shot two features, and directed nine documentary films. In the 1970s he directed his first feature film Solo, and a series of documentaries including Getting Together, The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe, Take Three Passions, Rally, and Lost in the Garden of the World. Though not a household name himself, Williams has directed some of the most iconic TV commercials in New Zealand. These include: Great Crunchie Train Robbery, Dear John, SPOT and the infamous Bugger commercials.
Late comedian and writer Jon Gadsby was an integral part of the local comedy landscape. With his long-time friend and colleague David McPhail, Gadsby headlined some of New Zealand's most iconic comedy shows this country has produced. They first teamed up in the 1970s for A Week of It, which took pot-shots at politicians, news, and everyday life. The pair then moved on to the long-running McPhail and Gadsby. Gadsby also penned rural comedy Rabbiter's Rest and co-created Letter to Blanchy.
Despite starring in Kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie, playing 'a good true blue basic Kiwi joker' in Home by Christmas, and scoring for the All Blacks, Tony Barry marks a rare Australian entry in our ScreenTalks. The veteran actor cemented his relationship with the Kiwi screen as early as 1971, when he appeared in landmark TV series Pukemanu. Barry went on to tour New Zealand (and his homeland) in Bruno Lawrence’s genre-bending musical group Blerta, then drove a yellow mini to Invercargill in the iconic Goodbye Pork Pie.
Scott Blanks helped launch New Zealand's stand-up comedy scene in the 1980s. The owner and co-founder of Auckland's iconic comedy club The Classic muses about building the live comedy scene and other subjects, including: Getting his start in showbusiness when he was 19, acting in an amateur production of West Side Story Helping form comedy group Funny Business, and being a jack of all trades on their early gigs: "provide a stage, get the lights and sound sorted, and the marketing and the promo..." Starting a rookie comedy night at Auckland pub Kitty O'Brien's, where several comedians (e.g Brendhan Lovegrove, Sugar and Spice) first got their break The excitement of finding and setting up New Zealand's first dedicated live comedy club, The Classic, in 1997 How television stand-up show Pulp Comedy boosted The Classic's audience How his accounting degree helped save The Classic when it ran into money troubles
The late Barry Barclay [Ngāti Apa] was one of New Zealand's most respected filmmakers. He directed such landmark titles as TV series Tangata Whenua, award-winning film Ngati, and The Feathers of Peace. Barclay was also a longtime campaigner for the right of indigenous people to tell their own stories to their own people.
Rock'n'roll couple Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan have both had long and varied careers in New Zealand music and media. They have been night-time hosts on Radio Live, but Fagan spent many years as the lead singer of pop band The Mockers, and Hay was the long-time host of iconic music show Radio with Pictures. Hay and Fagan are also both published authors.
Rosemary McLeod devised sitcom All Things Being Equal and iconic 80s TV soap Gloss. Best-known for her outspoken columns, she talks in this extended Funny As interview about battling sexism in the 1970s, and more, including: Gloss being the most fun she had in her television career, and laughing uncontrollably with producer Janice Finn Being told her voice was too deep for the radio, because it would "make men think of bedrooms" Falling into journalism after submitting a piece to the Sunday Times about a weird weekend spent with hippies Memories — comedic and emotional — of her time in Australia writing and script editing sitcoms for the ABC Hating women being portrayed as passive and witless in 1970s TV comedies, which motivated her to write more complex parts (e.g. Ginette McDonald's character in sitcom All Things Being Equal) Finding her schtick of "offending and annoying" people, when she started writing and cartooning about feminists in The Listener
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.
Kelly Johnson is best remembered for his lead role in the iconic Kiwi film Goodbye Pork Pie. He followed that success with roles in the films Carry Me Back, Bad Blood, Battletruck and Utu. In more recent times, Johnson has worked as a lawyer, but he still does occasional guest acting roles, including in Shortland Street and Maddigan’s Quest.
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.