Director Gaylene Preston has been stretching New Zealand film in new directions since her early short films and her first feature, the genre and gender-bending Mr Wrong (1985). Long devoted to “communicating local stories to local audiences”, Preston features in Deborah Shepard’s book Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women.
Geraldine Brophy describes herself as a character actress, but her television and film roles have been very memorable ones. She played the lovable Moira Crombie in Shortland Street for four years, before moving on to roles in Serial Killers, The Insiders Guide to Love, and Outrageous Fortune. One of her favourite roles was playing the control freak bureaucrat Marion in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby. More recently Brophy danced up a storm on Dancing with the Stars, and had a small but memorable part in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. In 2008, she received a NZ Film and TV Award for best actress for her lead role in the feel-good feature film Second-Hand Wedding.
John Toon is an award-winning cinematographer who has worked all over the world and in many genres. His early New Zealand TV jobs include The Governor and Moynihan, while his movie credits include Rain, Sylvia and Sunshine Cleaning (all shot for his wife, director Christine Jeffs), plus Broken English and Mr Pip.
Robin Scholes is one of our most prolific feature film producers. Her credits include Once Were Warriors, Broken English, Rain, Crooked Earth, The Tattooist, and Mr Pip. She has also produced hundreds of hours of television, including Magic Kiwis, The Big Art Trip, Heroes, Greenstone, The Chosen and Burying Brian.
Jodie Rimmer grew up in a sporty family whose dinner time conversations were more likely to be about the latest rugby or netball news than the finer aspects of television performance or character arc. Fast forward a handful of years and it's Rimmer’s stand-out performances as Donna Chisholm in the David Doherty inspired tele-feature Until Proven Innocent, or as Wendy Snowden (Mrs Peter Cook) in international feature Not Only But Always that might now be the topic of some dinner party conversations.
Selwyn Toogood is still remembered as Mr It’s in the Bag, despite a broadcasting career which ran more than 50 years. Karyn Hay is known as Ms Radio with Pictures, despite being reborn as a radio host and award-winning novelist. And Russell Smith will be forever associated with milk-mad vampire Count Homogenized, despite a long career acting on stage and screen.
Award-winning singer and actor Annie Whittle has tried most things in the entertainment business and has been successful at all of them. She has appeared in a range of home-grown TV shows including A Week of It, The Makutu on Mrs Jones, The Billy T James Show, Heartland, Shortland Street, and Outrageous Fortune. She has also graced the silver screen in the feature films Trial Run and The World’s Fastest Indian.
The late Frank Torley was a Kiwi television legend, forever known as that Country Calendar guy - he variously narrated, directed, produced, and reported for the show over more than 40 years. But Torley hadn’t always been Mr Rural. He also spent time as a newsreader, Top Town presenter, documentary maker (including an early doco on AIDs), and producing religious programmes.