Sam Neill moved from directing at the National Film Unit, to becoming one of New Zealand's most internationally successful actors. His resume of 60+ features includes lead roles in a number of local movies, from a man alone in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to an unusual reverend in Dean Spanley.
Producer/director Neil Harraway helped set up the Natural History Unit for TVNZ, which later became company NHNZ. Harraway worked for them for the next three decades, making spectacular nature documentaries including Under the Ice, Emperors of Antarctica and Journeys across Latitude 45 South. These days Harraway runs his own wildlife tourism business in Dunedin.
Hugh Macdonald’s long filmmaking career encompasses historical epics, Oscar-nominated shorts, and lots of time on the road. Macdonald is probably best-known for three-screen spectacular This is New Zealand, which got crowds queueing at World Expo in Japan, before playing for months back home. A two-decade long stint at the National Film Unit also saw him directing two episodes of historical epic The Governor, and producing the first of many animated shorts.
Internationally successful Kiwi film producer Finola Dwyer began her career as an editor at the National Film Unit and then moved on to editing and producing at TVNZ. Dwyer migrated over to the film industry and worked as an editor and producer. Some of the memorable New Zealand films she worked on include Came a Hot Friday, Starlight Hotel, and The Quiet Earth. In the 90s, Dwyer moved to the UK where she has made a name for herself producing films such as Backbeat, An Education and Dean Spanley.
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.
Broadcaster and sound historian Peter Downes began his radio career in 1947, producing entertainment programmes at Wellington station 2YA.
Sam Pillsbury is a self-described American-Kiwi who has made films in both New Zealand and the US. He began his prolific career at the National Film Unit directing the notable documentaries Ralph Hotere and Men and Supermen. Pillsbury’s first feature film was The Scarecrow, starring John Carradine, which was the first New Zealand film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival. Pillsbury co-wrote the script for The Quiet Earth, but 'fired himself' from the director role on the movie. His next major film was Starlight Hotel.
Miranda Harcourt got her screen break playing the bitchy Gemma on iconic 80s soap Gloss. Since then the versatile Harcourt has hardly taken a break - directing, teaching, plus acting in prisons, tele-movie Clare, and feature film For Good, among many other roles.
Radio and TV host Jim Mora began his career reporting for regional news show The South Tonight. From there, he moved on to One News and then joined Holmes when it debuted in 1989. Over the years Mora became a household name voicing and presenting popular shows including Tux Wonder Dogs, Maggie’s Garden Show and the long-running Mucking In. Mora was also involved with the creation of animated TV shows The Adventures of Massey Ferguson and Staines Down Drains, and is a regular host on RNZ National.
Dougal Stevenson started his broadcasting career as a continuity announcer, before moving into newsreading. He quickly became one of our most respected news anchors, initially with DNTV-2 in Dunedin, and then nationally. He left newsreading with the restructure of TVNZ that saw the news moving to Auckland, and has subsequently hosted and narrated a number of TV shows, and dabbled in film and television acting.