Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to pursue opportunities. Currently working as head of the production company he created, Great Southern Television, Smith also had an eventful career in journalism before moving into producing. He was once expelled out of Tanzania while working as a print journalist, and sold his first production company for several million dollars while still in his early 30s. Great Southern has produced Lion Man, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of NZ and The Cult. Smith lives in both Auckland and Queenstown, where he does a lot of brainstorming out in his woolshed.
With a career born from student radio, Paul Casserly shifted his focus from music to television in the 1990s.
Producer/director Gary Scott has spent time in the newsroom, the museum, and on location. Trained as an historian and journalist, Scott has been producing with Wellington company Gibson Group for more than a decade - though he began his screen career as an assignment editor, in the stressful world of primetime TV news. Alongside his TV work at Gibson Group, Scott also helps the company develop multi-media experiences for museums.
Award-winning documentary maker John Bates is a Scotsman who has lived in New Zealand for over 40 years. His documentaries have covered a range of genres, from the arts — Sense of Place: Robin Morrison Photographer, Reflections - Gretchen Albrecht — to social issues — New Faces Old Fears, Crime and Punishment — to history: 1951, Banned - 100 Years of Censorship in New Zealand. In 2010, Bates directed and produced acclaimed series 50 Years of New Zealand Television.
Actor Paul Gittins biggest screen role to date is as Doctor Michael McKenna, the original boss of the clinic on long-running soap Shortland Street. He has also acted in a number of movies, including Other Halves, The End of the Golden Weather, and The Whole of the Moon. Gittins’ love of history led to the creation of popular docudrama series Epitaph, which he hosted and sometimes directed.
Roger Horrocks is an academic and writer who has mentored many figures in the New Zealand screen industry. Horrocks began teaching film studies at Auckland University in the 1970s, at a time when film was looked down on by academics. He helped launch the Auckland Film Festival (the precursor to the New Zealand International Film Festival), and was a founding board member of funding body NZ On Air.
John Harris was the long-time owner of one of New Zealand’s biggest production companies: Greenstone Pictures. He began his television career at TVNZ working in news and current affairs and helped launch Top Half. Moving into the private sector he produced a number of TV shows including That’s Fairly Interesting and Heroes. In 1994 he created Greenstone Pictures, and went on to produce a huge range of TV shows such as The Zoo; Epitaph; Motorway Patrol; and Neighbours at War. In 2010 Greenstone acquired the production company Cream Media, and more recently Harris has sold Greenstone.
From reporting to scriptwriting and acting, Keith Aberdein has been a part of some of New Zealand’s biggest television and film moments. His screen career began as a journalist on Town and Around and Compass. Aberdein has scripted major TV shows such as Pukemanu, Section 7, Moynihan, Close to Home, and the colonial epic The Governor.
Director Tony Hiles began making commercials and documentaries in the mid 1960s; from helming staples like Country Calendar, to independent docos and art films. In 1996 he won an NZ Film Best Director award for his debut feature film Jack Brown Genius.
John Milligan is an award-winning producer, director and writer who has worked on a wide range of shows for television. His many series credits include Maggie’s Garden Show, Epitaph, Shipwreck and Mucking In. Milligan was also producer and director of the documentaries Trio at the Top, New Zild and Von Tempsky’s Ghost.