Producer Grahame McLean was one of the pioneers of the New Zealand feature film industry. In his long career, he was worked in many roles - props manager, assistant director, production manager, line producer, director, scriptwriter and producer. His first job in the screen industry was on the early 70s independent TV drama The Games Affair, and he went on to produce films including Sons for the Return Home, A Woman of Good Character, and Should I be Good? The special guest interviewer is McLean's industry colleague John Barnett.
Musician, artist, writer and director Greg Page began his film career in Hamilton in the early 90s, making music videos for local bands. Since then the international award-winning filmmaker has written and directed several short films, including claymations Decaff and The New Zealand Centenary of Cinema, as well as Sarah's Washing, and his feature film The Locals. Page’s boundless energy has also given rise to some of NZ’s most memorable music videos for top recording artists like Scribe, The D4 and Elemeno P.
Thedownlowconcept is an Auckland-based production company run by Ryan Hutchings, Jarrod Holt and Nigel McCulloch. Their first TV production was music quiz show Pop Goes the Weasel. They cemented their TV comedy credentials with hit show 7 Days, and followed it up with ‘science for blokes’ series Bigger Better Faster Stronger and acclaimed comedy series Hounds. Thedownlowconcept have also made a number of short films for the 48 Hour Film Festival including the award-winning Only Son.
John Terris is a former broadcaster turned politician, who started out as a continuity announcer in the early 1960s. Shifting behind the camera, Terris worked on many early current affairs and information shows such as Compass, Country Calendar and Town and Around. In 1978 Terris became Labour MP for Western Hutt, and for a time was the party's broadcasting spokesman. These days he heads television advocacy group Media Matters.
Will Hall fell into a screen career by accident after hanging out with filmmakers at Lincoln University - an unlikely scenario given his study towards a commerce degree. Since then, Hall has forged a career both in front of and behind the camera. Hall’s introduction to trans-Tasman film work had some teething problems, but on returning to NZ he landed a key role in The Insiders Guide to Happiness. Roles in Eagle vs Shark, Shortland Street and tele-feature Bloodlines followed, as well as Underbelly - Land of the Long Green Cloud and Nothing Trivial. Hall also co-produced and acted in his own feature film Netherwood, described as NZ's first modern day western thriller.
Film and television writer/director Michael Bennett has been involved with some of New Zealand’s favourite TV dramas, including Street Legal, Mercy Peak and Outrageous Fortune. He has written and directed two acclaimed short films – Cow and Kerosene Creek, and penned the feature film Jubilee. In 2010 he directed his first feature - Matariki.
Nick Ward is a prolific and award-winning screenwriter. He attracted notice with the hit feature film Stickmen, a Wellington lads-on-the-make tale that potted him the best script gong in the 2001 New Zealand Film and TV Awards. He originated, and then co-wrote, popular recycling relationship comedy Second-Hand Wedding (2008); and wrote the original script for Love Birds (2011). His TV screenwriting credits include Outrageous Fortune, Burying Brian, Nothing Trivial and The Cult. Ward has also worked in front of the camera, co-presenting The Big Art Trip with Douglas Lloyd Jenkins.
Stu Dennison was a much-loved TV presenter in the 1970s who introduced his ‘naughty schoolboy’ character and thumbs up to a generation of Kiwi kids, on show Nice One Stu. Sometimes he played sidekick to popular TV host Roger Gascoigne. After Dennison ended his on-air career, he re-invented himself as a sports producer at TVNZ.
Lisa Chappell first won fame playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern in 1980s glamour soap Gloss. In the 90s she moved to Australia and landed a starring role McLeod’s Daughters. Between small screen gigs, Chappell appeared in period romp Desperate Remedies. In 2009 she returned to New Zealand to play the gun-toting Sophie in TV drama The Cult.
Chas Toogood is an award-winning documentary producer and director whose work has showcased the strength and determination of the human spirit. He began his career as a news journalist and then moved on to a series of high profile documentaries including the Legends of the All Blacks series, Mark Inglis documentary No Mean Feat, and Sir Peter Blake – The Boy From Bayswater. Toogood has gone on to direct episodes of Wild Coasts with Craig Potton and Coast New Zealand.