Canadian-born to New Zealand parents, writer and director Alison Maclean helmed one of the most successful NZ Film Commission-funded short films of all time, Kitchen Sink, which debuted at Cannes and won eight international awards. A graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, she has directed feature films Crush (which she also wrote) and Jesus’ Son. A director of commercials and television series including Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, Maclean divides her time between New York, Canada and New Zealand, and she is developing several feature films.
Irene Wood has played Katherine Mansfield, a nymphomaniac pensioner, and a gin-toting grandma to a Go Girl. Her screen career first got busy in the early days of NZ TV, as an actor, TV presenter, and musical performer. Years later she would snare what is probably her best-known role: as a hard-drinking grandma over five seasons of hit show Go Girls. Wood has also appeared on Shortland Street and in movies Rest for the Wicked and The Shirt.
Radio DJ Simon Barnett has done his share of television too. His screen debut was as a presenter on long-running kids’ show What Now?.
Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio Waves, Duggan, Serial Killers, The Almighty Johnsons, Nothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and docu-drama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.
Sara Wiseman first got the acting bug while volunteering on the set of Peter Jackson’s feature film Heavenly Creatures. She began her career as a stuntwoman alongside Zoe Bell, but gained her first big acting break in the drama series Street Legal. Her best known New Zealand role is Dr Nicky Sommerville on Mercy Peak. Some of Wiseman’s other screen credits include Mataku, Sione’s Wedding, Outrageous Fortune and Jinx Sister.
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.
The Almighty Johnsons is a fantasy/comedy series that screened on New Zealand television over three series from 2011 to 2013. The show is about a family of brothers who are descended from Norse gods, desperately trying to restore their powers. While not a huge ratings success in New Zealand, the series has won a cult following in a number of countries.
Award-winning actor Luanne Gordon has fought Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess, run a strip club in The Strip, and played a tough detective in Interrogation. She has also appeared in a range of feature films including Stickmen, King Kong, and Irish comedy Sensation.
Alison Bruce is an award-winning actress who has played a diverse range of film and TV characters. She has starred in New Zealand’s long-running soap Shortland Street and some of our biggest TV dramas such as Shark in the Park, Mercy Peak and the kidult comedy Being Eve. Her film career includes roles in The World’s Fastest Indian, An Angel At My Table, and Reckless Behaviour.
Craig Parker made his television debut in 1980s soap Gloss, before starting a four year stint on Shortland Street as womanising social worker Guy Warner. After checking out of the long-running soap, Parker played a doctor on Mercy Peak, a villain in Legend of the Seeker and starred as the hapless diplomat in Diplomatic Immunity. His other screen credits include Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Spartacus.