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.
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.
Film producer Don “Scrubbs” Blakeney came from a background in finance. Returning from working overseas in the 1970s, he met pioneering filmmakers Grahame McLean and John Barnett. Blakeney had become disillusioned with the corporate world, and ended up drifting into the film industry as unit caterer on Sleeping Dogs. In 1979, his background in both finance and film made Blakeney the ideal first Executive Director of the newly-established New Zealand Film Commission. He later produced Geoff Murphy’s classic Māori western Utu. Veteran producer and industry colleague John Barnett is Blakeney's guest interviewer.
Tom Parkinson is a veteran television producer and director who has worked on iconic Kiwi TV shows such as Hunter’s Gold, Hudson and Halls and Telethon. Parkinson was a key force behind many of our hit comedies in the 70s and 80s, including Billy T James’ shows, A Week of It, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy. Parkinson is also a former Head of Entertainment Programmes at TVNZ, and helped launch TV3.
Anthony McCarten is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, who has also directed two of his own feature films. His screenplay credits include Via Satellite, The English Harem, Show of Hands and Death of a Superhero. McCarten's most successful screenplay to date is Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which won him a BAFTA award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015. McCarten was interviewed for NZ On Screen when he was in Auckland for the 2015 Big Screen Symposium, organised by Script to Screen.
Graeme Cowley is a cinematographer with an impressive line-up of features to his credit including Smash Palace, Utu, and Carry Me Back (which he also produced). Cowley also set up pioneering equipment hire company Film Facilities with Nigel Hutchinson, to bolster the range of camera equipment available to independent filmmakers. He was a prime mover behind the restoration of Utu, Utu Redux.