Steve Roche is one third of Plan 9, a musical collective whose CV of soundtracks includes 20 plus features and over 130 hours of television. Roche first played with David Donaldson and Janet Roddick in celebrated band Six Volts. Since then they have won multiple soundtrack awards, and worked on everything from Forgotten Silver to What We Do in the Shadows. Roche also plays in bands Thrashing Marlin and The Labcoats.
Bret McKenzie is one half of musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie and Jemaine Clement found international fame with the cult HBO comedy, which followed the duo's fictional efforts to 'make it' in New York. An Oscar-winner after writing songs for The Muppets (2011), McKenzie's screen career began after a brief role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy helped win him a cult following.
David Donaldson is one third of Plan 9, a musical collective whose CV of soundtracks includes short films, 20+ features, and over 130 hours of television. Donaldson and colleagues Janet Roddick and Steve Roche all played in celebrated band Six Volts. Since then they have won multiple soundtrack awards, including for films Predicament and Perfect Strangers. Donaldson also plays in Thrashing Marlin and The Labcoats.
The same year she graduated from drama school Toi Whakaari, Dannevirke-raised Jessica Grace Smith won a starring role in Diagnosis: Death, as a young cancer patient investigating ghosts. Smith rejoined the film's director Jason Stutter to co-star in his black comedy Edwin: My Life as a Koont. Then she headed to Australia. A week before she was planning to relocate to Los Angeles, she scored an ongoing part in Aussie soap Home and Away. In 2019 Smith landed the role of a young Cheryl West for the fifth season of Westside. Smith has also directed programmes, including short Everybody Else is Taken.
Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he appeared on 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. Following his big screen debut in Tongan Ninja, he starred in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and acted in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
Seasoned stand-up comedian Rhys Darby played an inept band manager on cult hit Flight of the Conchords. It proved a springboard to wider fame. After feature acting roles on both sides of the Atlantic, Darby took the lead role in Kiwi rom-com Love Birds. 2014 saw the debut of comedy Short Poppies. He went on to act in the 2017 remake of Jumanji, and cameoed as Psycho Sam in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Some jobs never make the headlines; in the screen industry, one of those unsung positions is the production manager. After seven years on film sets in Asia, Brian Walden returned home in the mid 70s to production manage the shoots of many classic TV dramas, from Hunter’s Gold to Hanlon. In 1985 he went freelance, keeping a firm hand on shoots involving horses, hospital porters, vampires and underwater aeroplanes.
Jason Stutter’s first movie was cult kung-fu caper Tongan Ninja (2002). Since then he has alternated features – self-funded comedy Edwin: My Life as a Koont, stylish Ronald Hugh Morrieson adaptation Predicament – with shorts, including the hit Careful... series, riffing on the dangers of inattentive tool use. His next feature, haunted house tale The Dead Room, was released in New Zealand in October 2015.
Christian Rivers began his screen career drawing images of zombie carnage for Peter Jackson classic Braindead. Since then his career has been closely intertwined with Jackson's. After designing creatures on The Lord of the Rings, Rivers won an Oscar for his visual effects contributions to the 2005 remake of King Kong. These days he concentrates on directing: after assisting on The Hobbit, he helmed moody short film Feeder (2015). At one point tied to a possible Dambusters remake, Rivers makes his movie debut with post-apocalyptic epic Mortal Engines, based on the award-winning book by Brit Philip Reeve.
Kevin Stevens is a Wellington producer who began by working with special makeup effects and visual effects. He ran sales companies before working with director Jason Stutter on a run of quirky Careful with that... short films. Stevens was a producer on Careful with that Crossbow and feature comedy Edwin: My Life as a Koont, which he also co-wrote. In 2015 the pair collaborated on haunted house tale The Dead Room.