In 1986 Footrot Flats: The Dog's (Tail) Tale and its theme song ‘Slice of Heaven’ were huge hits in New Zealand and Australia. The adaptation of Murray Ball's beloved Footrot Flats comic strip marked Aotearoa's first animated feature. There were a lot of big questions to answer: Will Wal become an All Black? Will Cooch recover his stolen stag? Will the Dog win your hearts and funny bones? Punters answered at the box office. This John Toon-shot trailer doubled as a promo for the Dave Dobbyn-Herbs song, and smartly leveraged both. Tony Hiles writes about the film's making here.
Director Tony Hiles has been making films and documentaries since the mid 1960s; from helming TVNZ staples such as Country Calendar, to independent docos whose subjects have ranged from the making of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste to architect Bill Toomath, and an ongoing series of films involving artist Michael Smither. In 1996 he won an NZ Film best director award for his debut feature Jack Brown Genius.
Two of Andrew Bancroft’s early short films won awards — science fiction tale Planet Man was the first New Zealand short to win the Critic's Week section at the Cannes Film Festival. Aside from his own shorts and a run of arts documentaries for television, Bancroft has also helped develop a successful slate of short films for other directors.
Swami Hansa (sometimes credited as Anand Hansa or Malcolm Nish) was operating a camera in 1962, the day TV began broadcasting in Dunedin. Hansa has been shooting ever since, his work ranging across natural history, human interest and the arts. His CV includes many episodes of the long-running Heartland, plus such noted docos as Birth, Kiwi - A Natural History and Horizon doco The Man Who Moved Mountains, made for the BBC.
Rewa Harre's work as camera operator and cinematographer encompasses documentary, short films, commercials, and a long run of dramas for the big and small screen. Harre has worked extensively with director Sima Urale — shooting her acclaimed short film O Tamaiti, and winning a Qantas Award in 2009 for Urale's debut feature, Apron Strings. Harre made his own feature debut when he shot 1998 romp I'll Make You Happy, directed by Athina Tsoulis. He went on to shoot Geoff Murphy's final dramatic feature, Spooked (2004).
Owen Hughes segued directly from university to a job at independent production company Pacific Films. Since establishing his own company Frame Up Films in 1977, Hughes has gone on to produce 40 plus documentaries and many dramas. Along the way he has nurtured the talents of a number of directors early in their careers, including Niki Caro, Fiona Samuel and Jessica Hobbs.