Mark Albiston has racked up awards at festivals in Cannes, Berlin and Salt Lake City, thanks to short films Run and The Six Dollar Fifty Man (which he co-directed with Louis Sutherland). After a UK OE, Albiston returned home to launch Sticky Pictures, where he began winning gongs for arts shows The Living Room and The Gravy. Alibston and Sutherland's 2013 feature Shopping won further awards and acclaim.
Two of Louis Sutherland’s short film collaborations with Mark Albiston have been invited to Cannes: 2007 drama Run (which Sutherland also stars in), and The Six Dollar Fifty Man — both won special mentions. Their 2013 feature film Shopping screened at Sundance and Berlin, where it won a Grand Prix. The drama school grad’s acting talents have graced TV's The Insiders Guide to Love and Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby.
Sometime actor Taika Waititi has clearly sunk his teeth into directing. His 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night was Oscar-nominated. Second feature Boy (2010) became the most successful Kiwi film released on its home soil — at least until the arrival of Waititi's fourth movie, Barry Crump inspired adventure comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In 2017 Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok became an international hit.
Producer and talent agent Arani Cuthbert has had a long association with legendary performing duo The Topp Twins — including producing their TV show Topp Country, and hit movie documentary The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls.
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.
German-raised Alexander Behse has produced a run of documentaries exploring Māori subjects, from ta moko to te reo Shakespeare, to acclaimed Tūhoe HQ story Ever the Land. Behse got an MA in production from UTS Sydney, and has many TV credits as an editor. He made his directing debut with 2012 TV documentary Nazi Hunter, and was at the helm of award-winning TV series Radar Across the Pacific.
PI Kiwi Oscar Kightley is a writer, actor, presenter and director. After co-creating The Naked Samoans, he worked with the comedy troupe on five seasons of hit series bro’Town, NZ's first animated show to play in prime-time. Kightley has also worked with the Samoans as an actor and writer in hit feature Sione’s Wedding and its 2012 sequel. In 2013 he took on a serious role, starring as the detective in TV series Harry.
Christchurch-raised Tearepa Kahi began acting and playing saxophone as a teen, then spent two years in a theatre troupe run by Jim Moriarty. He went on to study history and Māori at Auckland University, and act — including a role in landmark te reo film The Māori Merchant of Venice (2002). Since then he has directed documentaries, award-winning shorts, and movie Mt Zion, starring Stan Walker — the most successful local cinema release of 2012. Kahi followed it with two feature-length music documentaries: acclaimed, Moa-nominated hit Poi E: The Story of Our Song, and 2019's Herbs - Songs of Freedom.
Lee Tamahori worked his way up the filmmaking ranks, before debuting as a feature director with 1994's Once Were Warriors. The portrait of a violent marriage became the most successful film in Kiwi history, and won international acclaim. Between Warriors and 2016's Mahana, Tamahori has worked mainly overseas, where he has directed everything from The Sopranos to 007 blockbuster Die Another Day.
Canadian-born New Zealand director Leanne Pooley has won a raft of awards for her work as a documentary filmmaker. The 2011 Arts Laureate's films include hit Topp Twins movie Untouchable Girls, 3D Everest first ascent saga Beyond the Edge, and euthanasia exploration The Promise. In 2015 her film 25 April, an animated feature about Gallipoli, was selected for the Toronto International Film Festival.