Marshall Napier has forged a successful acting career playing strong supporting roles in a swathe of Kiwi and Aussie TV dramas and films. His numerous credits include The Governor, Goodbye Pork Pie, Came a Hot Friday, Blue Heelers, Babe, McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats. He also has a strong pedigree in theatre, and took his own play Freak Winds to New York in 2006.
Pioneering poet, author and journalist Robin Hyde was originally Iris Wilkinson. Directed by Tony Isaac (The Governor), this ambitious co-production for television mines quotations from Wilkinson's writing to dramatise her life. In a parallel plotline, a writer, actor and director wrestle with how to capture Iris on screen. For Australian Helen Morse (Picnic at Hanging Rock) playing Iris was a privilege — and her "most difficult" role to date. Morse concluded that Iris was "extraordinarily vulnerable emotionally". This excerpt includes a cameo by the writer's real life son Derek Challis.
This 1967 documentary tells the story of 734 Polish children who were adopted by New Zealand in 1944 as WWII refugees. Moving interviews, filmed 20 years later, document their harrowing exodus from Poland: via Siberian labour camps, malnutrition and death, to being greeted by PM Peter Fraser on arrival in NZ. From traumatic beginnings the film chronicles new lives (as builders, doctors, educators, and mothers) and ends with a family beach picnic. Made for television, this was one of the last productions directed by pioneering woman filmmaker Kathleen O'Brien.
This sci-fi telefeature for kids follows the adventures of runaways Peter (Toby Laing) and Maggie (Toni Driscoll), who meet when Maggie’s attempt to get Picnic bars on a five finger discount go awry and "rich brat" Peter is on the lam on a 10-speed. After falling into a grave of golden light at a farm cemetery, they wake up in the house of the strange Piper family. Laing is now trumpeter for Fat Freddys Drop, and a young Kerry Fox appears briefly as a policewoman in the opening. Scripted by veteran Ken Catran, the telefeature was re-cut from a four-part series.
The Verlaines sing and play while sitting on a picnic rug under a tree, with assorted friends and family (and a dog) as fellow picnickers. Meanwhile mystic mask-wearing woodland creatures lurk behind the idyll. Cheap but certainly not without charms (there's even a feathery one hanging off the guitar). Check out a young Shayne Carter lounging under the tree fuschia.
The Waitomo Caves are a longtime tourist magnet, thanks to their bioluminescent glow-worms and spectacular stalagmite and stalactite formations. Aside from the glories of the caves, this National Film Unit tourism film mentions the surrounding countryside as “a good reason to stay another day”. Set to a laid-back jazz score, a tour from Waitomo Caves Hotel takes in lambing, limestone outcrops, scenic driving and a picnic by the Marokopa waterfalls. But "to float down the underground river as galaxies pass silently overhead is the crowning pleasure in the valley of Waitomo.”
Grip Annie Frear trained in television production at the ABC in Australia, and then returned to New Zealand and forged a distinguished film career working on such titles as E Tipu E Rea, Desperate Remedies, The Piano, Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up Another Obelisk, and Peach. Frear was the Grip Co-ordinator for the massive production undertaking that was The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
A dark and mystery-filled drama about a 70s hippy (Danielle Cormack) who falls in love with a Vietnam vet (Kevin Smith). But has fate brought them together, only in order to drive them apart? And what exactly happened to their child? This twist-filled tale of seances, damaged people, and conflicting versions of truth marked the directorial debut of short filmmaker Christine Parker. At the 1999 New Zealand film awards, Channelling Baby was nominated in six categories, including best actress and best original screenplay. Read more about the film here.
Kirstin Marcon has made a number of short films while working as a graphic designer. She's Racing and Picnic Stops were both invited to a number of international festivals; accident drama She's Racing was awarded in Chicago. Her 2012 feature film debut The Most Fun You Can Have Dying — starring Matt Whelan as a young man living life to the max, in the time he has left — saw Marcon shooting in locations across Europe.
Former magazine editor and continuity person Christine Parker made her name as a writer/director with three distinctive short films: One Man's Meat, in which Donogh Rees commits murder; Hinekaro Goes on a Picnic and Blows up another Obelisk, in which Rima Te Wiata has destructive supernatural powers; and bi-sexual romance Peach. Parker made her feature debut in 1999 with romantic drama Channelling Baby, starring Danielle Cormack and Kevin Smith.