This film documents Miranda Harcourt taking her stageplay Verbatim (written by Harcourt and William Brandt) to prison audiences. The play is a six-character monologue made up of accounts of violent crime, all performed by Harcourt. Director Shirley Horrocks captures the reactions of the prison inmates watching their own lives unfold on stage. Harcourt’s powerful performance is augmented with revealing testimonies of the broken men and women who agree to be interviewed. The documentary won the premier prize at the 1993 Media Peace Awards.
In the theatre world of the 70s and 80s, playwright Mervyn Thompson was an outspoken figure. He wrote, directed, and acted in theatre that presented New Zealand working class history and experience. This doco features a rare interview with Thompson before he died in 1992, as well as footage from his last work Passing Through (1991). Thompson discusses his upbringing on the West Coast of the South Island, his approach to theatre, and alludes to some of the controversies that beset his career.
Act of Kindness follows the search for one very helpful man, in a country of 11 million people. In 1999 Kiwi Sven Pannell arrived penniless in Rwanda, after bribing himself out of a worrying encounter with rebel militia in Burundi. He was saved by a street beggar who spoke perfect English. Eight years later Pannell got the chance to return to Rwanda with camera in hand, and say thanks — if only he can track his saviour down. Directed by Pannell and Costa Botes (Forgotten Silver), the documentary is a portrait of compassion, obsession, and a nation recovering from tragedy.
Miranda Harcourt got her screen break playing the bitchy Gemma on iconic 80s soap Gloss. Since then the versatile Harcourt has hardly taken a break - directing, teaching, plus acting in prisons, tele-movie Clare, and feature film For Good, among many other roles.
Actress and TV presenter Miriama Smith made her acting debut in cop show Shark in the Park. At 20 she graduated to Shortland Street, playing nurse Awhina Broughton. Since then, Smith has appeared in a raft of TV shows including Mercy Peak, Mataku and Serial Killers. She played lawyer Donna Hall in tele-feature Stolen, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and a judge on the Prime Television version of New Zealand’s Got Talent.
Tandi Wright spent some of her childhood in the dressing room at Avalon TV Studios - waiting for her actor parents to finish work on Close to Home. But rather than encouraging her to follow suit, Wright insists they were always 'realistic about how nearly impossible it is to make a career out of acting'. She agrees - but seems to have pulled off the impossible anyway. Wright has been acting for television since the age of six, playing lead roles in some of New Zealand’s top productions including Shortland Street, Willy Nilly, Being Eve, Serial Killers, Outrageous Fortune, This Is Not My Life and Nothing Trivial. Her film credits include Not Only But Always, Black Sheep, and Out of the Blue.
Katie Wolfe made her small screen acting debut in the early 90s. Fresh from drama school she played the daughter of Andy Anderson's character on TV series Marlin Bay. Many acting roles later, Wolfe moved into directing, including well-travelled short film This is Her and TV movie Nights in the Gardens of Spain.
Irene Wood has played Katherine Mansfield, a nymphomaniac pensioner, and a gin-toting grandma to a Go Girl. Her screen career first got busy in the early days of NZ TV, as an actor, TV presenter, and musical performer. Years later she would snare what is probably her best-known role: as a hard-drinking grandma over five seasons of hit show Go Girls. Wood has also appeared on Shortland Street and in movies Rest for the Wicked and The Shirt.
Actor/director Danny Mulheron has acted alongside drug-addicted frogs, haunted automobiles, and “force of nature” David Fane. After appearing in early Kiwi soap Close to Home, Mulheron went on to act on television, stage and film - including in the cult Peter Jackson puppet movie Meet the Feebles. In the late 80s he found himself working on both sides of the camera on a run of television sketch shows. Mulheron’s lengthy directorial CV now includes drama, comedy, and documentary.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand is often referred to as acting royalty in New Zealand. Ten years after her first interview with NZ On Screen, Ward-Lealand sits down again to bring us up to date on what she’s been up to over the past decade.