Former All Blacks Matthew Ridge and Marc Ellis team up once again to export their brand of larrikin-like behaviour overseas. In this first episode of their Russian travels they find themselves in the capital of Moscow, where they compete to get smiles out of locals, and head to a space agency building to see if they have the physical ability (and appropriate payment for the guards) to head out into the cosmos. Ridge is informed of a kidney problem, and Ellis gets told he has a dickey heart; but neither diagnosis is enough to prevent the pair testing their limits on the centrifuge.
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.
Banned by TVNZ, this Hot Grits video follows a group of friends having a party, before a night on the town. The only difference: this time it is young children doing the drinking (milk), and wigging out. 'Headlights' won two awards at Kiwi music video contest Handle the Jandle in 2008: Best Video, and Best Use of Exploitative Tactics. During filming, creative collective The Downlow Concept (TV series Hounds) attempted to control their junior cast by bribing them with sweets and toys. But when "sugar madness" kicked in, the kids were in control.
When Jordan Watson made his first How to Dad video in 2015, the internet went wild. His short clip on "How to Hold a Baby", where he holds his infant daughter Alba in various poses (e.g. hide your beer belly, rugby ball hold), racked up 250,000 views in 10 hours. This How to Dad collection includes the five most popular videos in the series, covering tips like how to be a Kiwi dad (sprint in jandals, blow on pies), how to put a baby to sleep (bribe them) and how to get a baby to clean. The last video amassed over 16 million views on Facebook. Watson has released two How to Dad books.
Wellington rockers Paselode certainly weren’t the first band to conquer, argue, then combust; but this film offers an unusual view on the group’s internal dynamics. Inspired by the legendary Creature Comforts films by Aardman Animation, The Paselode Story takes real-life interviews with bandmembers, and animates the results. Expect possibly tongue-in-cheek revelations of how singer Gerome Mills charmed — or bribed — his way into his brother’s band with his Dad’s help, before revealing his true colours. There are also live action scenes of Paselode in action.
Playwright and screenwriter Roger Hall has made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s television landscape. Two of his highly successful stage comedies became TV hits - Gliding On and Neighbourhood Watch. Hall wrote three one-off TV plays for the Spotlight series: The Bach, The Reward, and Some People Get All the Luck. As well as his own creations, Hall has also written for Pukemanu and Spin Doctors.
Ian Sinclair has reported from every corner of the globe. After experiencing dictatorship while studying flamenco guitar in Spain, Sinclair returned home to New Zealand, and eventually began working for TVNZ in 1986. Since then he has covered four major wars and been a mainstay as an investigative journalist, winning New Zealand’s Qantas Media Award for Best Investigation in 2009.
An ideas man who campaigned for a Government film body, Stanhope Andrews would become the National Film Unit's first manager. Andrews commanded the Unit for a decade. Along the way he oversaw dramatic expansion, set up regular newsreel Weekly Review, and opened the door to filmmakers of both genders.