Near the end of his life, renowned English composer Edward Elgar composed some of the greatest music of his career. This film examines the idea that Elgar's deeply emotional Cello Concerto in E Minor was provoked by memories of his first great love, Helen Weaver, who emigrated downunder after their relationship ended. After learning that Weaver's son had been killed fighting in France, Elgar was moved to write a war requiem. The award-nominated film mixed interviews, dramatisations, and a performance of the concerto by cellist Lynn Harrell and the NZ Symphony Orchestra.
Annie Goldson, NZOM, is probably New Zealand's most awarded documentary filmmaker. Her work — including the feature-length An Island Calling, Brother Number One and Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web — often examines the political through the personal. Goldson's films have played widely overseas, and won awards in New Zealand, England, Spain, France, the Philippines and the United States.
Briar March released her first feature-length documentary, 2004's Allie Eagle and Me — about artist Allie Eagle — the same year she got a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. Her global warming documentary There Once Was an Island (2010) was invited to 50+ festivals, and won a raft of awards. After studies at California's prestigious Stanford University and a string of short films, the Fulbright scholar returned downunder, and directed social housing documentary A Place to Call Home. In 2017 she helmed musical short The Coffin Club, which won six million+ views online.
Simon Raby made his first feature at the age of only 16. Later he became a freelance camera/sound man, and began collaborating with director Niki Caro. They worked on five projects together. Raby has also collaborated extensively with director Scott Reynolds (The Ugly). His cinematography credits cross the gamut, from to drama (Orphans & Kingdoms) to documentary (The Forgotten General) to fantasy (Mortal Engines). Raby balances his work as a cinematographer with occasional directing gigs — including arts show The Gravy, drama series Interrogation, and second unit work on Matt Damon sci-fi film Elysium.
Kiwi acting legend Jennifer Ward-Lealand began acting at age seven; her first screen role followed at age nine. Since then she has starred in big screen dramas Desperate Remedies and Vermilion to critical acclaim, and appeared in a long run of television shows, from TV drama Danny and Raewyn to Australian comedy show Full Frontal.
John Anderson got busy directing a run of television dramas in the 1980s, including award-winning Polynesian road movie Mark ll, and two of the final works by playwright Bruce Mason. The onetime actor reinvented himself as a documentary filmmaker in the 90s, then relocated to Kiribati, where he worked on more than 400 films covering everything from climate change to dance. Anderson died in Kiribati on 19 August 2016.
Peter Wells broke ground as one of the first New Zealanders to tell gay stories on-screen. Aside from his work as an author, he explored gay and historical themes in several acclaimed drama and documentaries — including pioneering TV drama A Death in the Family, colourful big screen melodrama Desperate Remedies and Georgina Beyer documentary Georgie Girl. Wells died on 18 February 2019.
Tim Woodhouse has cut some of New Zealand’s most celebrated documentaries since crossing from Australia in 1989. Although he won a Best Editing award for drama Staunch, Woodhouse has largely specialised in documentary. En route he has worked with director Leanne Pooley on Haunting Douglas, Topp Twins hit Untouchable Girls, Beyond The Edge (about Hillary on Everest), and animated film 25 April.