When Robert meets his Samoan grandfather ('Granda') for the first time, things are awkward. He can't say Robert's name properly, and makes "rude" noises when he eats. Director Marina Alofagia McCartney's first short film is a gentle tale about reaching out across generations and culture. It focusses on Robert (Kahukura Royal) as his first impression thaws, and affection grows. In 2010 Granda was named audience favourite at Pollywood, a Kiwi festival for Pasifika Films. McCartney's follow-up Milk & Honey was nominated for Best Short at the 2012 NZ International Film Festival.
Brooke Clarkson races stock cars — a rare female in a male-dominated motorsport. After growing up watching her dad and uncle race, taking to the track herself seemed only natural. In this short documentary, Clarkson and her family are interviewed about the challenges she’s faced to get to the top, from her mother’s concerns, to outsiders arguing that girls shouldn’t be racing — they'll just get hurt. Now, at only 18 years old, she is racing one of the top stock cars in the country. The soundtrack includes ‘She Speeds’ — the classic track from Dunedin band Straitjacket Fits.
Lawrence 'Curly' Blyth volunteered for World War 1 despite being under age. In 1916 his rifle brigade was sent to the Western Front, where he fought for 23 days amongst the mud of the Somme. In the final weeks of WW1 Blyth helped liberate the strategic French town of Le Quesnoy from German forces, later winning a French Legion of Honour for his efforts. In this documentary his grandson, director David Blyth, uses interviews and stock footage to chronicle the times at war of his bossy yet personable grandad, who died in 2001, aged 105.
Created by superhero fan Stephen J Campbell, this light-hearted adventure series follows teen Ben Wilson (Carl Dixon) who discovers his father and grandad have done time as superheroes. Still getting to grips with the basics of being one himself, Ben enlists family and friends to help fight assorted villians. The show ran for three seasons, and spawned web series The Wired Chronicles and Origins. Nominated for awards in Rome and New Zealand, it picked up one in Korea. The eclectic cast included the tried (David McPhail) and the new (Hannah Marshall from Packed to the Rafters).
This children's adventure-comedy is about a teenager, Ben (Carl Dixon), who becomes a superhero, Captain Extraordinary. He must save City Central from forces of evil, but first he must learn how to fly. Ben's Grandad and mentor is retired superhero The Green Termite (played by veteran David McPhail). Non-PC wit and ironic DIY effects make this light-footed series — created by Stephen Campbell (The Cul de Sac) — one for all ages. In this episode, Ben faces off against the villainous Wraith. The show also screened on Australia's ABC Kids and Nickelodeon.
First ensnared by acting while training to be a teacher in Dunedin, Jane Waddell began her long stage career even before she graduated from New Zealand Drama School. On-screen, she has starred as real-life safe sex campaigner Ettie Rout (Pioneer Women), voiced a parrot (on BBC series Grandad) and directed for youth TV shows Squirt and Oi. Waddell has been a council member of Wellington’s Circa theatre since 1985.
A proud son of the West Coast, Peter Hawes was a fixture on New Zealand television in the late 70s and early 80s. After writing for A Week of It, he presented Yours for the Asking, giving free rein to his irreverent wit and fondness for wordplay as he answered viewer questions. Hawes also wrote extensively for the theatre and authored a number of well-received novels. Hawes passed away on 29 October 2018.
On hand to assist at the birth of wide-eyed television host Thingee, Stephen J Campbell has written and directed a wide range of children’s shows, and worked with Funny Business, Jeremy Corbett and Nigel Latta. Following hit show Ice TV he went on to create successful adventure tales Secret Agent Men, The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, and The Cul de Sac.