A Portrait of Michael Smither

Television, 2007 (Full Length)

In this intimate documentary painter Michael Smither lays bare his life — from a stern Catholic childhood in New Plymouth to the inspiration of Central Otago to his senior years in Otama Beach, collaborating on natural artworks. Smither is best known for his unflinching portraits of family life, works like 'Sarah with Baked Beans' which capture the untamed energy of small children. Smither acknowledges the hardship behind these famous paintings, and the toll it took on his first marriage. Ex-partners (including novelist Rachel McAlpine) open up about their time with Smither. 

Geoff Bryan

Presenter

After starting in television as a continuity announcer in the early 80s, Geoff Bryan moved into sports presenting. Since then the veteran sportscaster has presented coverage of tennis, cricket, World Cup rugby, the Commonwealth Games and for every Olympics since Atlanta 1996.

Mairi Gunn

Cinematographer

Mairi Gunn began working in the camera department in the mid 80s. Since then she has shot music videos (notably Outer Space for The 3Ds), short films, and the feature-length Gravity & Grace (directed by Chris Kraus). Gunn shot and co-produced award-winning eco-documentary Restoring the Mauri of Lake Omapere, looking at the history and future of a Northland lake.

David Sims

Director, Editor

There were times when the career of longtime National Film Unit director David Sims could have been cut short. Having survived close encounters with steam locomotives in mountainous terrain, he narrowly escaped being blown up, drowned and burnt alive at sea. Even filming a planned set-up on location had its hazards, as he found when his call of “action!” sent exploding rocks whistling by perilously close overhead.

Geraldine Brophy

Actor

Geraldine Brophy is one of our most loved and recognisable actors. She has a swag of awards for her work, which — she half-jokes — come in handy as doorstops. After beginning her screen career with walk-on parts in McPhail and Gadsby, she went on to iconic titles like Shortland Street and Second-Hand Wedding. Brophy has gone on to a second act in her career, writing for the theatre.