Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Anna Campion directs her mother Edith and younger sister Jane in this slyly observed short: a re-imagining of Edith’s (reluctant) audition for a small role in Jane’s An Angel at My Table. From when Edith picks Jane up at the airport en route to her Otaki home, the professional and personal roles blur. Anxiety, huffs and matriarchal needling ensue as an often comic, sometimes poignant domestic tango between the former stage actress and film director Jane plays out in front of the camera. Anna was studying at London’s Royal College of Art when the film was made.
Kiwi avant-garde artist and musician Phil Dadson is the subject of 80-minute documentary Sonics from Scratch. Dadson has conjured sounds and experimental films from all manner of objects and locales. The documentary charts his love affair with sound, including performances with From Scratch, who created percussive music from PVC pipes. Among those appearing are some of the group's rotating ensemble of members, including Don McGlashan and cinematographer Leon Narbey. Sonics from Scratch screened at the 2015 New Zealand International Film Festival.
Thanks to BBC sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News, Rowan Atkinson was a BAFTA-winning comedy star when he toured New Zealand back in 1983. Atkinson and Kiwi reporter Chas Toogood hatched a plan to turn the clichéd celebrity interview on its head, by Toogood never actually getting to interview his quarry. Atkinson shot each scene just once. The piece was done for regional news show Top Half in an Auckland hotel, near the end of a Kiwi tour. Atkinson's show Blackadder had debuted just two months previously. He would go on to star as Mr Bean and Johnny English.
Millen Baird found comedy after deciding there was no future for him in being a tax accountant — yes, a tax accountant!
Debbie Dorday is best known for her cabaret shows, where she performed as both a dancer and a comedian.
Amanda Billing played the "neurotic, belligerent but deeply sensitive" Doctor Sarah Potts on Shortland Street for 10 years. Billing felt devastated when the beloved character died on the soap, but it gave her the impetus to pursue other work. She has gone on to act in acclaimed comedy Find Me a Māori Bride and sci-fi children’s drama The Cul de Sac.
In 1988 comedy group Funny Business managed the jump from stand-up to headlining their own hit TV show. This Funny As interview sees Dean Butler, Willy de Wit, Ian Harcourt and Peter Murphy covering many topics, including: "Making it up" as they went along — "We really didn't know what we were doing" How their routine involving an airbourne pet toaster once caused $3,500 worth of damage Their first gig at Auckland's Windsor Castle turning into a bi-weekly run that lasted for two years TVNZ taking a "huge risk" in commissioning the first Funny Business TV series Being "blown away" while performing at Canada's Just For Laughs comedy festival in 1990 What the group's members are doing now, including Willy de Wit's recovery from a 2016 stroke
The multi-talented Jackie van Beek first honed her storytelling skills in theatre. Since then she has combined acting with directing, starting with a run of award-winning short films.
Jackie van Beek is an actor, director and writer who first honed her storytelling skills in theatre. She has acted in a variety of television and film roles, and directed several award-winning short films. In 2017 van Beek directed her first feature film The Inland Road, then co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in hit comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami.