The second season of web series Dislawderly sees outspoken law student Audrey facing love and student elections, and preparing for a moot (a mock trial). Series creator and real life law student Georgia Rippin (who also stars) used responses from the law school’s 2016 gender survey to frame her storylines — like female students being chided for speaking in a high pitch in the courtroom. Dislawderly's mockery of sexism proved timely. The second season dropped two months after a scandal over how female student clerks had been treated at a major New Zealand law firm.
Toa Fraser's second English-set film (following 2008's quirky drama Dean Spanley) dramatises a real life siege at the Iranian Embassy in London, when gunmen held 26 people hostage in April 1980. Fraser and Dead Lands writer Glenn Standring take many angles on the tense six day siege: from politicians favouring a more aggressive approach than their lead negotiator, to the SAS team ready to storm the building, to BBC reporter Kate Adie (Bright Star's Abbie Cornish) covering events live on television. The film's international sales included a deal with Netflix.
Kelly Martin is Chief Executive of South Pacific Pictures. She began her TV career working in the photocopy room at TVNZ, before moving on to international acquisitions for the company, then to TV3 where she was a scheduler and ultimately Director of Programming. At the network she oversaw a number of hit TV shows such as Outrageous Fortune, bro'Town, and 7 Days.
A career in film promotions helped win Brian Holland a job programming films to screen on TVNZ. In his 12 years at the state broadcaster he moved from movies to general programming for TV2. Since leaving TVNZ he has worked for various production companies, developing a range of programming.
In 1996 Tony Sutorius got his hands on a new digital video camera, days before the start of an election campaign in Wellington Central. Made on the proverbial shoestring, this feature-length documentary chronicles five of those battling for the crown as a new political age — MMP — dawns. Richard Prebble joins a new party called Act, the National candidate joins United New Zealand… and one of the five will be sacrificed by their own party. Sutorius sat through 55 hours of footage to forge the result, which won enthused, sellout audiences at the 1999 NZ Film Festival.
Mark McNeill has been making documentaries for over 20 years. Along the way he has shown a knack for offbeat factual programming, including work with Te Radar and psychologist Nigel Latta. In 1999 McNeill launched company Razor Films. He and Latta went on to reshape The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show for a primetime Australian slot. In 2018 McNeill become the first Kiwi producer to make a series for Netflix.
The multi-talented Jackie van Beek emerged from Wellington’s 90s theatre scene. After directing a run of award-winning shorts, her first feature The Inland Road was invited to the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. She went on to co-direct, co-write and co-star in comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami. As an actor, van Beek is probably best known for her role in What We Do in the Shadows, as a vampire groupie.
Justin Hawkes knew from age 10 that he wanted to work in television. He was an avid collector of international TV guides, and at age 13, sent TV3 a new programming schedule. Hawkes began his career as a tape operator at TVNZ, before honing his directing skills at music channel M2. Hawkes has directed for Netflix travel show Dark Tourist, and edited a run of documentaries (e.g. Stan, Awa: Born This Way).
Actor Madeleine Sami won international acclaim starring in two Toa Fraser plays: 1998's Bare and solo show No 2. Aged 18, she debuted on screen on Shortland Street and Pio. Following Insiders Guide to Happiness, she played Oscar Kightley's romantic interest in Sione's Wedding. Sami went on to win an NZ acting award for Super City, in which she played multiple characters. She co-wrote and created the show with Thomas Sainsbury. In 2018 comedy The Breaker Upperers hit cinemas, which she co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in with Jackie van Beek. The pair are set to direct film Hope for Netflix in late 2019.
Coming from a theatre and screen family, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie has acting in her blood. Tipped as a breakout star by The Hollywood Reporter, her credits span roles on Shortland Street, playing the title character in web series Lucy Lewis Can’t Lose, and a number of feature projects. In 2014 telefeature Consent, she played a teenager abused by a family friend. In 2018 she was widely praised for American feature Leave No Trace. Harcourt co-starred as a teen living wild in a park with her father. She followed it with Taika Waititi movie Jojo Rabbit, and Shakespeare-inspired Netflix drama The King.