Sam Neill has acted in forgotten Kiwi TV dramas (The City of No) and classic Kiwi movies (Sleeping Dogs, The Piano, Hunt for the Wilderpeople). His career has taken him from the UK (Reilly: Ace of Spies) to Hawaii (Jurassic Park) to dodgy Melbourne nightclubs (Death in Brunswick). As Neill turns 70, this collection celebrates his range, modesty and style — and the fact he was directing films before winning acting fame. In these backgrounders, friends Ian Mune and Roger Donaldson raise a glass to a talented, self-deprecating actor and fan of good music and pinot noir.
Artists Prepare was an National Film Unit series that featured prominent performance-based artists of the time. The edition follows poets Sam Hunt and Gary McCormick (the "John Travolta of New Zealand poetry") on tour in the Nelson region as they give poetry readings, talk to high school girls, drink whiskey, and muse about poetry and life — while Minstrel, Hunt's dog, lies patiently under bar tables. Ultra-tight stovepipe jeans, rock-star scarves, scenes in a milk bar and out on the open road in a Valiant evoke a time when poetry and heartthrob weren't antonyms.
Of the four performers on this episode of Pulp Comedy, Sam Wills arguably makes the most lasting impression. His fast-talking magic show is a far cry from his mute act The Boy With Tape On His Face (aka Tape Face), which later became a sensation via TV's America’s Got Talent. Although his Pulp Comedy performance is a lot more vocal than the one that would make his reputation, his quirky use of props is familiar. Elsewhere on the show Mike Loder has a dangerous encounter with a wētā, Vaughan King talks beds, and host Paul Ego gets in trouble trying to order a coffee.
Sam Hunt is New Zealand’s best known and most visible contemporary poet; and, in an archive excerpt from this feature length documentary, Ginette McDonald calls him “the most impersonated man in New Zealand”. Director Tim Rose, who has known Hunt since he was a boy, decided too little was known about him beyond his flamboyant, public persona. So Rose spent four years making this documentary — mixing a wealth of archive material with interviews with Hunt, and those who know him best, and new footage of him reading his work and performing with David Kilgour.
Poet Sam Hunt goes "between islands" on a home turf tour. To a backdrop of languid 'good day' Strait's scenery, he yarns with locals about stories of land and sea, and recites poetry: "[it's all about just] standing back and listening ... or watching". He chats with poet Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, goes groper fishing off Mana, and hears of a plan to float on a flax flutterboard across the Strait. Hunt then gets himself across via ferry for whaling stories at Oxley's Rock pub and meets boatbuilders and Cape Jackson farmers. The Costa Botes film includes (brutal) archival whaling footage.
Sam Hunt, CNZM, QSM, is arguably New Zealand's best-known, best-selling poet. The idiosyncratic Hunt published the first of many poetry collections at the age of 23. Since then he has performed across the length of the land in pubs and schools, and made music with David Kilgour and the NZ Symphony Orchestra. Hunt explored Cook Strait for 1988 documentary Catching the Tide, and can be seen touring with poet Gary McCormick in Artists Prepare andThe Roaring Forties Tour. He was also the subject of the five years in the making Sam Hunt: Purple Moon, which was released in 2011.
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.
A Diploma in Broadcast Communication led Sam Blackley to a gig with high profile company Communicado, then a run producing youth shows Space, Squeeze, and Coast. Her other career highlights include three years as Channel Manager at Sky TV’s Documentary Channel, and five seasons producing community celebration series Neighbourhood.
Sam Kelly directed the Wellington winners of the 48 Hours short film competition for three years running, from 2006 to 2008. After completing a Masters in Scriptwriting at Victoria University he was named SPADA NZ Young Film-maker of the Year, then made Lambs, a short about a teenager in gangland New Zealand. It screened at numerous festivals worldwide, including Berlin and Clermont-Ferrand. He is currently making commercials and developing his first feature.
Sam Pillsbury's The Scarecrow was the first Kiwi movie to win invitation to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Starting at government filmmaking body the Natonal Film Unit, the part-Kiwi, part-American dlrector worked in documentary — including helming the controversial Birth with Dr. R.D. Laing — before making a run of feature films and TV movies, both in New Zealand and North America.