Ruby and Rata

Film, 1990 (Trailer and Excerpts)

Originally conceived as a TV series, Gaylene Preston's comedy was a local hit, uplifting recession-era audiences with its tale of resourceful misfits. Ruby (Yvonne Lawley), an 83-year-old trying to dodge a retirement home, rents a room to Rata (Vanessa Rare in her screen debut) — a solo mum with sidelines in music and benefit fraud. Rata's son is into shoplifting, while Simon Barnett plays a hapless yuppie wannabe. Marginalised by the deregulated economy of the 80s and living on their wits, they may just find common cause despite themselves, in this tale from writer Graeme Tetley.

Step Dave - First Episode

Television, 2014 (Full Length Episode)

In the first episode of comedy drama Step Dave, solo Mum Cara (Sia Trokenheim) finds herself rescued by womanising barman Dave (Jono Kenyon), after a disastrous blind date ends in a sprained ankle. Dave is convinced he's met 'the one'. Cara's daughters and mother in-law (Lisa Harrow) are horrified. And Cara fears there isn't enough time in her busy life for a man who calls her favourite song "ancient". Meanwhile Dave's flatmate is falling for the workmate who has stolen his desk. Created by Kate McDermott, Step Dave screened for two seasons — and was later remade in Russia.

A Tall Long Faced Tale

Television, 2008 (Excerpts)

In this documentary children's author Margaret Mahy is interviewed at her Governors Bay home by friend and fellow author Elizabeth Knox. Many of Mahy's beloved storybook characters also appear to put her on the spot about their origins. In this excerpt, the famous lion from A Lion in the Meadow thanks her for making him yellow, and Mahy talks about eating porridge thrice a day as a young solo mum. Yvonne Mackay directed this seamless mix of real life and Euan Frizzell-created animation. Read more about the doucmentary here.

Fracture

Film, 2004 (Trailer and Excerpts)

Solo mum Leeanne Rosser (Jean's Kate Elliott) is rejected by her Christian mother. She tries to stay close to her brother Brent (Jared Turner), unaware of his secret life as a thief. One day a burglary goes wrong, and a woman is badly injured. The incident causes repercussions for all the members of the two families, and relationships begin to fracture. Based on Maurice Gee's novel Crime Story, Fracture was the second feature directed by Larry Parr. Its release was delayed by the collapse of Parr's company Kahukura in 2002. The Press called Fracture "competent, confident and complex".

Nothing Special

Short Film, 2005 (Full Length)

Written by Helena Brooks and comedian Jaquie Brown, Nothing Special could be seen as a cautionary tale: it's good to love your son, but not so good to think he's Jesus reincarnate. How can Billy escape the crazed adoration of his doting Mum? By striving to be the most boring man he can be. Featuring an aptly quirky soundtrack (Blerta's 'Dance All Around The World') and a very funny performance by Alison Routledge as the quintessential overzealous Mum, Nothing Special was chosen for competition in the short film section at Cannes (2005).

Millen Baird

Actor, Writer

Millen Baird's self-titled comedy show won acclaim, and a Best Comedy nomination at the 2009 Qantas Awards. Then Baird and friends semi-improvised as a group of big city wannabes, for web series Auckland Daze. Baird has gone on to create and act in web series Darryl - An Outward Bound Story, Leeway and Slow Pete (with wife Siobhan Marshall), and act on TV's Step Dave and The Almighty Johnsons 

Shavaughn Ruakere

Actor [Taranaki, Te Atiawa]

Aged 18, New Plymouth-raised Shavaughn Ruakere landed her first screen job: five years presenting on children’s show What Now?. Then she moved to London, and won a gig co-presenting What Now?'s English equivalent, SM:TV Live. Since presenting for C4 back home, Ruakere has moved increasingly into acting. From 2011 she did a three year stint on Shortland Street as nurse Roimata Ngatai. Later she was a solo Mum with a brain tumour (in Darryl: An Outward Bound Story) and a Māori woman in 1914 Auckland (in miniseries When We Go To War). In 2016 Ruakere was the Los Angeles reporter for Seven Sharp.

Kate Elliott

Actor

Aged 14, Kate Elliott debuted as a troubled teen in 1997 TV play House of Sticks. Five years later she was starring as a philanderer in Harry Sinclair comedy Toy Love. Her role as a solo mum in Fracture won awards at festivals in Oporto and St Tropez. TV's The Insiders Guide to Love garnered her two further gongs. In 2011 she starred as Katherine Mansfield in tele-movie Bliss, then grabbed a shotgun for movie romp Fresh Meat. In 2017 she won her third television award, after starring as legendary aviator Jean Batten in TV movie Jean. She went on to star in TV's The Gulf, as an obsessed cop who has just endured a car accident. 

Sylvia Rands

Actor

Actor and vocal teacher Sylvia Rands’ first big television role was playing Polly Hanlon, wife to the legendary barrister in Hanlon. Nominated again for movie Bonjour Timothy, Rands has gone on to act in Go Girls, Homeward Bound and cult comedy The Neighbourhood Network, inbetween a busy stage career.

Darien Takle

Actor

Darien Takle was telling people she'd be an actor at kindergarten. Since then she has sung on stage as Edith Piaf and Eva Peron, directed and taught drama, created a solo show about Frances Hodgkins and released CD No Regrets. Her screen roles are as diverse — from variety show 12 Bar Rhythm and Shoes, to playing Xena's Mum, to an award-winning turn in Christmas as a downtrodden wife.