Set in Auckland’s Indian community and partly inspired by Bollywood movies, rom-com Stars in Her Eyes is the third feature for director Athina Tsoulis (Jinx Sister). Leila Alexander stars as Anousha, who uses her astrology column to try to start a romance with a bank teller she admires. Also appearing are comedian Eli Matthewson as Anousha's not-so-helpful best friend, and Colin Mathura-Jeffree as her brother, an ex cricket star. The film was shot with the help of over 100 students from Unitec, where Tsoulis has worked in a number of roles, including teaching film direction.
This episode of the Māori Television series looks at the place of the wharenui in Māori architecture. Rau Hoskins explores the origins and meaning of the structure, and looks at some iconic examples: a replica pataka being built in Hamilton Gardens; te hau ki turanga (the oldest surviving example of a wharenui) controversially taken by colonial forces, now displayed at museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington; and Ngākau Māhaki at Auckland's Unitec — designed by master carver Lyonel Grant and replete with dashboard lights from 70s Holdens.
In episode two of The Big Art Trip hosts Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins and Nick Ward discover the art of crochet with sculptor Ani O’Neill and attend CAKE Collective’s roadside poster exhibition where they talk to photographer Deborah Smith. They also visit renowned sculptor Greer Twiss in his studio, talk with young multi-media artist Gerald Phillips about his music videos for band Betchadupa, drop in on painter and political activist Emily Karaka and head to Whangarei to see filmmaker Gregory King and the veteran star of his short film Junk, Rosalie Carey.
“If this tale is about anything it’s about two words: Kiwi actor.” In this assured, at times offbeat documentary, Ian Mune takes us on a personal tour through his various lives as actor, director, teacher and more. He revisits early theatrical stomping grounds, and talks about how acting with Sam Neill in breakthrough movie Sleeping Dogs taught him “to stop pulling faces”. Mune also reminisces about directing movies comical, terrible and ambitious, and complains about the system of developing local films. There is also rare footage of his performances in 70s TV dramas Derek and Moynihan.
Having already established herself as a playwright, Norelle Scott made the transition to screenwriting by co-writing early Alison Maclean short film Rud's Wife. She then began amassing a CV of screen credits, including Shortland Street, Marlin Bay and cop series Shark in the Park. Currently based in Los Angeles, the former actor and writing lecturer continues her work as a screenwriter, script consultant, and playwright.
Having grown up in a musical family, Esther Stephens found it hard to decide between music or acting. So she did both. After training in performing and screen arts, she won an ongoing role as fashionista Olivia Duff in Go Girls. Since then, Stephens has had major parts in WWI drama When We Go to War and Westside. On stage, she won acclaim as suffragette Kate Sheppard in musical That Bloody Woman.
Former guitarist Dane Giraud began his screen career by starring in and helping write 2001 movie The Waiting Place. Since then there hasn’t been much waiting around. Aside from directing feature drama Luella Miller, he has been a key player in a run of television shows and documentaries (Bring Your Boots, Oz, Both Worlds). Giraud is also creator of mockumentary series Find Me a Māori Bride.
After studying performing arts at Unitec, Toni Potter got busy in a run of stage plays. Guest parts on TV soon led to an ongoing role on police drama Interrogation (2005), before four years on Shortland Street. Potter played memorably straight-talking nurse Alice Piper: "a bit bogan, a bit loud-mouth." 2008 saw a Qantas nomination, after her character endured abduction by the Ferndale Strangler, and unexpected pregnancy.
Nicole Whippy had a long-running role on Outrageous Fortune, as lovable lingerie designer Kasey Mason. But she got her screen break earlier than that. Born in Fiji and raised in Aotearoa, she joined the cast of series Jackson’s Wharf while completing acting studies at Unitec in 1999. She was nominated for an NZ TV Award for the show. Whippy followed it with ongoing guest roles on The Strip and Orange Roughies. In 2011 she began co-starring as businesswoman Michelle Hardcastle across three seasons of Nothing Trivial. Whippy also directs — in 2019 she helmed the opening story of Pasifika anthology movie Vai.
Named Head of the Internal Production Department at TVNZ while still in her late 20s, Dana Youngman first worked her way up the producing ladder on lifestyle shows like Maggie’s Garden Show and A Taste of Home. Since then she has worked on New Zealand’s Got Talent and Whānau Living, and helped create a cooking show with Annabel Langbein which screened in more than 80 countries.