This March 1976 Encounter item catches up on athlete Peter Snell while studying human performance at University of California, Davis — 12 years after his double Olympic triumph in Tokyo. When world champion mile runner John Walker turns up, Snell takes him for a jog, and puts Walker through his paces in the Human Performance Laboratory. The pair muse over life, sport, success, choosing your future, and which of them is the best. The master counsels his heir on the upcoming Montreal Olympics, after Walker expresses fear at becoming the “biggest failure in history".
From his early days on the stage, Percy Hayes was known for singing and impressions; but it was as actor Rupert Julian that he made his name in Australia, then in the pictures in America. After earning a million dollars as director, producer, writer and star of The Kaiser, his directing career peaked with The Phantom Of The Opera in 1925, starring Lon Chaney. He stayed on in a mansion in LA's Hollywood Hills, until his death in 1943.Image: courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archive
Roger Horrocks has been raising the quality of debate about New Zealand film and television for nigh on half a century. At Auckland University he campaigned for, then ran, the country’s first and biggest film studies course. Horrocks has written extensively about Kiwi culture, including writing the definitive book on Len Lye. He is also a filmmaker and was a founding board member of organisation NZ On Air.
University of California (Santa Cruz) graduate Brough Johnson cut her cutting room teeth editing news reports down under. After getting a break editing doco Children of a Nation, she has accrued a diverse slate of Kiwi credits, and is at home crafting stories from fact (Both Worlds, Queer Selfies) and fiction. Johnson’s dramatic credits include episodes of primetime TV (Step Dave, Go Girls), Power Rangers and short films.
Producer George Andrews has been making documentaries about New Zealand for more than 40 years, including legendary documentary series Landmarks. In 2002 he was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to television.
Composer/arranger Victoria Kelly studied music at Auckland University, and film composition at LA's University of Southern California. Since then her eclectic, award-nominated CV of soundtracks has tended to the dark or fantastical (Out of the Blue, The Ugly, Black Sheep). In 2007 Kelly won a NZ Screen Award for TV's Maddigan's Quest; in 2011 she was appointed musical director for the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.
A New Zealander of Lebanese descent, Steve La Hood joined TVNZ in the early 70s. He went on to direct on everything from Close to Home and Shortland Street, to an acclaimed documentary on Bruno Lawrence. He also produced The Marching Girls (1987), one of the first dramas to highlight contemporary women characters on NZ television. La Hood now creates museum exhibitions at company Story Inc.
Briar March released her first feature-length documentary, 2004's Allie Eagle and Me — about artist Allie Eagle — the same year she got a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. Her global warming documentary There Once Was an Island (2010) was invited to 50+ festivals, and won a raft of awards. After studies at California's prestigious Stanford University and a string of short films, the Fulbright scholar returned downunder, and directed social housing documentary A Place to Call Home. In 2017 she helmed musical short The Coffin Club, which won six million+ views online.
Timaru born and raised, Ann Brebner began writing plays as a child, then studied psychology at Otago University. Hopes of a career in music or medicine were abandoned after she joined London’s Old Vic Theatre School. But it was in San Francisco that she made her mark — running the city’s biggest casting agency with Brit husband John, she found actors for local directors like George Lucas, and discovered Danny Glover. Brebner also directed plays, wrote a popular acting manual, and was instrumental in a five-year campaign to find a home for the California Film Institute. She passed away on 13 January 2017, at 93.
Actor Marton Csokas came to fame in the early 90s, playing the bumbling Dr Dodds in Shortland Street. Since then he has appeared in interracial romance Broken English and coming of age story Rain, before starting a run of international roles — often as the villain — in everything from xXx to The Bourne Supremacy.