Animated plasticine. Talking chickens. Dancing Cossacks. Plus old favourites bro'Town, Hairy Maclary and Footrot Flats. From Len Lye to Gollum, feast on the talents of Kiwi animators. In his backgrounder to the Animation Collection, NZ On Screen's Ian Pryor provides handy pathways through the frogs, dogs and stop motion shenanigans.
Craig Scott quickly rose to fame as a New Zealand pop sensation, before retiring in the mid 70s to the great disappointment of his fans. In this 1998 Breakfast interview he spends time before the cameras on his favourite golf course, describing life before and after stardom. Then working in video for Warner Brothers, he discusses the perks of being a star, and life after fame. The interview features excerpts of his number one hit "Star Crossed Lovers". Reporter Lucy Hockings moved the following year to the UK, where she became a producer and presenter on BBC World News.
The Chills are arguably the band most indelibly associated with 'The Dunedin Sound' — and one of label Flying Nun's enduring figureheads. With Martin Phillipps at the helm, the band has seen more than 25 line-up changes while exploring their pared-back guitar-pop sound. Their "series of brilliant singles" (The Guardian) includes the moody 'Pink Frost', 'I Love My Leather Jacket' and 'Heavenly Pop Hit'. In 1987 The Chills played to 60,000 at the Glastonbury Festival. In the early 90s they released two albums through Warner Brothers imprint Slash Records. Snow Bound, their seventh studio album, dropped in 2018.
The concept of this reality TV series was to take away an important element of a person’s everyday life, then capture the results. The essentials that subjects were deprived of included Mum, make-up, clothes, electricity, and in the case of radio DJ Kevin Black, sleep. Black’s 60 hours without sleep produced hallucinations and delirium over the airwaves. Living Without screened on TV One. It was produced by NZ reality TV pioneers Touchdown Television (which in 2006 became Eyeworks Touchdown, and in 2014 was purchased by Warner Brothers).
In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.
Popstars was a key part of the late 1990s reality television explosion. The series followed the creation and development of all-female pop band TrueBliss (Carly Binding, Keri Harper, Joe Cotton, Megan Alatini and Erika Takacs). The five singers went on to record several chart-topping singles, and a platinum-selling album. Also a hit was the series format, which sold around the world and helped inspire Pop Idol/American Idol, the franchise that would dominate reality television for years to come. Popstars was named Best Entertainment Programme at the 1999 NZ Television Awards.
Kim Harrop describes writing scripts as "the most exhilarating/ challenging/ enlightening/ masochistic/ addictive thing in the world." Harrop spent eight years writing for long-running soap Shortland Street. She has developed several programmes (First Crossings, The NZ Home), as well as writing and producing internet hit The Coffin Club and co-creating black comedy series Fresh Eggs with Nick Ward.
In March 2015 teenager Pixie Hannah (Thomasin McKenzie) arrived on Shortland Street, and after initial clashes with Harry Warner, began dating him. Reid Walker, who plays Harry, talks about the "bittersweet" storyline involving Pixie and her death, calling it the favourite story he’s been part of. Pixie was diagnosed with cancer; her immune system weakened after chemotherapy, she contracted pneumonia after rescuing Harry from a river. Reuben Milner, who plays Pixie’s brother Jack, also discusses the Pixie storyline. The second clip shows him joining the haka at her funeral.
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh has helped create some of the most iconic images of New Zealand cinema: the girl with a mop of red hair, standing at the end of a country road in Angel at my Table; the piano on a deserted beach in The Piano, and the charged kitchen scenes of Once Were Warriors.
The idea that New Zealanders often take for granted the depth of talent in the local screen industry is well illustrated by the career of Flux Animation founder Brent Chambers. Most Kiwis would have seen at least one example of his prolific output, yet few would be able to put a face or a name to his work. Chambers was tireless in building a competitive and viable international business, with a distinct local identity.