Jackie van Beek's CV is as impressive as it is long — she's a respected actor, writer, and director across comedy and drama, for stage, television and film.
The Wellington studio whiz behind 50Hz, Jeremy Geor, stamped his mark on the country's dance scene in 1997 with the cinematic beats and breaks of debut album Cyclehum. Self-released it was the first full length drum and base release to roll out under the long white cloud. It was judged by industry insiders in Rip It Up as one of Top 100 New Zealand albums of all time. After a five-year hiatus, 50Hz re-emerged with Carbon (Released on Loop Recordings), which featured an impressive list of guest artists, including Ladi6 and the Black Seeds' Barnaby Weir.
Actor Michelle Ang (The Tribe) stars in this Nesian Mystik music video which features beautiful people partying. Ang's character meets band member Te Awanui Reeder in the street, where he gets her phone number. Later she meets up with him and the rest of the Nesian Mystik crew at a party. The track, which peaked at number five on the Kiwi music charts, features a sample from The Style Council's 'Shout to the Top'. The Auckland hip hop group produced a record-breaking 11 Top 10 singles, and were key to the commercial breakthrough of Kiwi hip hop in the early 2000s.
In 2003 a trio of Otago University students hosted a private outdoor music gig at Waiohika Estate, just outside Gisborne. Today the Rhythm and Vines festival is a hot ticket internationally, a three day event full of tents, beers and cheers. 20/20 goes behind the scenes in the dying days of 2010, as Rhythm and Vines attracts a record-breaking crowd of 25,000 people. Festival founders Hamish Pinkham, Andrew Witters and Tom Gibson have to solve last minute hiccups to pull off the party. Shihad front man Jon Toogood describes it as "the Big Day Out in a forest".
Brit-born Suzanne Paul first made a splash on Kiwi television screens in the 80s, thanks to her infomercials. Hit TV show Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? saw her surprising ordinary New Zealanders with a long run of celebrity guests. She paired up with Anthony Ray Parker again for TV's Garage Sale and Second Honeymoon, then went on to win the third season of Dancing with the Stars — despite breaking a rib in the final.
After time as a sports reporter for both radio and TVNZ, Ric Salizzo spent time as media liaison officer for the All Blacks, and formed his own production company on the back of light-hearted rugby tour documentaries The Good, the Bad and the Rugby, and Blood, Sweat and Touring. In 1996 he created and co-hosted the long-running sports entertainment show SportsCafe.
A wandering fortune teller parks her house truck in Hokitika on a mission to find the daughter she gave up for adoption. This is Magik. One of her first clients, a young happily married chemist's assistant, is seeking a solution to her infertility. This is Rose. Magik, too, is resolved to have another child, but without having to keep the father around. They embark on a joint odyssey for love, sex and pregnancy in writer/director Vanessa Alexander’s feature debut (made when she was 28). David Stratton in Variety praised the film’s "disarmingly sweet treatment".
Leanne Saunders’ eye for talent has resulted in producer credits on six features: box office hits Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Born to Dance, Nazi horror The Devil’s Rock, and dramas Desert, The Weight of Elephants and Christmas. She also executive produced a run of successful shorts. In 2016 Saunders was appointed Head of Production and Development at the NZ Film Commission.
The late Keith Bracey's impeccable diction, dashing goatee and impish sense of humour made him a household name as presenter of Town and Around in Auckland. His interview with musician Acker Bilk (where he dressed identically) left a lasting impression on viewers. Bracey fronted the crime fighting show Police 5 from 1976 until 1986, when his familiar face and voice disappeared from television screens.
A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for New Zealand music — it ripped open the venetian blinds, rearranged the plastic-covered cushions, and shone the light on Aotearoa’s homegrown creative culture. Often letting the subjects film and present their own stories, it was produced for three series by Wellington’s Sticky Pictures, who would go on to make another arts showcase, The Gravy. Amidst the calvacade of Kiwi talent, Flight of the Conchords and musician Ladi6 made early screen appearances.