Fiona Samuel, MNZM, has worked prolifically across so many fields that she defies labels. Aside from acting on stage and screen, she is a playwright (The Wedding Party), director (TV movies Bliss and Piece of My Heart), scriptwriter (Consent, Outrageous Fortune) and singer (musical revue Babes in the Mood).
Fiona Samuel has found success as an actor, writer and director. Her first acting job was in long-running soap Close to Home, and she followed that with a range of roles. Samuel’s greatest passion, however, is for writing and directing. She was the creative force behind pioneering female-centric series The Marching Girls, and has written for Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Interrogation. Samuel also wrote and directed award-winning dramas Piece of My Heart, and Bliss: The Beginning of Katherine Mansfield.
Actor turned writer/director Fiona Samuel broke from convention by putting women in the spotlight with her TV series The Marching Girls.
This episode of arts show Mercury Lane features legendary musician Bill Sevesi, and poet Sonja Yelich (mother of musician Lorde). Sevesi takes centre stage: various musician friends join him to reminisce about packing Auckland dance halls in the 50s and 60s (at least until the arrival of 10 o'clock closing). After celebrating his 79th birthday, Sevesi is still as upbeat and music-obsessed as ever, especially when it comes to his beloved steel guitar and ukulele. In the final clip, Sonja Yelich performs her poem Teeth, with wry accompanying visuals from director Fiona Samuel.
In this episode of boy racer drama Ride with the Devil (a rare Kiwi TV drama built around an Asian character), Lin (Andy Wong) faces an uncertain future after telling police he was driving the car that accidentally killed a boy. This episode features Shortland Street veteran Angela Bloomfield, who was nominated for a Qantas award for her portrayal of grieving mother Shona. Meanwhile Wendy (Lynette Forday) reads the riot act to daughter Amy (Kellie Michelle Cheung) who continues to romance garage owner Kurt (Xavier Horan); and Kurt's enemy sees the chance for revenge.
In the third episode of Ride with the Devil things rev up at "the holy grail of styley cars"— a car show. Lin and Kurt win attention for their vehicle, but they haven't banked on a visit from the police. Lin must decide whether to front up over a tragic accident. Meanwhile, Wendy (Lynette Forday, who was nominated for a Qantas Best Actress award for the role) discovers that her daughter has many secrets — including running a dodgy website involving the back seat of her car. Director Murray Keane created Ride with the Devil to represent New Zealand's boy racer culture.
From early teleplay The Evening Paper to the edgy Outrageous Fortune, this episode of 50 Years of New Zealand Television talks drama and comedy. Key players, from actors to executives, recall a host of signposts in the development of storytelling on Kiwi TV screens. John Clarke recalls 1970s sitcom Buck's House; Paul Maunder remembers the drama that likely helped introduce the DPB; and TV executive John McRae recalls worries about the projected cost of global hit Hunter's Gold, and mentioning the word 'placenta' on the first episode of Shortland Street.
Described by co-star Neill Rea as the "little show that could", The Brokenwood Mysteries has screened in over 15 countries and and involved a long run of fictional murders. Each feature-length episode of this Prime TV crime drama is a standalone murder mystery, set in a small Kiwi town. Neill Rea (Scarfies) stars as veteran detective Mike Shepherd, who works alongside Detective Kristin Sims (played by Fern Sutherland from The Almighty Johnsons). Backing up the pair are Detective Sam Breen (Nic Sampson from Funny Girls) and Russian pathologist Gina Kadinsky (Cristina Ionda).
Described as a “tour of duty at knee height” this short film sees a bunch of boys playing war games confronting reality on a rural New Zealand ‘battlefield’. Actor turned director Murray Keane described the film as an atonement for putting a rubbish bin atop a local war memorial when he was a boy. It was nominated for Best Film and Best Script at the Nokia NZ Film Awards. The young cast includes Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones) Tyler Read (Shortland Street’s Evan Cooper) and Elliot Lawless (The Bridge of Terabithia).
Who Laughs Last profiles Roger Hall, New Zealand’s most successful playwright. Three decades after the opening of Hall's Middle Age Spread became a hit, the original cast return for 2006 follow up Spreading Out. The Shirley Horrocks doco explores the secrets behind Hall’s successful brand of comedy (25+ stage plays, plus TV series and musical comedies) and closely explores the popularity of Middle Age Spread and Spreading Out. Among those interviewed are John Clarke, Ginette McDonald, the late Grant Tilly, and Hall himself.