Gladiator: the Norm Hewitt story is the story of former All Black hooker Norm Hewitt's battle with alcoholism and his journey to redemption. After disgracing himself, a tearful public apology became a personal "defining moment" for Hewitt: he reinvented himself as a youth worker and ambassador for Outward Bound. Directed by Michael Bennet, shot by Rewa Harre and based on the best-selling biography by Michael Laws the doco takes him to meet legendary youth worker Mama Teri on the streets of South Auckland, and chronicles Hewitt's life change.
This award-winning Attitude episode follows an ‘early onset’ sufferer of Parkinson’s disease — 48-year-old Auckland marketing consultant Andy McDowell. McDowell narrates as he struggles with the effects of the degenerative neurological condition on his relationship with his wife, family, and career. The episode includes a visual poem made to communicate his condition to his two young daughters, and an Outward Bound stint. McDowell hopes to qualify for Deep Brain Stimulation — a risky ‘bionic’ surgery that may help his co-ordination and uncontrolled movements.
Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Ice TV was a popular 90s TV3 youth show hosted by Jon Bridges, Nathan Rarere and Petra Bagust. This 1998 'best of' sees a 20/20 satire (a world's biggest bonsai trees scam); Petra meets Meatloaf, Jon meets US brothers boy band Hanson, visits a 'storm-namer', and they both go on Outward Bound; Nathan road tests Elvis's diet (peanut butter and bacon in bread, deep fried); and the trio go to the zoo and gym to discover why humans are the "sexiest primates alive". Includes the show's trademark sign-off where L&P bottles were subjected to various stresses.
Millen Baird's self-titled comedy show won acclaim, and a Best Comedy nomination at the 2009 Qantas Awards. Then Baird and friends semi-improvised as a group of big city wannabes, for web series Auckland Daze. Baird has gone on to create and act in web series Darryl - An Outward Bound Story, Leeway and Slow Pete (with wife Siobhan Marshall), and act on TV's Step Dave and The Almighty Johnsons.
Aged 18, New Plymouth-raised Shavaughn Ruakere landed her first screen job: five years presenting on children’s show What Now?. Then she moved to London, and won a gig co-presenting What Now?'s English equivalent, SM:TV Live. Since presenting for C4 back home, Ruakere has moved increasingly into acting. From 2011 she did a three year stint on Shortland Street as nurse Roimata Ngatai. Later she was a solo Mum with a brain tumour (in Darryl: An Outward Bound Story) and a Māori woman in 1914 Auckland (in miniseries When We Go To War). In 2016 Ruakere was the Los Angeles reporter for Seven Sharp.
The son of a Canterbury Presbyterian minister, Amosa moved to Auckland as a teen. He got early acting experience via drama productions at Sunday school and Kelston Boys' High, before formal training at Unitec. In 2004 Amosa won a plum role as a ghost (and narrator) on TV's Insiders Guide to Happiness. He has since acted on Harry and Go Girls. Amosa was on the creative team of web series satire Auckland Daze (he played an unfunny comedian); and Daryl - An Outward Bound Story. He was one of the suspects on web whodunnit Alibi. The Auckland theatre actor has also voiced many adverts and documentaries.
Rachael Blampied’s screen roles range from war heroine to unhinged surgeon. Northland-raised Blampied graduated in acting from Unitec in 2006. She found fame on Shortland Street in 2011 as Doctor Bree Hamilton, the disturbed and manipulative sister of Beth Allen's character. In 2013 Blampied starred as Nancy Wake, the Kiwi-born hero of the French Resistance, in TV's Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. She has also acted in The Almighty Johnsons, Dirty Laundry and the NZ edition of Underbelly. For Outward Bound satire Darryl, the passionate snowboarder went outdoors to play a hard-nosed human resources manager.
Rajneel Singh made his directing debut with 2003 fan short The Fanimatrix, which was downloaded millions of times in the age before YouTube. He followed it with Reservoir Dogs meets fairytale Big Bad Wolves. In 2010 his Blank Spaces was one of five short films chosen for a Tourism NZ 'Your Big Break' competition. Singh also has many editing credits (This is Piki, Find Me a Māori Bride — he has directed on the latter show). He has helmed music videos and adverts (represented by Mumbai's Genesis Films), and is developing movie projects with longtime producing partner Craig Parkes, under the SPV Films banner.
Television producer Philip Smith made his name with a stable of internationally-successful sports programmes. These days, as head of production company Great Southern Film and Television, he has been expanding from comic shows like Eating Media Lunch into other fields — including reality shows (Rescue 1), Moa-nominated telemovie The Kick and 2008 movie Apron Strings.