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Breaking Barriers

Television (Full Length) – 1993

John O'Shea was godfather to generations of Kiwi filmmakers; he was an inspirational force committed to bringing new perspectives to the screen. As Ngati actor Wi Kuki Kaa put it, "had he been a Māori, he would have been a kaumatua years ago". This documentary backgrounds O'Shea and his pioneering indie production company Pacific Films, ranging from his efforts to put Māori on screen, to banned 60s ads. The cast provides proof positive of O'Shea's influence — amongst the ex-Pacific staff interviewed are the late Barry Barclay, Tony Williams and Gaylene Preston.

John was never a rip-off merchant. I don't know anyone who's made less money out of films than John. It never went in his pocket - it always went on the screen.
– Tony Williams, on John O'Shea

Produced by

Logo for Red Sky Film & Television

Red Sky Film & Television


Made with funding from NZ On Air


Closing music by Jan Preston (from the feature film Pictures).