Michael Bennett

June 30, 2018

Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker and author. Michael’s second feature-length drama, IN DARK PLACES screens on TVNZ July 2018 and tells the story of the wrongful, shameful conviction of Teina Pora who was imprisoned for over 21 years for a crime he did not commit. The film is based on the book In Dark Places (also written by Michael in 2016) and is the winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for best non-fiction book. In 2013 Michael wrote and directed the award-winning documentary THE CONFESSIONS OF PRISONER T about Teina’s story.  Michael has had short films screened at numerous film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, London, New York and Melbourne, and his debut feature film MATARIKI premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won awards in New Zealand and internationally.

Michael has written and directed for many television drama series, including OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, MATAKU and MERCY PEAK. Michael devised the series KAITANGATA TWITCH and P.E.T. DETECTIVES, devised and wrote all 20 episodes of the comedy web series THE FACTORY, and has been head writer on several TV series.  Michael was script doctor of the last 2 series of the iconic US show XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS. Michael has won or been finalist in the NZ Film and Television Awards in the categories of Best Screenplay (Feature Film), Best Screenplay (TV Drama), Best Screenplay (Short Film), Best Screenplay (TV Comedy), Best Screenplay (Documentary), Best Director (TV Drama), and Best Director (TV Non-Drama).

As well as his own film and TV and book work, Michael works in communities around New Zealand with Script To Screen working with locals to tell their stories on film, he works with developing filmmakers through the NZ Film Commission and Nga Aho Whakaari, and is head of the screenwriting programme at South Seas Film School.

Michael’s second book, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas (a post-apocalyptic time travel graphic novel co-authored with Ant Sang) was published by Penguin / Random House June 2018.


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