SERIES DRAMA LAB PARTICIPANTS
Project: The Different Girl
Alison Maclean is a writer/director who grew up in Canada and New Zealand, moving to New York in 1992. She is known for her acclaimed short, KITCHEN SINK, which premiered at Cannes in 1989, CRUSH (starring Marcia Gay Harden), and JESUS’ SON (with Billy Crudup, Samantha Morton, Dennis Hopper and Holly Hunter), which premiered at the Venice film festival in 1999 and won the Baby Lion. She co-directed the documentary PERSONS OF INTEREST (Sundance 2003), about Muslim detainees held in NY after 9/11. Her latest film THE REHEARSAL (with James Rolleston and Kerry Fox), adapted from the book by Booker-prize winner, Eleanor Catton and filmed in NZ, played at TIFF, NYFF and LIFF in 2017. Her episodic TV work includes SUBWAY STORIES, SEX AND THE CITY, THE L-WORD, CARNIVALE, THE TUDORS, GOSSIP GIRL and MICHAEL: TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS.
Philippa Campbell is an Emmy, Golden Globe and PGA award nominee as the producer of both seasons of Jane Campion’s international hit television series TOP OF THE LAKE starring Elisabeth Moss. One of New Zealand’s leading film producers, she has worked with, among others, Christine Jeffs, Toa Fraser, Florian Habicht and Jackie Van Beek. Her features have premiered and won awards at major festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Toronto and been distributed in key territories. She began her career in screen production as a script editor responsible for over 100 hours of primetime drama across genres for TVNZ.
Project: Drunk Poetry
Briar Grace-Smith (Ngā Puhi) is a writer of short fiction, stage plays and feature films. Her plays include NGĀ POU WĀHINE, PURAPURAWHETŪ and WHEN SUN AND MOON COLLIDE. She is an inaugural Arts Foundation Laureate and has received an ONZM for services to film, television and theatre. She was the 2019 recipient of the Merata Mita Fellowship, has worked as a Development Executive for the NZFC, taught ‘Writing for Theatre’ at IIML and continues to work as a story mentor in New Zealand and overseas. Briar is a Sundance alumni and the writer of the feature films THE STRENGTH OF WATER and horror comedy FRESH MEAT. Her TV credits include FISHSKIN SUIT, BEING EVE, KAITANGATA TWITCH and GRACE BESIDE ME. She wrote and directed CHARM for the collaborative feature project WARU. She recently worked with Toi Whakaari’s acting and design students directing KRYSTAL. Briar wrote the novel adaptation of COUSINS, which she will co-direct with Ainsley Gardiner in 2019.
Victor Rodger is a Christchurch born and raised writer of Samoan (Iva) and Scottish (Broughty Ferry) descent. An award winning playwright, his works Black Faggot, My Name is Gary Cooper and Puzzy have been performed nationally and internationally. Victor was a longtime writer for SHORTLAND STREET and his other television credits include THIS IS PIKI which he co-wrote with Briar Grace Smith. Victor currently heads the Maori and Pasifika Creative Writing Workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters at the University of Victoria in Wellington.
Desray Armstrong is an independent producer with a diverse slate of credits and a wealth of physical production experience. She has produced documentaries, factual series, music videos and award-winning short films including MEATHEAD by Sam Holst, ELLEN IS LEAVING and BATS by Michelle Savill, SNOWMEN by Jonathan Brough and recently completed Jessica Sanderson’s debut short WAYS TO SEE. She produced Dustin Feneley’s independent feature, STRAY, which premiered in competition at the 2018 Moscow International Film Festival and won Best Actor. She was awarded WIFT Woman to Watch in 2016, SPADA Independent Producer of the Year in 2018 and the NAW Te Kai Ngakahi Melissa Wikaire Award in 2019.
Project: Chasing Pure
Carey Carter is a Writer, Director, Producer and for over three decades become one of New Zealand’s most experienced 1st Assistant Directors. He was the original 1st for SHORTLAND STREET setting up the show’s scheduling format. In 2001, Carey created, co-wrote and produced award winning Maori TV Drama Series MATAKU. He was also a director on the series and nominated for Best Script. Carey’s Maori ancestry inspired MATAKU and work with Maori Television and his Ngati Tuwharetoa Iwi. Carey helmed several shows for Maori TV including a sitcom/drama, and their first General Election programming. Carey consulted as their Drama Commissioner and as advisor to Te Mangai Paho. In 2009 he directed Tiki Tane’s TANGAROA music video, a finalist for Best Music Video. Carey left the industry in 2010 to work for his Iwi. In 2014 he answered the call to support Maori Drama Production and returned to freelancing as a 1st AD. He most recently worked on THE DEADLANDS TV SERIES for the AMC Network in America and WESTSIDE SEASON 5.
Gavin Strawhan is creator/writer, showrunner and EP of many NZ and international shows. He was co-creator/writer of BAD MOTHERS (from his own company, Filthy Productions) for Channel 9 and co-creator/showrunner of HYDE & SEEK for Matchbox Pictures. For Filthy Productions Gavin also co-created and wrote FILTHY RICH (currently adapted for Fox in the USA by writer/director Tate Taylor) and DIRTY LAUNDRY. He was screenwriter and EP of historical telemovies, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED – VOTES FOR WOMEN, and WHAT REALLY HAPPENED – WAITANGI. Gavin co-created hit series’ GO GIRLS and NOTHING TRIVIAL, and the critically acclaimed THIS NOT MY LIFE. He was co-writer of the feature film, MATARIKI, which was selected for Toronto and released in 2010. Gavin created and wrote BEING EVE (nominated for international Emmy, winner of NY gold medal). Other credits include: KAITANGATA TWITCH, BURYING BRIAN, MADDIGAN’S QUEST, MERCY PEAK, THE CHOSEN, JACKSON’S WHARF the LAWLESS tele-movies and UK CBBC series LIVING IT. Gavin worked on SHORTLAND STREET as its first script editor and head writer. He produced the series in 1995.
Rachel Lang is one of New Zealand’s most experienced television writers and show runners has co-created and executive produced many of New Zealand’s best-loved series. Rachel was the first NZ story editor of SHORTLAND STREET. She was EP until 1999, and has been a regular consultant on the show. She has since co-created many of NZ’s favourite characters with OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE(seasons 1 – 6), GO GIRLS (1 – 5) and NOTHING TRIVIAL, (series 1 – 3). From there she went onto critically acclaimed THIS IS NOT MY LIFE, and noir murder mystery THE BLUE ROSE. With Steven Zanoski and Gavin Strawhan at Filthy Productions, she has made DIRTY LAUNDRY and FILTHY RICH. FILTHY RICH has a US remake pilot in production. In Australia, she and Gavin created HYDE & SEEK for Matchbox Pictures, an eight-part thriller, which screened on Channel 9. She co-created BAD MOTHERS, for Filthy Productions, made in association with Jungle Entertainment. Rachel has a varied background in the broadcast industry, working in script development and also as an actor, journalist and film reviewer.
Steven Zanoski is Managing Director of Filthy Productions Ltd, a company he established with Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan. He produced FILTHY RICH with that company and BAD MOTHERS for Australia’s Channel 9, and executive produced DIRTY LAUNDRY. Steven was producer of SHORTLAND STREET in 2008 and took the show through a five-year period of sustained high ratings. He had previously been a writer and executive producer on that show as well as MERCY PEAK, BEING EVE and MATAKU. In 2004, Steven worked with Fremantle Media in Europe, starting up five-night a week drama series in both Croatia and Russia as head writer. He moved to the German RTL Group in 2007 to showrun two seasons of an adaptation of telenovela UGLY BETTY. Storylining and writing for many New Zealand shows, Steven was nominated for Best Script for the one-off Montana Sunday Theatre feature HOUSE OF STICKS.
Carthew Neal produced Taika Waititi’s JOJO RABBIT & HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, Jackie van Beek & Madeleine Sami’s THE BREAKER UPPERERS & SUPER CITY, Jessica Hansell’s AROHA BRIDGE, David Lowery’s PETE’S DRAGON, David Farrier’s TICKLED and DARK TOURIST, Tanu Gago’s fafswagvogue.com, Justin Pemberton’s ISpydoc.com, and conceived and produced two series of non-fiction series WA$TED.
Donna Malane formed Lippy Pictures with Paula Boock in 2007. They created, wrote and produced the international co-production drama series THE GULF with Screentime (NZ), Letterbox (Germany), ZDF (Germany) and TV3 (NZ). Their drama JEAN won an unprecedented 9 World Medal Awards at the New York TV & Film Awards 2017 and won all 12 categories in the NZTV Awards 2017. Telefeature UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT won 6 of the major awards at the Qantas Screen Awards. TANGIWAI – A LOVE STORY was nominated for the Festival De Television De Monte-Carlo in 2012, Field Punishment No 1 was a Gold Medal winner at the New York International Television & Film Awards. Prior to that they created, co-produced and co-wrote TIMETRACKERS, a 13 part children’s time-travel drama series in co-production with The Gibson Group (NZ), Taylor Media (Aus). Donna is also an author of crime novels published internationally.
Paula Boock is a writer, producer and, with Donna Malane, joint owner of Lippy Pictures. They recently delivered Season 1 of their crime drama series THE GULF, a NZ/German co-production for ZDF and TV3. Their children’s drama series TIMETRACKERS (NZ/AUS co-production) and five telefeatures for TVNZ’s Sunday Theatre have won numerous awards. Most recently JEAN, based on the life of aviator Jean Batten took out all 12 categories in the 2017 NZTV Awards and 9 World Medal Awards at the 2017 New York TV & Film Awards. Prior to scriptwriting Paula was a publisher and YA novelist, winning the NZ Children’s Book Award for her ground-breaking queer novel Dare Truth or Promise.
Hannah Marshall is a New Zealand actor, writer and director who has worked in numerous productions in New Zealand, Australia and the US. She is best known for her role as Loretta Schembri in Channel 7’s PACKED TO THE RAFTERS for which she was nominated for a Logie, and critically acclaimed indie hit THE INFINITE MAN which premiered at SXSW. She will soon be back on NZ screens in THE BAD SEED and the telefeature, ABLAZE, and most recently worked on HBO/Apple’s THE MORNING SHOW with Reese Witherspoon. Hannah co-wrote the first season of the TVNZ drama series, ALIBI, and directed the final episode, to critical acclaim. Hannah will also direct her short FRANKIE JEAN & THE MORNING STAR in 2019, and is in development with her first feature, GIRL ONE, both with the NZFC.
David de Lautour is a New Zealand actor and director best known to Kiwi audiences for his role as Ted West on TV3’s hit show WESTSIDE, a series that he now directs as well as starring in. David’s other most notable directing credits include the crime drama ALIBI, for TVNZ, Gin Wigmore’s music video, ‘Dirty Mercy’, for Universal Music as well as TV pilot UNDOCUMENTED, shot in New York. ALIBI has recently been bought by CBS Studios and David is being penned as a director on the show as well as writing and executive producing. David also directed THE CONVERSATION, a short by Hannah Marshall. David’s writing credits include the web-series SALON-O-PHOBIA, made in Los Angeles, and three short films that have played at festivals worldwide. He has also written three feature films.
Gareth Williams is an award-winning producer, director and actor. A graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, he has received numerous accolades for a long line up of work. In 2014, Gareth teamed up with filmmaker Curtis Vowell (FANTAIL, BABY DONE), to create Squiz, a platform for locally made short-form content. Gareth formed Plus6Four Entertainment with David de Lautour and Hannah Marshall. In 2018, he produced the crime thriller series, ALIBI, for TVNZ, which he is now developing with CBS Studios for a U.S version of the show. Gareth is also in development with Marshall and the NZFC for the feature film, GIRL ONE, as well as co-producing Marshall’s latest short, FRANKIE JEAN & THE MORNING STAR, also funded through the New Zealand Film Commission.
Kelly Martin is CEO of South Pacific Pictures, New Zealand’s leading film and television production company. Kelly has over 25 years experience in New Zealand television, having worked at both the major networks of TVNZ and Mediaworks TV3. Some of the local productions Kelly is most proud of bringing to the screen include OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, THE ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS, THE STRIP, THE SECRET LIFE OF DANCERS, numerous documentaries, and the development of TV3’s successful comedy strategy, with started with BROTOWN and has included THE JAQUIE BROWN DIARIES, HOUNDS, JONO & BEN and SEVEN DAY. Since joining SPP in 2012, Kelly has worked as the Executive Producer of SHORTLAND STREET, STEP DAVE, WESTSIDE, THE BAD SEED, BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES and No.1 Australian drama 800 WORDS for Channel Seven. She is currently producing her first feature, THIS TOWN.
Kath Akuhata-Brown (Ngati Porou) is a Wellington based Filmmaker. She is a 2019 recipient of Te Aupounamu Maori Screen Excellence award from the New Zealand Film Commission and Ngā Aho Whakaari. Her television writing credits include IRIKURA, HAKA WAHINE, KAIKOORERO and TAONGA. In film Kath is in development on her debut feature film KŌKĀ.
Greg McGee is a theatre, television and film writer. He is probably best known for his stage plays which are centrally concerned with the loss of collective values and individual altruism in an increasingly materialist and selfish society. These socio-political concerns have led McGee to television and film writing to reach a wider popular audience. His television writing has won several awards including EREBUS: THE AFTERMATH, FALLOUT with Tom Scott and drama FREE ENTERPRISE. McGee has written for a number of series, including ROCHE, MARLIN BAY, and COVER STORY. Greg McGee continued writing for screen, co-writing OLD SCORES, VIA SATELITTE, and CROOKED EARTH. He created GREENSTONE IN 1999 and between 2000 and 2005 McGee developed, story-edited, and wrote or co-wrote most of the 51 episodes STREET LEGAL. The show has received a host of awards, including the 2003 NZ TV Award for best Drama Series.
Lee Tamahori won acclaim with his first feature film ONCE WERE WARRIORS (1994). Since then he has directed movies largely outside New Zealand including James Bond blockbuster DIE ANOTHER DAY and thriller THE EDGE. Tamahori had worked in the New Zealand film industry for more than a decade before WARRIORS made his name. He began his career as a commercial artist and photographer and joined the film industry in the late 1970s. He has worked as a boom operator on Kiwi classics GOODYE PORK PIE and BAD BLOOD and as the 1st AD on many films including UTU, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE, THE QUIET EARTH, and CAME A HOT FRIDAY. In 1986 Tamahori co-founded Flying Fish. He went on to direct more than 100 commercials, including a number of award-winners. He directed the 1988 documentary about a visit to Ruatoria by band Herbs. Tamahori’s first venture into television drama was in 1989, an episode from Māori-driven drama series E TIPU E REA THUNDERBOX.
Early in her career Robin Scholes lectured in Art History and Film Studies at Essex University and Auckland University. She went on to work for TVNZ, writing, directing and producing documentaries and magazine shows. She was a 1980 Fullbright Scholar attending New York Film School to study and make a feature documentary. Robin went on to be a founding partner of Communicado where she devised, financed and produced a wide range of television series. Most recently she produced THE BAD SEED and has commenced pre-production on Series 2 of THE NEW LEGENDS OF MONKEY for Netflix, ABC and TVNZ2. Previous drama includes THE NEW LEGENDS OF MONKEY Series 1 and WHEN WE GO TO WAR. Robin has produced many feature films including MAHANA, MR PIP, CROOKED EARTH, BROKEN ENGLISH and ONCE WERE WARRIORS. She was awarded an OBE in 1997 for her services to Film.
Philippa Rennie has 18 years’ experience in the film and television industry both in the UK and NZ. From 2007-2017 years she was Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Warner Bros. International Television Production where she worked on feature films MR PIP, THE HOPE AND DREAMS OF GAZZA SNELL and MAHANA. She has extensive experience working on unscripted programmes such as THE BLOCK and SURVIVOR, as well as on drama series BURYING BRIAN and WHAT REALLY HAPPENED WAITANGI/VOTES FOR WOMEN. In 2017 she became the Head of Scripted for Warner Bros and was the Executive Producer on black comedy FRESH EGGS produced for TVNZ, and has several other scripted projects in development with local and international platforms.
Project: The Harder They Fall
Matthew J Saville is a Director and Writer with a long list of film and television credits. His short films have screened at prestigious film festivals in the world including Telluride. After a hugely successful festival run, his first short film HITCH HIKE was selected as both Short of the Week and Staff Pick on Vimeo, before going viral. His second film DIVE, premiered at Telluride to critical acclaim and went on to win Best Film at the Show Me Shorts Film Festival and first prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It made selection for the Academy Awards for best short film and was also selected as both Short of the Week, and Staff Pick on Vimeo. From long form prime time drama, to creating children’s television, Matthew has worked as a writer and director for some of New Zealand’s largest production companies. He is currently in advanced development with his first feature film JUNIPER which is being produced by Desray Armstrong. Matthew lives in Auckland with his two young boys Hector and Rafael.
After 4 years as an on-air creative in music television, Gerard Johnstone served as head showrunner on two New Zealand TV projects – the Qantas Award-wining subversive media satire series THE JAQUIE BROWN DIARIES and the family action-adventure series TERRY TEO (also award winning). A couple of years ago he made the switch to features with the comedy-thriller HOUSEBOUND which premiered to critical acclaim at SXSW, and won awards at genre festivals around the world.
Luke Sharpe is a Film & TV Producer from New Zealand. His debut feature film, the Comedy-thriller HOUSEBOUND, was an international success after debuting at SXSW and sold to every major territory in the world. He then followed up with another genre-bending screen story – the primetime action-adventure series TERRY TEO, made for TVNZ. The series was acclaimed, being called “not just the best kids’ show made in New Zealand in the last 10 years, it’s the best TV show full stop” (NZ Herald) and picked up ‘Best childrens programme’ at the NZ TV awards.
Project: *(Not Her Real Name)
Pip Hall is an award-winning scriptwriter and playwright. She works extensively in television as a creator, writer, and storyliner. Recent credits include WHY DOES LOVE, 800 WORDS and THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES. She won Best Script: Drama for WHY DOES LOVE at the Huawei Mate 20 2018 New Zealand TV awards. Pip has two major projects due to screen later this year – tele-featureRUNAWAY MILLIONAIRES and a two–part miniseries on All Black legend Jonah Lomu. Pip has written over a dozen plays, most of which were commissioned, and has had work produced by every major theatre company in New Zealand.
Carmen Leonard (Te Arawa/Rangitāne) is the daughter of one of the pioneers of Māori television in New Zealand, Ernie Leonard. She co-produced six series of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, and produced the award winning telefeature WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: VOTES FOR WOMEN, the award winning docu-drama EREBUS- OPERATION OVERDUE, the telefeature THE KICK, the award winning six-part series HILLARY, the multi award winning telefeature THE EXPONENTS: WHY DOES LOVE?, the telefeatureKIWI and the multi award winning Māori documentaryNZ WARS- THE STORIES OF RUAPEKAPEKA. She has just delivered telefeature RUNAWAY MILLIONAIRES and is now in production on the mini-series JONAH.
Deb Cope began her television career in London at BBC Drama. Since returning to New Zealand, she has line produced numerous drama series & telefeatures. Her recent credits include the award winning docu-drama EREBUS- OPERATION OVERDUE, telefeature THE KICK, award-winning six-part drama series HILLARY, the multi award-winning telefeature THE EXPONENTS: WHY DOES LOVE?, telefeature KIWI and the award-winning digital documentary NZ WARS- THE STORIES OF RUAPEKAPEKA for RNZ. Deb has just finished producing RUNAWAY MILLIONAIRES for TVNZ and is in pre-production on BIG MAN: THE JONAH LOMU STORY, a mini-series for TV3.
Roxane Gajadhar is a Wellington-based writer and producer. She holds an MA in scriptwriting from Victoria University and is currently completing her PhD writing for television, virtual and augmented reality. Her career spans researching and production managing Sam Neill’s seminal documentary CINEMA OF UNEASE to production work on numerous films and television series. She has also directed interactive exhibitions such as Lord of the Rings – The Exhibition and World Expo and spent five years marketing New Zealand’s screen industry internationally for Film New Zealand. Television writing credits include two seasons of KIDDETS and upcoming children’s series BOOK HUNGRY BEARS.
Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2000, Angela Littlejohn spent 15 years in the UK working in the film and television industry. She was Drama Co-Production Executive at Channel 4 and Film4 working in both feature film & TV drama. Since returning to New Zealand she has been a producer on the TV Series CLEVERMAN, HARRY, and Channel 4’s BAFTA winning NOT ONLY BUT ALWAYS. Her feature films producing/EP credits include SHOW OF HANDS, APRON STRINGS, SEPARATION CITY, SLOW WEST and THE CHANGEOVER. She is currently a producer on Ivan Sen’s latest film LOVELAND and Leah Purcell’s THE DROVERS WIFE.
Project: All of Me
Shoshana McCallum comes from an acting background having studied at acclaimed ‘The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre’ in New York. On her return home, she moved into writing and works for both indie and network productions. In 2015, her television pilot, ANIMALS was released online to critical acclaim and in 2016 she won the SWANZ award for Best Comedy Television Script for STEP DAVE and 2017, she followed it up with a SWANZ award win for Best Un-produced Screenplay Feature for DAISY CHAIN (with writing partner, Natalie Medlock). Her theatre credits include, LEOPARD and the much celebrated, LOOKING AT STUFF IN CLOUDS.
Dan Musgrove is an award-winning NZ screenwriter and playwright based in Auckland, NZ. His first attempt at screenwriting was a comedy short about the adult lives of former Anne Geddes models, completed while studying at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. Recent screenwriting credits include storylining and scriptwriting on seasons 3-5 of WESTSIDE for South Pacific Pictures. Other screenwriting credits include SHEARING THE LOVE, a comedy feature script in development with Four Knights Films, additional writing for SUPERCITY, PORK PIE, and scriptwriting for SHORTLAND STREET. His theatre-writing credits include CHRIST ALMIGHTY, TOYS and the acclaimed Michael Hurst solo show NO HOLDS BARD. His latest play THE DEFENDANT is in development with Auckland’s Silo Theatre Company.
Natalie Medlock works as a writer, actor and director. She started as an actor having graduated from Toi Whakaari and began her career devising theatre before moving into screen. Most recently Natalie was story producer on NEIGHBOURS. Prior to that she story-lined (season 3) and wrote for 800 WORDS (season 1 and 3), she also wrote for AGENT ANNA, and has also storylined and written for season 3 of ALMIGHTY JOHNSON’S. Natalie has written on comedy-drama, SHEARING THE LOVE and has feature film, DAISY CHAIN in development with the NZFC. Natalie was short listed with her series EXILLIUM for Australian Freemantle’s Blue Sky Initiative and wrote and stared in NZ On Air funded comedy webseries YETI. Theatrically, Natalie wrote sell-out hit Christmas monologue shows TOYS, and CHRIST ALMIGHTY! She also wrote and directed Michael Hurst’s solo show NO HOLDS BARD and most recently, wrote and directed the critically acclaimed play NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE.
Peter Salmon is a director, producer and writer whose work spans network, cable and premium television drama. Over the last five years, Peter has directed a number of shows in Australia including RAKE, OFFSPRING, THE BEAUTIFUL LIE, HARROW, and DOCTOR DOCTOR. Peter directed on the second series of the acclaimed thriller/comedy WANTED, which earned him a NZ TV Award for Best Director and in 2018, he produced the third series for Matchbox Pictures and Netflix. Peter began his film and TV career in NZ where he wrote and directed three award-winning short films. FOG premiered in competition at Cannes Critics Week and LETTERS ABOUT THE WEATHER was awarded a Special Jury prize at Clermont Ferrand.