We have an awesome team. Our cast and crew are fabulous. Okea ururoatia!
Producer Matthew Metcalfe has worked in film and TV for the past seventeen years. In that time he has produced over NZD 100 million worth of production, representing nine feature films, ten tele-features and numerous other TV shows, TVC’s, documentaries and music videos.
Currently Matthew is in post-production with THE DEAD LANDS a NZ/UK co-production being produced in association with LA based XYZ Films, 25 APRIL an animated feature film about the Australasian experience at Gallipoli in World War I and ATOMIC LOVE a NZ/German/Israel co-production that tells of mismatched love in the Middle East through biting political satire.
In 2013 he had theatrical releases with BEYOND THE EDGE 3D, the true story of the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and the 1953 English expedition and GISELLE a feature co-production with the Royal New Zealand Ballet directed by multi award winning director, Toa Fraser. Both BEYOND THE EDGE and GISELLE were invited to screen at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2014 he will have another theatrical release with THE DEAD LANDS which will release in New Zealand in late 2014 following its world premiere via a Special Presentation at this years Toronto International Film Festival. It will be Matthew’s fourth film at the ‘A’ list festival.
Previous films produced by Matthew have been nominated for thirty NZ Film Awards and have won thirteen as well as being recognised at festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and London. Films produced by Matthew have also been long-listed for two BAFTA’s and nominated for a London Critics Circle Award. Matthew also received a Tui Award at the 2002 NZ Music Awards for producing the iconic music video for FADE WAY by Che Fu.
Matthew has extensive experience in co-productions and was the first New Zealand producer to carry out a tri-partite or three way co-production between New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom with the US funded feature film, NEMESIS GAME. Produced in association with Lions Gate, NEMESIS GAME has sold to over 30 territories including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and most of Asia.
In 2008 Matthew produced DEAN SPANLEY, a NZD 15 Million co-production between New Zealand and the United Kingdom that starred Peter O’Toole, Bryan Brown and Sam Neill. Released in Australiasia by Paramount and domestically by Miramax, the film was nominated for thirteen New Zealand Film Awards and won seven. It was long-listed for two BAFTA awards and nominated for a London Critics Circle award.
In 2009 Matthew successfully worked with Polyphon Films in Germany to create, finance and produce the EMILIE RICHARDS series for German network ZDF. Regularly drawing an audience in excess of seven million viewers EMILIE RICHARDS has become a smash hit in Europe and is the most successful New Zealand/German co-production venture of all time. Matthew also acted as co-producer on the German mini series for ZDF, BIRD OF PARADISE and associate producer on the ZDF series THE DREAMBOAT.
In 2010 Matthew produced LOVE BIRDS a NZD 11 Million romantic comedy starring Rhys Darby (FLIGHT of THE CONCHORDS) and Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins (HAPPY GO LUCKY). International sales are handled by Icon.
Matthew also produced and appeared in the top rating TVNZ documentary VIETNAM – MY FATHERS WAR and the groundbreaking TV3 documentary for Inside New Zealand, SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE. Other TV credits include producing and writing the top rating prime time series for TV One, AIR FORCE and the CanWest TV 3 series, STERIOGRAM – WHITE TRASH TO ROCK GODS
Matthew has also contributed to the New Zealand screen sector by serving for three years on the New Zealand Film Commissions SPIF Committee (SPIFCOM) and as a member of the 2012 Government Steering Committee for the Screen Sector Review. In 2014 he was appointed to the NZ SPG Significant Economic Benefits Verification Panel.
Matthew holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Auckland and an Advanced Diploma in English History from the University of Oxford.
The son of a British mother and Fijian father, Toa Fraser was born in London in 1975, and moved to Auckland with his family in 1989. Movie-mad since childhood, at the age of 12 he wrote to the producers of the James Bond movies, asking for permission to make a Bond film of his own. The lawyers were not keen. Later he spent four years as a cinema usher and began acting and writing plays while studying at Auckland University.
His career proved a stellar one from early on. In 1998 he picked up awards for Best New Play (Bare) and Best New Playwright at the Chapman Tripp theatre awards. The two-hander saw Ian Hughes and Madeleine Sami playing an array of 15 characters. Metro called it “an instant classic”. In 1999 he won the Sunday Star Times Bruce Mason Award.
It was his second play, No.2 (1999) that catapulted him (and Sami) to fame, winning the Festival First Award at the 2000 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, alongside performances in Europe, Canada, Jamaica and Fiji. Set over the course of one day, as an elderly Fijian matriarch demands a family feast so she can choose her successor, the play saw Sami playing every role.
In 2000, Fraser worked for a year with director Vincent Ward on the screenplay for Ward’s film River Queen. In the same period, he co-wrote a one-hour TV drama Staunch, with director Keith Hunter. It’s the story of a young Māori woman (Once Were Warriors’ Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell) defending herself against an unfair police prosecution, with the help of a friendly social worker.
In 2001, Fraser was awarded the University of South Pacific’s Writer in Residence Fellowship. Whilst there, in Fiji, he began work on the film adaptation of No. 2, a process that would take four years and an estimated 20 drafts.
He had never directed a play or film before, but was determined to direct No. 2 – partly “out of a sense of responsibility to the Pacific community” – particularly the working class suburb of Mt Roskill, where most of the film was shot. He directed the video for the film’s hit song Bathe in the River sungby Hollie Smith at the Mt Roskill house of relatives.
When No. 2 debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, it won the Audience Award (World Cinema Dramatic) and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. Re-titled Naming Number Two in some territories, the film won selection in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival and won the Audience award at the Brisbane International Film Festival. The late Ruby Dee, who played family matriarch Nanna Maria, was awarded Best Actress at the 2006 Atlanta Film Festival. In the same year at the New Zealand Screen Awards No. 2 was nominated in 12 categories, including best film and best director, and won four awards, three of them for performance.
In 2008, Fraser directed his multi award-winning second feature, Dean Spanley, produced by The Dead Lands’ Matthew Metcalfe andstarring Sam Neill, Jeremy Northam, Bryan Brown and Peter O’Toole. A whimsical tale of fathers, sons, dogs, and other lives set in Edwardian England, it received critical acclaim and premiered at a Gala Screening at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.
Dean Spanley was nominated for 13 awards at the 2009 Qantas Film and Television Awards. It went on to win seven, including best director, best film costing more than $1 million, best screenplay, and best supporting actor (Peter O’Toole).
Next, Fraser wrote and directed Giselle, also produced by Matthew Metcalfe, an acclaimed filmed ballet starring world-renowned dancers Gillian Murphy andQi Huan. Fraser’s interpretation of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Giselle, featuring a score performed by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Giselle premiered at the 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival, followed by an international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
The Dead Lands is Fraser’s third project with producer Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley, Giselle) and his fourth with renowned cinematographer Leon Narbey (No.2, Dean Spanley, Giselle).
New Zealand director, producer and screenwriter Glenn Standring was born and raised in the small Manawatu town of Feilding.
He completed his honours degree in Archaeology at the University of Otago and then a Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in film at Christchurch’s Ilam School of Fine Arts.
Standring’s short film, Lenny Minute One (1993), was a rare, early example of computer animation, created locally to became only the second New Zealand short selected for Cannes film competition.
It was followed by The Irrefutable Truth About Demons (2000) a horror film starring Karl Urban, which was shot in Wellington and went on to become a cult hit on the international film festival circuit.
His second feature, the award winning Perfect Creature (2006), was a science fiction film that garnered major international sales. It was a unique take on the vampire myth set an alternate history, where science and religion had never separated.
The discovery of his family’s previously unknown Māori ancestry inspired Standring to write The Dead Lands with funding from a NZFC Writers Award. He aimed to combine elevated “action drama” in the tradition of Akira Kurosawa with New Zealand’s pre-European past, creating a unique glimpse of a New Zealand never before seen in a major feature film. He also acted as a producer on the film.
Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa) is an independent film and television producer, director, executive producer, writer, presenter, and voice artist.
He started his working life in 1980 as an investigating officer for the Office Of The Race Relations Conciliator. He commenced his broadcasting career with Television New Zealand in 1984. As a director, producer and executive producer he was responsible for over 500 hours of programming. In 2000 he established his company Pito One Productions and has since expanded his work into film production, cultural consultancy, governance and writing.
Stephens is a 30-year veteran as a television producer of Māori programmes. Te Kohanga Reo (1986), Koha (1987-88), Marae (1990-93), Waka Huia (1999,2000), Mai Time (1995-2000), and Anzac: Na Ratou Mo Tatou (2005) were significant productions that helped established a permanent place for Māori language and Māori stories in the medium. In recent years he has produced and directed entertainment shows like It’s In The Bag (2010-2013) and My Country Song (2013).
As a director and writer Stephens has made many documentaries that explore the indigenous contribution to New Zealand’s history and society. They include Māori Battalion March To Victory (1990), The Black Singlet Legacy (1991), When The Haka Became Boogie (1992), The New Zealand Wars (1998), He Whare Korero (2004), Let My Whakapapa Speak (2008), Requiem For Charlie (2012), Hitler & The Gumdiggers (2013) and The Prophets (2013).
As a film producer he has worked with directors Vincent Ward on River Queen (2005) and Rain Of The Children (2008), Armagan Ballantyne on The Strength Of Water (2009) and Toa Fraser with The Deadlands (2014).
He has served on a number of broadcasting and film industry boards. He had three terms as a board member of the New Zealand Film Commission. He currently sits on the Māori film development body Te Paepae Ataata.
Stephens is committed to the role of the Māori storyteller in all modern media. He is a long time advocate and practitioner of Māori language screen storytelling. He is comfortable working in a wide range of genre and content. He is personally attracted to compelling stories that critique and celebrate the human condition.
Norman Merry is Finance Director, Lipsync. He joined the company in 1997 from the music industry. He spent several years as an accountant for companies including EMI, Universal and the UK independent PWL, and also had his own label and dance record shops.
In recent years Merry has been instrumental in developing LipSync Productions which offers producer-friendly post-production equity to clients. The success of this business has seen him take an executive producer role on over 40 projects to date, including We Need To Talk about Kevin, Made in Dagenham, Mr Turner, and the forthcoming A Little Chaos and What We Did On Our Holidays.
He also led the refurbishment of LipSync’s Dean Street property and subsequent developments in the company’s two Wardour Street addresses. In addition he oversaw funding for kit and building works as LipSync expanded its popular DI and VFX departments.
More recently, James can be seen in cinemas starring with Cliff Curtis in the critically acclaimed The Dark Horse, written and directed by James Napier Robertson, which opened the New Zealand Film Festival 2014 to critical acclaim.
Rolleston has also starred in the short film Frosty Man and the BMX Kid, directed by Tim McLachan, and the Australian short film Man directed by Richard Hughes, which screened in the 2014 Sydney Film Festival.
His tribal affiliations include Ngai te Rangi, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Porou, Tuhoe, Whakatohea and Tainui. He is very proud of his Maori heritage but also acknowledges with pride his Spanish, English and Scottish heritage.
He recently celebrated his 17th birthday and is currently in Year 13 at Opotiki College, where he plays in the 1st XV rugby team and is a member of the College Kapa Haka team.
This ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats has never been more prevalent than during his performance of The Warrior in The Dead Lands.
The Warrior’s aggressive demeanor meant that Makoare’s performance was both physically and emotionally demanding, with the added complexity of this lead role being played completely in Te Reo Maori.
Currently Makoare is filming in Malaysia for Marco Polo, the Weinstein Company’s latest drama series set to premiere in late 2014.
Overseas audiences also know him for his roles as Maecenus and the Barbarian Leader in Xena: Warrior Princess and Mr Kil in Die Another Day.
His feature film roles include Marcel in Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business and Haki in Longing for New Zealand, a NZ/German co-production produced by The Dead Lands producer Matthew Metcalfe. Te Kohe also starred in Taika Waititi’s internationally acclaimed short film, Tama Tu, produced by Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis.
His television drama work includes the telefeatures Stolen, Billy, Eruption, The Kick and What Really Happened: Waitangi. He is remembered as the gang-connected Kingi in Shortland Street, recognised as Zave in Go Girls, and demonstrates his fluency in Te Reo when presenting for Maori Television’s Korero Mai.
Of Ngati Awa descent, Horan’s recent feature films include the critically acclaimed The Dark Horse and the upcoming The Last Saint. He played rugby star Sonny Bill Williams in the TV movie The Kick, played Tai Scott on New Zealand’s long running soap opera Shortland Street and Hector in the stage production The Maori Troilus & Cressida, which opened the Globe to Globe season at The Globe in London.
Through out her years studying at Auckland University she worked as a model and through her agency Red 11, was encouraged to attend acting classes run by Rene Naufahu.
Of Ngaitai ki Tamaki (Tainui) descent, she is an architect by profession and a keen sportswoman – running, boxing, swimming, snowboarding and yoga. She is a fluent Te Reo Māori speaker and was a Kapa Haka performer throughout her time at Auckland Girls Grammar.