'Interviews' Posts

Finola Dwyer: an education in production

Posted on 31 January 2012

Internationally successful Kiwi film producer Finola Dwyer began her career as an editor at the National Film Unit and then moved onto editing and producing at TVNZ. Dwyer migrated over to the film industry and worked as an editor and producer. Some of the memorable New Zealand films she worked on include Came a Hot Friday, Starlight Hotel, and The Quiet Earth. In the 90s, Dwyer moved to the UK where she has made a name for herself producing films such as Backbeat, An Education and Dean Spanley. Her latest project is Quartet, a film directed by Dustin Hoffman. In this ScreenTalk, Dwyer talks about:

  • Learning to edit film at the National Film Unit
  • Editing the classic short film Score with director Arthur Everard
  • How editing Country Calendar for TV was more stressful than NFU editing
  • How an unplanned visit to the beach led to Raglan by the Sea
  • Creating the quirky chat show McCormick Country
  • Having to re-record the dialogue and soundtrack for The Quiet Earth
  • How her first producing job on Queen City Rocker was a baptism by fire
  • Overcoming fear by producing the Beatles biopic Backbeat
  • Being proud of the film Dean Spanley and its cast and crew
  • Sharing teenage dating stories while co-producing An Education
  • How the film struck controversy due to its subject matter
  • Feeling blessed to be working and continuing to learn in the film industry
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



producer, TVNZ, editor, dean spanley, Interviews, country calendar, came a hot friday, finola dwyer, starlight hotel, the quiet earth, backbear, an education, quartet, national film unit, score, raglan by the sea, mccormick country, queen city rocker

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Bill Ralston - A lively life in TV news

Posted on 9 August 2011

Bill Ralston has had a long, varied, and sometimes controversial career in New Zealand media. He joined South Pacific Television as a news reporter in 1979 and went on to become political correspondent for TVNZ in the era of Muldoon and Lange. Moving to TV3, Ralston was the channel’s Political Editor and hosted a current affairs slot on their nightly news bulletin. Ralston joined the Nightline team and later hosted the popular panel discussion show The Ralston Group, then the arts/media series Backch@t. In 2003 he became Head of News and Current Affairs for TVNZ. In this ScreenTalk interview, Ralston talks about:

  • Reporting from the midst of a riot during the Springbok Tour of 1981
  • Learning how to tackle former PM Rob Muldoon in press conferences
  • The drama of covering the split between former PM David Lange and Roger Douglas
  • How The Ralston Group was successfully modeled on a similar show in the US
  • Bringing politics to the art world in the show Backch@t
  • How a fight with TV executives brought about the demise of the show
  • Finding it hard going, becoming the Head of TVNZ News and Current Affairs
  • Being flummoxed by the furore over newsreader Judy Bailey’s salary
  • Acknowledging that there is no true objectivity in the media
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence



interview, television, TVNZ, presenter, Interviews, tv3, NZ television, News, current affairs

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Brian Edwards - TV Current Affairs Legend

Posted on 27 July 2011

Veteran broadcaster Brian Edwards is an Irish import who made a big impact on New Zealand current affairs television. He was first seen on the 1960s regional programme Town and Around, but soon made a name for himself as a no-nonsense interviewer on Gallery. It was on that show he helped bring about the end of a union dispute with the Post Office while live on air. His bi-weekly TV show Edwards on Saturday followed, and after a controversial start, was a ratings hit. Later, Edwards helped start up the long-running consumer rights TV show Fair Go, and hosted the popular Top of the Morning on Radio New Zealand. In this ScreenTalk interview, Edwards talks about:

  • How being on Town and Around saved him from being a miserable academic
  • Getting a reputation for being an ‘aggressive interviewer’ on Gallery
  • Creating a political spat after naming SIS agents on the programme
  • Having a pivotal role in solving the infamous Post Office strike
  • Insulting just about every sector of society in the first episode of Edwards on Saturday
  • How Fair Go changed the rules of television by naming and shaming ‘baddies’
  • Why he thinks the new look Fair Go has lost its community appeal
  • Not enjoying doing the live show Edwards at Large
  • Great current affairs now being marginalised on television
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence



interview, television, TVNZ, presenter, Interviews, current affairs, consumer rights, gallery, town and around

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Martin Henderson - Home from Hollywood

Posted on 27 April 2010

Although New Zealand actor Martin Henderson made his screen debut more than two decades ago, new film Home by Christmas marks his first movie shot on Kiwi soil. Directed by Gaylene Preston and based on the wartime experiences of her parents, Home by Christmas sees Henderson playing a young soldier who leaves his wife behind to serve overseas. After making his screen debut in 1988 on Margaret Mahy TV series Strangers, Henderson spent three years on Shortland Street playing Stuart Nielsen, then moved on to Australia and later the United States. Since then he has acted everywhere from India to Sweden, and in everything from horror (The Ring) to musicals (Bride and Prejudice) to TV’s House MD. His work as Cate Blanchett’s disabled brother in drama Little Fish saw him nominated for an Australian Film Institute supporting actor award. Variety magazine called his performance “a revelation”. In this ScreenTalk interview, Henderson talks about:

  • playing Gaylene Preston’s father in Home by Christmas
  • how Preston kept him on his toes
  • his lucky break into acting, aged 13, with the TV series Strangers
  • how three years on Shortland Street was both good and bad for his acting
  • working in the United States, and the success of the remake of The Ring
  • donning leathers for motorcycle movie Torque
  • the spirit of collaboration on Australian movie Little Fish
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



television, hollywood, Interviews, actors, directors, soap operas, box office, auditions, marketing, collaboration, improvisation, scriptwriting, shortland street

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Miranda Harcourt

Posted on 15 August 2009

Miranda Harcourt got her screen break playing the bitchy Gemma on iconic 80s soap Gloss. Since then the versatile Harcourt has hardly taken a break - directing, teaching, plus acting in prisons, tele-movie Clare, and feature film For Good, among many other titles. In this ScreenTalk interview, Miranda Harcourt talks about:

  • the joys of playing Gemma on Gloss, as the character journeyed from being a “really nice girl from Hamilton” to a “bitch from hell”
  • the over-the-top reactions of some Gloss viewers when they met Harcourt in person
  • reinvention in London
  • interviewing prisoners about violent crime and murder for Verbatim. Harcourt performed the play in prisons across New Zealand, as seen in Shirley Horrocks documentary Act of Murder
  • the genesis of award-winning feature film For Good - directed by Harcourt’s husband Stuart McKenzie - the tale of a woman’s fascination with a teenager’s abduction and murder
  • playing Phillida Bunkle in tele-movie Clare, based on the disastrous gynaecological study at Auckland National Women’s Hospital
  • her time as a “terrible” student at New Zealand Drama School, and her return to spend seven years at the school as head of acting
  • embracing variety in her career, including her recent work as acting coach on Yvonne Mackay’s series Kaitangata Twitch
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence. Credits: Direction and Interview - Ian Pryor.  Camera and Editing - Alex Backhouse



gloss, acting, Interviews, drama therapy, prisoners, For Good, Clare, Verbatim, Portraits

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