In the meantime, here are some of the exceptionally talented people that joined us for our last Conference, which was held in Auckland in 2019.
The creator of Netflix’s most-watched original show, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, Jenji Kohan was the headline speaker at the 2019 SPADA Conference.
The event was held at Auckland’s Aotea Centre across 20 and 21 November, and featured an international address from Lord David Puttnam along with an array of talented screen sector professionals from New Zealand and the world.
Jenji Kohan is an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer with a screen career spanning twenty five years. Starting out as a writer on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air Jenji went on to write episodes for Mad About You, Will and Grace, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls. As the creator of original Showtime hit series Weeds Jenji was nominated for an Emmy and three PGA Awards. She is the creator and showrunner of Netflix series Orange is the New Black, and executive producer of G...Read more
Shane Thompson has established himself as one of the motion picture industry’s leaders in the field of integrated marketing, a specialized role that straddles the worlds of production and marketing, touching all areas of the studio from Theatrical to Consumer Products, Games and Soundtrack Albums to Home Entertainment and Television.
Over the last 15 years Shane has overseen Integrated campaigns for six of the ten highest-grossing films in the studio’s history, including...
Lord David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Local Hero. Together these films have won ten Oscars, ten Golden Globes, twenty-five Baftas and the Palme D'Or at Cannes. From 1986 to 1988, Lord Puttnam was Chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures, before returning to the UK to produce Memphis Belle, War of the Buttons and My Life So Far. From 19...Read more
Eli is a leading voice in the new blood of comedy who in just a few short years has earned accolades across New Zealand and abroad. Eli is a two time Billy T Awards nominee, twice winner of the Auckland Fringe’s Best Comedy Award and in 2017 was a nominee for New Zealand’s top comedy honour, the Fred Award. Based in Auckland, Eli is originally from Christchurch and performs in his home town as often as possible at events such as the famed World Buskers Festival.Since brea...Read more
Irene Gardiner began her career as a journalist at Wellington's Dominion newspaper. In 1984, she became a publicist at the TVNZ publicity department at Avalon. An interest in television production developed from there, and in 1986 she became a trainee producer/director, working in Avalon's music unit on such shows as Ready to Roll, RTR New Releases, Heartbeat City, True Colours and Radio with Pictures.
In 1989, Gardiner set up an Auckland branch office for the music u...
Simon Crawford Collins is one of the most experienced producers of successful television drama working in the UK.
Former Joint Managing Director of Kudos, Simon was instrumental in the company’s meteoric rise, having developed and produced its first hit show, the Bafta and multi-award winning international series Spooks, before going on to produce the company’s next hit series Hustle and then exec produce Ashes to Ashes. During his time at Kudos as producer, Head of D...
Nevak Rogers (Māori and Tongan descent) has almost 25 years experience in the media since starting out as a print and radio journalist for Mana magazine and RNZ's Mana News before transitioning into television in 2000 – freelance reporting for TVNZ, TV3 and MTS.
Over the past 19 years Nevak has worked for numerous production companies including Greenstone, Screentime, Eyeworks, Ponsonby, Tūmanako and Hula Haka Productions (as managing director). She has worked in a r...
John Barnett has over forty years experience in the screen sector and a career which has incorporated film and TV production, film + video distribution, artist management, establishing multiplexes, and building entertainment businesses.
With films such as Whale Rider, Footrot Flats and Sione’s Wedding among his credits John has produced several of New Zealand’s top grossing films. As the former owner and Chief Executive of South Pacific Pictures, which counts Shortlan...
As the Manager of Local Entertainment Content for Prime and Sky TV Annie Murray commissions across the spectrum from blue chip factual to series drama and the occasional children's programme. Responsible for commissioning mostly free-to-air content for Prime, Annie is also involved with some local projects for Sky's entertainment channels.
Annie’s previous experience includes her work as a consultant to NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho, Head of Children's and Special Intere...
Dr James Russell is a conservation biologist at the University of Auckland and regular media commentator on conservation issues in New Zealand and globally, particularly for Predator Free New Zealand. In 2019 he was the opening speaker for TEDx Tauranga and appears in the Netflix docuseries Unnatural selection.
Dr Russell is taking part in the Science Roundtable.
Kay Ellmers [Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa] has produced and/or directed more than 20 one-off documentaries, and a range of factual television series and children’s programmes in English and Te Reo Māori.
Since starting out in the industry as a researcher, reporter and director on TVNZ series Marae Kay has created an extensive range of screen projects, including Her Daughter’s Voice - about singer and mother Hinewehi Mohi, Whānau - a once-every-seven-years ...
Dominic Smith is a BBC-trained Television Series Producer specializing in developing original, visually-arresting, popular factual and entertainment programming. He emigrated to New Zealand in 2011.
Recent work includes Series Producing ‘The Secret Life Of Girls’ (Screentime for TVNZ1), ‘Face The Classroom’ (Screentime for TVNZ1), ‘Spellbound’ (Greenstone for TVNZ1), ‘Wife Swap’ (Screentime for TVNZ2) and the upcoming ‘Eat Well For Less’ (Screentime for...
Dacia joined the Science Media Centre (SMC) at its launch in 2008, bringing experience in radio, film, documentary, television news and science writing in the US, China and New Zealand. The aim of the SMC is to promote accurate, evidence-based reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community.
Since its inception Dacia has played a pivotal role in shaping the SMC’s direction, leading initiatives to build...
Mark McNeilis a multi-award-winning Producer & Director and one of New Zealand’s leading factual filmmakers. Over the last 25 years he has Directed, Produced & Executively Produced more than 100 hours of Broadcast, OTT & Feature documentaries. His work has screened in NZ, Australia the United States, the UK and Europe. His recent project 'Dark Tourist' is the only Netflix Original series commissioned out of NZ.
Mark combines intelligence with strong story tell...
With over 20 years’ experience across both the exhibition and distribution landscape in NZ Nigel Forsyth has worked for Hoyts Cinemas, Roadshow Films, Warner Bros and more recently Studiocanal in several different roles including but not limited to, General Management, Film Programming, Sales and Acquisitions and Project Development. He has worked on many local and international film projects including the record-breaking Hobbit Trilogy. Throughout Nigel’s career he has...Read more
Pietra Brettkelly is a Sundance award-winning and three times Oscar-selected producer, director and writer. She was recently received the inaugural 2019 New Zealand Arts Laureate in Documentary. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and her films have premiered In Competition at five of the world’s top six film festivals.A collection of her films have also screened at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and at MOMA, New York, and her recent film Y...Read more
Miranda Harcourt is an acclaimed acting coach, actor, writer, director and producer. With over a decade working as an acting coach on series and films all over the world Miranda has worked with renowned actors and directors including Jane Campion, Peter Jackson, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Saoirse Ronan, on projects such as Lion, Big Little Lies, and Top of the Lake. As an actor Miranda is a five-time finalist for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress at the NZ Film...Read more
Andrew has been working in the film industry since 2010, and for the last six years in the Madman NZ Theatrical team as Marketing and Sales Executive. During that period Andrew has worked on the release of more than 130 feature films across all genres, including local hits Hunt for the Wilderpeople and The Breaker Upperers.Andrew graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and English.Read more
Kiri Reihana is a Kairangahau for Manaaki whenua, from Ngāpuhi, Whakatōhea and Ngai Tūhoe descent. She is passionate about facilitating kaitiakitanga for nga iwi. She brings her holistic view, of an across environmental domains approach to all her projects which is best summarised by ‘Mai uta ki tai’ - from the mountains to the sea. She is the designer behind the WAIora App; a freshwater monitoring and assessment tool, and Eko; a bilingual ecology game which were dev...Read more
Dr Natalie Robinson is a marine physicist at NIWA working at the intersection between the ocean, sea ice and ice shelves. Her field-based research is helping to better understand critical interactions between ice and ocean, as well as their influence on and response to Earth’s changing climate. Her work has taken her to Antarctica six times, and she is now part of the leadership team for NZ’s MBIE-funded Antarctic Science Platform – with plans for research activity stre...Read more
Dr Craig Sutherland is a professional teaching fellow in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering, where he teaches the next generation of engineers to build robots and other systems. Previously, he worked in the Centre for Automation and Robotics Engineering Science (CARES), where he explored how people and robots can interact together, and how to improve robots in healthcare. Prior to getting a PhD in Human Computer Education, he worked in healthcare,...Read more
Professor Quentin Atkinson came to the University of Auckland in 2010 following a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He teaches evolutionary psychology and was awarded a Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2012. Quentin’s research draws on lab and field experiments, computer modelling and evolutionary theory to shed light on how and why various aspects of human...Read more
Over a 25 year career in media, Sue Woodfield has executive produced thousands of hours of content across a range of genre including drama, documentary, factual and reality. Wellington-born, Sue has worked for global media organisations including Reuters, NBC, Sky TV, ITN and the BBC before joining MediaWorks. In 2019, Sue is Head of Commissioning and External Production at MediaWorks, responsible for local content on Three and ThreeNow including The Block NZ, Grand De...Read more
Jonathan Olsberg has worked in the screen industries for 35 years, starting out in New York as an international sales agent, handling titles such as My Beautiful Launderette, before distributing specialised films in the US from directors like Resnais, Godard, Verhoeven, Greenaway and Paul Cox. Jonathan is the founder and chairman of a successful international business - Olsberg SPI - which specialises in strategic advice for the creative industries with particular experi...Read more
During her 20 year career Lanita Ririnui (Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāpuhi, Kuki Āirani) has directed and produced many works for TVNZ, Māori Television and www.thecoconet.nz across genres of entertainment, lifestyle, documentary and sport.
Majoring in Television, with a Bachelor of Communication Studies from AUT, her experience has always been kaupapa driven, immersed in development and stories that bring communities together. Māori, Pasifika and rangatahi voices h...
Ness Simons is a writer and director based in Wellington, New Zealand, with a passion for exploring stories that aren’t being told, and reflecting the world around her. With over eight years working in the local industry Ness has kept herself busy crewing on a range of projects and developing her own work, including 'Actually Alex' (NZFC Fresh 10) and two seasons of 'Pot Luck Webseries' (NZOA). Ness is the sole writer and director of all 12 episodes of 'Pot Luck', creating...Read more
Nick Boshier is an actor, writer and the co-creator of a number of internet hits including Beached Az which has over 10 million views since releasing in 2009. Since then Nick has continued to co-develop one-offs and series that consistently find a large audience online, often blurring the line between fact and fiction, such as Trent from Punchy and Bondi Hipsters’.
Nick can be seen in Jeremy the Dud, Soul Mates’ and ‘Rostered On’. As one of the creators of #7dayslate...
Debra Richards is the Immediate past CEO of Ausfilm. She has over 30 years communications, media & screen industry experience, previously 12 years as CEO of the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), over 13 years with Australia’s broadcasting regulator, then the Australian Broadcasting Authority (& Tribunal) and most recently almost nine years as CEO of Ausfilm, attracting major production and post production work to Australia. Debra has...Read more
Brett O’Riley has been passionate about the screen since he was a boy. His grandfather Fred was a leading amateur movie maker and some of his films are archived in Nga Taonga. As a teenager Brett was a television actor before becoming a journalist and broadcaster in front of the camera. Then followed 20 years of work in the ICT sector during which he was involved with the industry in several capacities. This included co-producing with Brian Sweeney the first Cook Island tel...Read more
Stephen started his TV commissioning career at the ABC with a bang after steering his first project, the award winning “War on Waste” (2017) to achieving the highest ratings in the slot for over two years, as well as sparking a major national conversation which launched game-changing campaigns that led to two major supermarkets in Australia banning plastic bags. Before being appointed Commissioning Editor of Factual at ABC TV in October 2016, Stephen wrote and directed...Read more
Jill Macnab began her career working in theatre management at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before transitioning to work in music and film retail in the UK then NZ. From here she moved to AU/NZ distributor Vendetta Films, progressing up the ranks to be General Manager of the whole business. She oversees acquisitions, sales and marketing, and attends all key film markets each year including Berlin, Cannes and Toronto.The Vendetta team pride themselves on their award-winning m...Read more
Annie Goldson has been producing and directing award-winning documentaries and docudramas for 20 years in the United States and New Zealand. Her work is known for its craft, sensitivity and engagement.
Her films have won over 50 awards at international film festivals, opened theatrically world-wide. Her best-known titles are Punitive Damage, Georgie Girl, Sheilas: 28 Years On, Pacific Solution: From Afghanistan to Aotearoa, Elgar's Engima, An Island Calling, Brother Nu...
Jack McQuire is a Partner of Icehouse Ventures, a leading early-stage investment group with over $150m in assets under management and investing >$20m per annum into kiwi-founded technology and growth companies.Within the Icehouse Ventures group, Jack’s focus is on Ice Angels (New Zealand’s most active angel investment network), Tuhua Ventures (a $40m early-stage venture fund), and First Cut Ventures (NZ’s only fund focused on supporting young founders). Jack has also...Read more
Bridget Callow-Wright is an award-winning screen producer with a focus on scripted narrative film and television.
Bridget is the head of Jungle Entertainment’s new feature film division, expanding on their award winning suite of premium comedy and drama TV productions. In this role she is working with several creative teams to develop Jungle’s new slate of feature films for the international marketplace.
Bridget has a wide network of international and local financing and...
Since 2014 Good Pitch Australia has raised more than $14 million in philanthropic grants for the funding of 19 social impact documentaries and their impact campaigns, forging over 300 new collaborative cross-sectoral partnerships connecting the NGO and business sectors, education and policy leaders and the media in support of the impact campaigns aligned with each of their documentaries.
Malinda’s professional experience spans senior roles within the corporate, political, p...
Dr. Annette Henderson is a Senior Lecturer and Rutherford Discovery Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. She is a developmental scientist whose research expertise lies in socio-cognitive development in early childhood (0 – 7 years old). Her work on the development of cooperation and social competence has received several national grants (e.g., Marsden fund) and prestigious fellowships (e.g., Rutherford Discovery Fellowship).
The ultimate goal of...
Professor Richard Easther is a Professor and Head of Department of Physics at the University of Auckland. Born in New Zealand, Richard worked in Japan and the United States for 16 years after finishing his PhD at the University of Canterbury. He was a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University, returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Richard’s research is at the interface of particle physics and astronomy, focussing on the nature of dark matter, and the orig...Read more
Dr Melanie Woodfield (DClinPsy, BSc(Hons), FNZCCP) has been a Clinical Psychologist since 2004, and works as both a clinician and a researcher. She has a longstanding interest in parents and parenting, and effective psychological treatments for young children with conduct problems. Melanie was made a Fellow of the NZ College of Clinical Psychologists in 2019. She received the Health Research Council’s Foxley Fellowship (2018-19) and is undertaking a PhD with the support of...Read more