Our People

Full-time Staff

The Film School’s staff are not only experienced in their skill areas, but also significantly involved with the wider screen production industry.

Sashi Meanger – Executive Director
Tel: 04 237 3100  + 4112 when prompt.
sashi.meanger@whitireia.ac.nz
Sashi Meanger has more than twenty years’ experience in the education sector bringing a wealth of management and academic knowledge to his position as Executive Director.  He has extensive experience in the arts, culture and communications having held positions such as the Dean of Arts at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Education Resource Centre and Head of the Communications Department at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey University Wellington). He is the founding Executive Member of the New Zealand Communication Association Inc. and has held various positions in office for the Association.  Sashi was formally the MBA Director, lecturer and course co‐ordinator at Victoria University’s School of Management, and is also the founder and director of The Guava Tree; an upmarket Wellington‐based retail store.

Ness Simons  Head Tutor

Tel: 04 237 3100  + 4114 when prompt. vanessa.simons@whitireia.ac.nz
As the Head Tutor Ness Simons is responsible for leading the students through the course, developing their skills and understanding as filmmakers, and preparing them for a career in the industry. As a graduate of The Film School Ness knows what it’s like to go through the course, and is focused on inspiring and supporting the students to raise the bar with every project they make. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion on screen and puts character and story at the top of the list for every project. As a writer and director Ness has completed a range of work, including short films, webseries and independent content for organisations and businesses. Ness is the creator of ‘Pot Luck’ webseries, which has been selected for a bunch of festivals around the world and has over two million views with season one and is working on season two (due out late 2017). Ness has a background in business and a BAppA in Scriptwriting from Whitireia. 

Lisa Scott – Assistant Production Co-ordinator
Tel: 04 237 3100  + 4115 when prompt. lisa.scott@whitireia.ac.nz
 Lisa Scott is a graduate of The New Zealand Film and Television School, project managing ‘The Pissy Tits Street Gang’. Lisa works as the Assistant Production Coordinator at The Film School. Lisa attend The New Zealand Film and Television School after studying abroad at Edith Cowan University, in Western Australia. As well as completing her degree of Creative Industries majoring in Film and Video. As an undergraduate Lisa worked with the Western Australian Screen Academy and also collaborated with Western Australian Performing Arts Academy.”

Mark Jackson – Technician
Tel: 04 237 3100  + 4111 when prompt. mark.jackson@whitireia.ac.nz
 Mark Jackson is the Technician responsible for managing the technical aspects of The Film School. Mark studied 3D animation in Maya and video post production at Natcoll, Wellington and subsequently tutored at Natcoll in both Maya and video post production. He is a graduate of The Film School and his interests are in 35mm photography and in film. Mark is also a certified AVID instructor.

Johan Bekker - Administrative Co-ordinator
Tel: 04 237 3100  + 4110 when prompt. johan.bekker@whitireia.ac.nz
 Johan is responsible for the administrative, facility, student, as well as the library co-ordination and management. Johan has a history in administrative and people management locally, the UK as well as South Africa.Johan is also a full-time Artist using mediums sush as clay, oils and digital paint. 

Visiting Tutors

Much of the course is delivered by visiting industry tutors in specialist fields. The Film School is very appreciative of these industry practitioners for their support and enthusiasm in passing on their skills and expertise to students.

The Film School has collaborative relationships with the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, The New Zealand Film Archive, the Screen Directors Guild, the Screen Producers and Directors Association, the Technicians Guild, the NZ Writers Guild, WIFT (Women in Film and Television) and Toi Whakaari as well as the various facilities and production companies located in Wellington. These help to expand the human resources and expertise available to the School and its students.


DANNY MULHERON: DIRECTOR/WRITER

Mulheron has directed award winning television dramas, documentaries and smash hit theatre productions. In 1989,  Mulheron joined director Peter Jackson's writing team. Jackson had three fevered weeks to expand Meet the Feebles into a full-length script. The movie saw Mulheron sweating buckets inside a foam suit as prima donna hippo Heidi, and in the process Mulheron won an acting award from an Italian fantasy film festival, and a nomination for best male performance at the 1990 NZ Film and Television Awards. 

Mulheron moved to Los Angeles, contracted by New Line Cinema to collaborate with Peter Jackson on a Nightmare on Elm St sequel. They then went on to work with Wingnut Films on a Monty Python style fantasy Blubberhead. Mulheron also spent time in Hollywood, working on a puppet television show for Fox television. 

Some of Mulheron’s numorous credits include writing, acting, and directing award winning sketch comedy Skitz for Gibson Group; director for episodes of the The Strip, The Tribe, and Atlantis High; director for television movie Erruption, and drama The Hothouse; co-director for feature-length documentary The Third Richard; a BBC TV series Paradise Cafe made for children, and tele-movie Rage that saw him as finalist for Best Director Drama/Comedy. In 2012 Mulheron directed comedy-horror tale Fresh Meat about a gang of criminals who take a Maori family hostage, which went on to screen internationally. The first part of 2014 will see Mulheron direct The Kick, a feature length television movie for Television New Zealand.

‘I find working with the students inspiring and its really valuable for me to keep in touch with younger film makers. I learn as much from them as they learn from me.’

Clikc HERE for more information about Danny Mulheron.


STEVE BARR: SCRIPT WRITER/SCREEN WRITER

Steve Barr earned a BFA in Theatre from the University of Southern California, then worked for 16 years in the Hollywood system as a studio suit and post-production scheduler for NBC Universal, a feature screenwriter for Disney, and VP Development for indie financier/production company SMASHfilms. He has lived in New Zealand since 2010, where he is currently an Executive Producer of the NZ Film Commission’s Premiere Shorts funding programme, a development producer with The Gibson Group, the NZ representative for Kilin International, the chief film selector of the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival, a screenwriter on a number of US and NZ productions, a showrunner with Avalon Studios, a freelance story consultant, and a board member of the Inspiring Stories Trust and the NZ Writers Guild. He plans to get some sleep in late 2028.

"I love working with the students at the Film School. They're some of the most talented and capable people in the country, and they're eager to go out and make their mark on the world."


TONY HILES - FILMMAKER
An award winning filmmaker, in the 1960’s Tony Hiles worked as a commercials Director for Peach Wemyss, and in the 70’s with NZBC and TV-One, and during that time he was Producer/Director of 600-plus electronic studio-based productions of Music, Drama, Current Affairs, and Factual Programmes. Tony has also produced and directed over 100 documentary films, including 1 and half years on the iconic kiwi program Country Calendar

In 1980, along with partner Judith Fyfe, he established City Associates Films, an independent production house that has since produced notable works. His many awards and credits include The Wonderful World of Fred Dagg - Best Light Entertainment Programme; Flight of Fancy - Special Jury Prize, NZ Adventure Film Festival, Best Cinematography NZFTV Awards, selected for Cinema du Reel Exhibition, Paris; Jack Brown Genius - NZFTV Awards Kodak Best Director; feature film 
Waiorongomai Interactive CD-i documentary - ITVA Awards, Best Technical Development, Best Interactive, Best Overall Production. 

To name a few, some of Tony’s notable credits include, Director/Writer of feature film Jack Brown Genius; Consultant Producer for NZFC/WingNut Films on Peter Jackson feature film Bad Taste; Producer/Director for The World – Population 1300 Martinborough Centenary documentary; Producer/Director documentary Good Taste made Bad Taste; Producer for NZ On Air & Te Ao Marama documentary Te Whaea – Mother of Change. A prolific filmmaker, Tony has several projects in the making. 

‘ I used to make films, now I make videos....because it's not what you shoot on, it's what you shoot.’ 


COSTAS BOTES - FILMMAKER

Costa has been a freelance film-maker since the early 1980s. His short film Stalin’s Sickle won the jury prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in 1988. Forgotten Silver, a mock-documentary was co-written & directed with Peter Jackson in 1995. It won a special critics prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1996, and has become a cult favourite worldwide. He also documented the making of Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy Lord of the Rings trilogy from 1999 to 2003.

Costa’s first feature film, Saving Grace (1997), was selected for competition at Valladolid, Asia-Pacific, and Fantasporto Film Festivals. In 2005 he established production company Lone Pine Film & TV Productions, producing numerous award winning documentaries that have screened in international film festivals, which include Lost in Wonderland which he produced and edited and went on to win awards at Qantas NZ Film & TV Awards; Candyman: The David Klein Story premiered at Slamdance and Hot Docs, and won the Director’s Choice best documentary award at the Rincon Puerto Rico Film Festival; The Last Dogs of Winter had its world premiere as an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival: he was also writer and producer for short film Day Trip which screened internationally and won the Signis Award at Espression En Corto in Mexico, and best short film at the Montreal First Peoples Film Festival. He is currently editing a feature length documentary, producing a half hour piece for Park Road Post, as well as developing a dramatic feature film.

‘Being a professional film maker is not what many people imagine. Sometimes I feel it's a lifestyle I would not wish on my worst enemy. Other times, I feel like the luckiest man alive. Teaching students, I have always tried to be as honest as possible about all aspects of the work we do. We owe it to students to allow them to make informed judgements about their futures.’ 


LAWRENCE MCDONALD


Lawrence McDonald is a Film and Media Studies teacher who has had a longstanding involvement with the film and television industries. He edits the film and performance journal Illusions and is the co-editor of New Zealand Film: an illustrated history (Te Papa Press in association with the New Zealand Film Archive, 2011), the most comprehensive history of the subject to date. He was a committee member of the Screen Innovation Production Fund (a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission) from 1999 until its cessation in 2009; and is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Emerging Artists' Trust (EAT) which, amongst its activities, provides mentoring and funding opportunities for emerging filmmakers. 

Tutor information are in the process of being added.