Thomas Burstyn CSC – Cinematography (Drama)
Canadian Thomas Burstyn CSC, FRSA is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker with 30 years experience as a cinematographer. He trained at the National Film board of Canada as a documentary maker before moving into feature films. He directed the multi-award winning This Way of Life; One Man, One Cow, One Planet and Flash William among others. He was cinematographer on New Zealand features The Insatiable Moon, The Lost Tribe and Mr Wrong, which was directed by Gaylene Preston.
He was nominated for an Emmy Award for cinematography for The 4400 in 2005, won a Genie Award in Canada in 2002 for Magic in the Water and a CableAce Award for The Hitchhiker: True Believer.
Ralph Davies – Production Designer
Ralph Davies was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding art direction on the US TV movie Ike: Countdown to D-Day. He had recently returned from working in Bougainville as art director on Andrew Adamson’s new film Mr Pip when he started work on Strongman: The Tragedy. His other productions include feature film Under the Mountain and TV movies: Avalon High, Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, Blood Crime and Riverworld as well as TV series Young Hercules and Gold.
Chris Brokensha – Cinematography (Documentary)
South African Chris Brokensha began his career in the late 1970s as a grip on a 35mm feature film Zulu Dawn. He then joined the national broadcaster SABC, where he received formal training based on BBC standards. He then worked in studios and as a freelancer for the next seven years, doing a mix of live, single and multi-cam work, and attaining the position of senior cameraman.
His credits include: cameraman for live broadcast of The Presidential Inauguration of Nelson Mandela, SABC dramas Carmen and The Merchant of Venice, New Zealand’s Next Top Model, The Zoo, The Apprentice New Zealand, Castaway for the BBC and numerous others.
Simon Coldrick – Post Production Director and Editor
Simon has over 20 years experience in television internationally, initially based in London. Since arriving in New Zealand, he set up boutique post-production facility The Bigger Picture with his partner, producer Paula McTaggart.
He has a diverse range of credits from documentaries, drama, peak-time favourites, music videos, live events, commercials and comedy for global networks including the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, ITV, TVNZ, TV3, Sky Television, PBS and National Geographic.
Simon won the Best Editing (Factual) Award at the 2007 Qantas TV Awards NZSAS – First Among Equals, a documentary for Desert Road Television and also edited Desert Road's Emmy nominated docu-drama 'The Golden Hour' . He edited 'Operation Overdue' the story of the Erebus air crash recovery operation that recently premiered at the Documentary Edge Festival in Auckland.
Joel Haines - Composer
Joel Haines is a musician composer who has composed music for films, TV commercials and some of New Zealands most popular TV shows.
He composed the score for the film 'This way of Life’, a film which attracted worldwide attention screening at the Berlin Film Festival where it came secon in it’s category and it then went on to become one of just 15 documentaries in the world to be shortlisted fo the Academy Awards. Joel has also been nominated for achievement in original music at the Qantas Media Awards and the New Zealand television awards.
Harry Bell - Mines Consultant
Harry Bell was involved in the rescue at Strongman. He was interviewed in the film and also worked as mining consultant on it. He is seen in the archival stills and video and in the drama sequences, he is played as a young man by actor David Van Horn.
How did you come to be involved with this film?
The producer, Paula McTaggart, was doing it with her uncle Ron Gibb, but unfortunately Ron died suddenly of a brain tumour and so she asked me if I would help her. Ron and I were buddies at the time and worked together in Strongman Mines Rescue. And of course I agreed, so she come down to Greymouth and I spent time with her and a cameraman up at the mines rescue station and at the Strongman Mine going over all the things that happened.
I explained to her what I could remember about it and where the bathhouse and everything was because of course it’s all been demolished now. There was a great big compressor shed right outside the mine and we brought the bodies out of the irrespirable atmosphere to the fresh-air base in the mine, then the fresh-air miners took them from there and put them in the compressor shed, which the police used as a morgue.
So your part was to explain to Paula how everything happened and what it looked like. Have you had anything to do with the building of the replica of the mine for the film set?
Yes. I’ve given them my advice and what I remember of it all and worked with the designer and the carpenters and everyone involved in re-creating it. And helping the actors with all the questions they had about the people.
And you were on the set when they were shooting to make sure that their depiction of mining was correct?
Yes, as near as possible that we can because it was a long time ago and mining has changed dramatically. I take my hat off to Paula and Gaylene. They’ve kept it authentic to what it was in those days.
What was it like for you watching them re-enacting it? And seeing yourself as a young man, played by David Van Horn?
Oh, it’s bringing back old memories and it does feel great that I’ve got an actor playing me. I had my photograph taken with him: Old Harry and Young Harry.
I’m very pleased. It was 44 years ago and I think it’s good that it comes out now and is part of the history of New Zealand. I was only too pleased to help because it’s very authentic.