President, Aaron Morton NZCS
Aaron joined the camera department as a clapper loader in the early nineties. He worked on Xena The Warrior Princess working under Kevin Riley on the 2nd Unit. Over the 6 seasons, he worked his way up to the 2nd Unit DP position on the show and shot one episode as Main Unit DP. In the following years he worked as 2nd Unit DP on many overseas productions that came to NZ including 30 Days of Night and Underworld 3:Rise of the Lycans. He also shot local features such as the first Sione’s Wedding film. In 2009 Aaron began shooting Spartacus:Blood and Sand, followed a couple of years later by the re-boot of the Evil Dead film franchise. In the last few years Aaron has shot work such as, Orphan Black, for which he won four consecutive Canadian screen awards, multiple Black Mirror episodes, American Gods, 2nd unit for Disney on Mulan, and is currently shooting on The Lord of the Rings Series.
Vice President, Nina Wells
Nina's journey into film began at design school where a digital media major lead to discovering a talent and passion for storytelling through a lens. Now after 15 years in the industry and as an established cinematographer, she is driven by strong human stories and creative challenges in her work with a passion for collaboration in her role. Her work spans from TV dramas and narrative work in a range of genres - to commercials, short films, and international documentaries. As Vice President of the NZCS, and a mother, she is a strong advocate for advancing the careers of women in the industry to achieve parity and transform culture. Nina played a fundamental role in launching the NZCS Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program and continues to attribute to the program. She's currently DOP on alternative blocks with Lucy Lawless on My life Is Murder.
Treasurer, Murray Milne NZCS
Murray began film camera training in Wellington where he also learned to fly, skydive, and scuba dive - and take cameras with him. After working on early NZ films such as Goodbye Pork Pie, he was hooked forever on the challenges of NZ filmmaking. Murray has traveled the world filming many documentaries and TV series. He was DoP on two of Peter Jackson's early films, Meet the Feebles and Braindead, before moving to Auckland. Some recent highlights include TV series such as Coast NZ, Grand Designs and Mastermind, underwater filming for Taylor Swift and Meg, and aerial filming for documentary Miracle on Everest. Murray began flight training in 1982, and has since gained his CPL and C-Cat Instructors, Instrument Rating, and CAA Part 102 UAV Certificate for drone filming operations. After many years of filming out the side door of helicopters, Murray has continued this work all over NZ and overseas for over 20 years now.
Executive Officer, Amber Wakefield
Joining the NZCS team in 2018, with 17 years of experience in the screen industry, Amber has wide experience in production, transport, and locations on international feature films and dramas. Amber enjoys a great passion for the industry and endeavours to unite the screen production community to ensure its future, be that improved gender parity or sustainability in screen. Over the years she has become known for her enthusiastic nature and efficiency, to ensure projects are met on deadline and budget. Amber is also the Executive Officer of Film Auckland Inc. (FAI). Her knowledge of the industry and extensive network means she is ideally placed to help NZCS reach its goals. Amber is also our Awards Project Manager.
Donny Duncan NZCS
Donny has been a cinematographer for over 30 years, with a wide-ranging career that includes music videos, short films, documentaries, TVC’s, international television series, local feature films and US tele-movies. Among his DP credits are five seasons of Universal Television’s “Xena: Warrior Princess”, two seasons of ABC television’s “Legend of the Seeker”, four telemovies for the Disney Channel USA, and NZ feature films “Snakeskin” and “Kiwi Christmas”. He has also lectured in cinematography for 2 years at the Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts Bachelor’s degree course and is currently the part-time Professional Development manager for the NZ Cinematographers Society.
Mark Lapwood NZCS ACS
Mark has over 25 years’ experience filming documentaries, tv commercials, music videos, and feature films around the globe. He’s highly skilled in lighting design and camera operating for both studio and location shoots, often collaborating in many languages and cultures, with both large and small crews. He’s been trusted with feature-length documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery, and the BBC filming in Japan, South Korea, China, India, the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Mark’s work covers a range of genres from handheld documentary to cinematic, moody dramatic scenes. He is represented by Bruce Everett at Dusty Road and is available internationally, ex-New Zealand.
Marc Swadel BFE
Marc works mainly as a Director and Cinematographer for music-based work. His first narrative feature as DOP was the Korean language film ‘사막’ (Desert). Marc also has DOP credits on documentary features for The Chemical Brothers, Sparks, The Stone Roses, and All Tomorrows Parties. Marc has shot projects for Directors Edgar Wright, Shane Meadows, Taika Waititi, Jim Jarmusch, Stephen Kang, and Terry Zwigoff, and worked with artists such as Iggy & The Stooges, Mogwai, Neil & Liam Finn, Nick Cave, Portishead, Thurston Moore, The Datsuns and Bailterspace. Marc is also an accredited member of the Guild of British Film Editors (BFE).
Tory is a highly experienced news and current affairs camera operator, with over 14 years of tenure covering some of New Zealand, and the world’s, biggest news events. She currently works at Television New Zealand on its flagship prime-time current affairs show, Sunday. Past television shows include Fair Go, Seven Sharp, and the much-loved Campbell Live at Mediaworks. Her love for advocacy journalism, story camera-related things camera-related keep her busy in the field of television news.
Drew Sturge is an Auckland base cinematographer working across film / TV series and commercials. He enjoys collaborating on projects with other creative people and likes using his skills to bring stories to life on screen. Drew has been working in the film industry since 2003. Recent projects include VAI, The Legend of Baron To’a and Power Rangers.
Ainsley has been working in the industry in Auckland since 2013. Currently, she divides her time between working as a camera assistant on TVCs and dramas; and working as a DoP on smaller projects. In 2019, Ainsley completed the gender diversity mentorship program with DoP Drew Sturge, on the NZ feature The Legend of Baron To'a. Ainsley is passionate about fostering diversity throughout the camera department and creating a supportive freelance community.
Michael Paletta is a 1st AC. He started his career as a 2nd AC in his native Los Angeles in 2011 and has been a 1st since 2013. He has lived in New Zealand since 2017 and has continued to work as a Focus Puller on commercials and television series since. Michael is also currently running NZCS’s camera assistant workshops around New Zealand.
Bayley is an aspiring DP who who hopes to make a name for herself in the national as well as international film industries. Originally from Australia, she now resides in Auckland. Her passion is telling stories through moving image and working with other passionate directors, crew members and filmmakers. She has worked on a number of music videos and short films but hopes to continue to expand her portfolio of work. One of her key values throughout is to help make the film industry, and more specifically camera departments, a more welcoming and diverse place.
Mark is a Steadicam and camera operator and has been in the industry for eight years. Mark had a fast upbringing through the camera department while working on Shortland Street and has enjoyed working freelance since then. As an aspiring DOP, being a member of the NZCS has allowed him to connect with so many talented people to learn from. Mark joined the committee to represent a younger voice in the society and contribute however he can in this exciting industry.
Sebastian started his journey in France, to English parents. He has traveled the globe to find home in NZ. First working on a film-set at 16, he cut his teeth in every role of the camera and lighting department. Graduating in 2014 from the National Film & Television School, he’s been mentored by Phil Méheux, Brian Tufano and Sean Bobbitt. In turn, he takes great care in mentoring, working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and ensuring an inclusive camera team. He has specialised in shooting authentically driven commercials, feature-length documentaries, narrative film & TV dramas. His first feature film ‘Sons of the Sea’, shot in Cape Town, won ‘Best South African Film’ at the DIFF 2021.
Originally from Germany, Alyssa has been working in New Zealand since 2006. Fortunate enough to experience the tail end of film sets as a clapper loader, she has been able to apply her experience in the camera department in Germany, the UK and in Canada. Her mixed-cultural background and traveling nature initiate a particular interest in human stories voicing a social statement. Technical and creative exploration is strongly influenced by her roots in photography and interactive art installations. This approach weaves through her work as a First AC and camera operator, as well as her work as cinematographer for small to medium budget projects.
Andrew’s involvement in the NZ film industry began in the late nineties, working in the camera department on Amazon High and Young Hercules. He worked for 10 years as a clapper loader and focus puller on a wide range of international and local productions including Lord of the Rings, The Last Samurai and 30 Days of Night. He began shooting 10 years ago and worked as 2nd Unit DoP on a variety of productions including The Meg, Shadow in the Cloud, and Ash Vs Evil Dead. He shared the main unit DoP duties in the final season of Ash Vs Evil Dead. Earlier this year he wrapped on The Panthers, one of four international television shows selected for entry into the Toronto Film Festival. He is about to commence shooting the feature Dox in Wellington. He is a keen advocate for increased Pasifika expression and participation in the film industry.
Will is an American born cinematographer who immigrated to New Zealand in 2004. A thirst for adventure and great stories has led him into drama, documentary, news, and commercials across his career so far. His background as a professional athlete in extreme sports, mixed with extensive time studying at Otago university, informs his decision to join NZCS in an attempt to improve on set safety, and the democratization of knowledge.