Here's a bit about us!
MIRIAM SMITH - WRITER / PRODUCER
Miriam Smith co-created & produced the critically acclaimed & award winning feature documentaries THE GROUND WE WON (2015) & HOW FAR IS HEAVEN (2012). Both films have had highly successful nationwide cinema releases in New Zealand and screened at film festivals around the world including Locarno, MIFF, Warsaw and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. THE GROUND WE WON won Best Documentary & Best Documentary Cinematography at the New Zealand Film Awards, the Special Jury Prize at FIFO Tahiti, and the Best Sound award at the Moscow International Documentary Festival.
Miriam has written for literary journals, magazines, film and feature-length radio dramas for RNZ & BBC 4. She has also provided script development feedback for many writers and independent film producers.
Miriam is alumni of the five month intensive Binger Writers’ Lab in Amsterdam and the Script to Screen Aotearoa Writers’ Lab. She has a BA in English & Film (Senior English Prize winner) and a Masters in Creative & Performing Arts, majoring in screenwriting, from the University of Auckland.
Miriam and filmmaking partner Chris Pryor are co-directors of the independent film production company Deer Heart Films, through which they’re currently developing a slate of boldly original drama & documentary films.
CHRISTOPHER PRYOR - DIRECTOR / CINEMATOGRAPHER / EDITOR
THE GROUND WE WON is Chris Pryor’s second feature documentary as director, cinematographer and editor. THE GROUND WE WON has screened to considerable critical acclaim at a growing list of international film festivals. The film also had a successful nationwide cinema release in New Zealand, garnering multiple five-star reviews and being hailed “an instant national classic” and “one of the most powerfully cinematic New Zealand movies ever”.
THE GROUND WE WON won Best Documentary & Best Documentary Cinematography at the New Zealand Film Awards, the Special Jury Prize at FIFO Tahiti, and the Best Sound award at the Moscow International Documentary Festival.
The critically acclaimed theatrical documentary HOW FAR IS HEAVEN was Chris’s debut as a director. He was also the cinematographer & editor, for which he was awarded a New Zealand Film Award for Best Documentary Cinematography, as well as being nominated for Best Documentary Film, Director & Editor. The film had a successful nationwide cinema release in New Zealand, as well as international film festival screenings at NZIFF, Margaret Mead Film Festival and GZDOC, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Asia Pacific Film Awards.
Before directing his own films, Chris contributed as cinematographer and co-editor to Florian Habicht’s features WOODENHEAD, KAIKOHE DEMOLITION & RUBBINGS FROM A LIVE MAN. Chris was also the DOP for Zia Mandviwalla’s short films CLEAN LINEN & AMARDI and a cinematographer for Alyx Duncan’s films THE RED HOUSE & THE TIDE KEEPER.
Chris originally trained as a stills photographer, and continues to pursue his love of photography through an ever growing range of personal projects.
Miriam and Chris are the extremely grateful recipients of the 2016 Harriet Friedlander New York Residency. The Residency is administered by the NZ Arts Foundation and made possible by a legacy gifted by Harriet Friedlander, who was a dedicated supporter of the arts. She also loved New York and believed that any artist exposed to the city would learn and grow in unimaginable ways. More info here.