Here's a bit about us!
CHRISTOPHER PRYOR - DIRECTOR / CINEMATOGRAPHER / EDITOR / PHOTOGRAPHER
Chris is the director, cinematographer and editor of the award-winning feature documentaries The Ground We Won and How Far is Heaven. Both films have screened to considerable critical acclaim in New Zealand and abroad - with The Ground We Won being hailed “an instant national classic” and “one of the most powerfully cinematic New Zealand movies ever”. As well as receiving nominations across all categories for documentary (including directing and editing) at the NZ Film Awards, Chris has twice received awards for Best Documentary Cinematography and won Best Documentary for The Ground We Won.
Over the past 20 years, Chris has collaborated on countless drama and documentaries for both the big and small screen, including shooting more than 50 episodes of the much loved Maori TV arts series Kete Aronui. Chris has also contributed as cinematographer and co-editor for Florian Habicht’s features Woodenhead, Kaikohe Demolition and Rubbings From A Live Man, and as cinematographer for award-winning short films by Zia Mandviwalla and Alyx Duncan - and most recently as editor for Tony Sutorious’ short documentary Elements of Truth.
Chris and partner Miriam Smith were awarded the prestigious Harriet Friedlander Residency in New York (2017) from The Arts Foundation. Chris has acted as story consultant and mentor to both new and established filmmakers through a range of programmes including the NZFC’s Hunga Taunaki ā Rorohiko and Script to Screen’s Story Camp. Chris and Miriam are currently mentors for the Spinoff’s Documentary Anthology series’ I & II. Chris was also an invited speaker at Jane Campion’s pop-up fit school, A Wave in the Ocean.
MIRIAM SMITH - WRITER / PRODUCER
Miriam Smith co-created and produced the critically acclaimed, award-winning observational feature documentaries How Far is Heaven and The Ground We Won. Both films had successful nationwide cinema releases in New Zealand and screened at many top tier film festivals around the world, including Locarno Semaine de la Critique, MIFF, Warsaw FF, Moscow International Documentary Festival, Big Sky and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
The Ground We Won won the award for Best Documentary and Best Documentary Cinematography at the NZ Film Awards, the Special Jury Prize at FIFO Tahiti, and Best Sound at the Moscow International Documentary Festival, and earned Miriam a nomination for a WIFT Achievement in Film award. How Far is Heaven was nominated for all of the documentary awards at the NZ Film Awards (winning Best Documentary Cinematography), as well as being nominated for Best Documentary at the Asia Pacific Film Awards.
Over the past decade, Miriam has worked in a range of film industry roles, including as the facilitator for the NZFC’s Kōpere Hou - Fresh Shorts, the lead programmer for Big Screen Symposium, as a mentor to documentary filmmakers for development initiatives run by the NZFC, Script to Screen and The Spinoff. Miriam is alumni of the Binger Writers’ Lab in Amsterdam, Script to Screen’s FilmUp Programme and Aotearoa Writers’ Lab. Miriam has a BA in English and Film (Senior English Prize winner) and a Masters in Creative and Performing Arts, majoring in screenwriting, from the University of Auckland. Miriam has written for journals, magazines, short film and feature length radio dramas for RNZ and BBC 4. Miriam and partner Chris Pryor were recipients of the Harriet Friedlander Residency in New York and are co-directors of the production company Deer Heart Films.