You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Philippa Campbell

10 Producers to Watch

After deregulation of New Zealand’s television industry in the late 1980s spelled the end of a thriving TV drama production sector, Kiwi native Philippa Campbell ankled her job as inhouse head of TVNZ’s script department — and thus began her producing career.

“I had a ball,” she says of those early days going it alone. One telepic and four movies later — all with tyro directors — she’s demonstrated a knack for choosing the right projects. And for honing in on new faces: “You get people when their talent is at their sharpest.”

Along with Tim White and Lydia Livingstone, Campbell produced “Number 2,” which won the World Cinema dramatic jury prize at Sundance this year and the audience vote at the Brisbane Film Festival in August, ahead of its Pacific Rim release via BVI in October. The first pic from helmer Toa Fraser tells the story of a mischievous matriarch and her dynamic mixed race Fijian-New Zealand family.

Campbell’s first feature was “Via Satellite,” a comedy about twin sisters, one who makes the Olympics swim team while the other is a dropout.

But Campbell really hit her stride with her sophomore effort, Christine Jeff’s “Rain,” which established the helmer’s career and screened in Directors Fortnight at Cannes. The film, about two kids left to their own devices at the beach one summer while their parents drink and cavort, was a hit on the fest circuit.

Campbell recalls seeing long lines for a screening at Cannes and wondering what they were going to see. She was awestruck when she realized it was “Rain.”

“Collaborations are rewarding, but to see queues outside cinemas where your film is playing, that’s wonderful,” she says.

Campbell’s “Black Sheep” — for which special effects were completed at Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop — is having its world premiere at Toronto as a Midnight section entry.

On Campbell’s slate is an adaptation of Nikki Gemmell’s Antarctic adventure/romance novel “Shiver,” to be penned and helmed by Christina Andreef and co-produced with her “Soft Fruit” collaborator Helen Bowden. Also on the slate is “Calm Nights,” written and directed by Rachel Davies, which Campbell will produce with “Lord of the Rings” editor John Gilbert.


Age: 50
Base: Auckland, New Zealand
Model producers: Jim Booth (“Heavenly Creatures”), Jan Chapman (“The Piano”)
Hard lesson: “Delegation. When I started out I did everything, I learned that you really need to maintain the big picture.”
Now playing: Toronto pic “Black Sheep,” a comedy horror pic in which a genetic engineering experiment goes awry, from tyro scribe-helmer Jonathan King.

More Scene

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

  • KiKi Layne and Stephan James'If Beale

    Regina King Praised by 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Co-Stars for New 50/50 Initiative

    Two days had passed since Kiki Layne and Stephan James had attended their first Golden Globes and the “If Beale Street Could Talk” co-stars were still trying to wrap their heads around having been there. “It was such a special night — and pretty unreal,” says James, who was also nominated for his work opposite Julia Roberts [...]

  • Steven Van Zandt, Edie Falco, Tony

    'The Sopranos' 20th Anniversary Reunion: Cast, Producers Remember James Gandolfini

    Jan. 9’s 20th anniversary reunion of the cast and producers of HBO’s “The Sopranos” was a raucous family gathering from its first moments. “I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper,” series creator David Chase said at the start of the event. “And I thought, 20 years. Jesus Christ.” “People come up to me,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content