Issue date: 
Tuesday, 9 February 2021

The New Zealand Film Commission sadly acknowledges the passing of filmmaker Tony Hiles.

Tony’s filmmaking career began in the mid-1960s when he documented US President Lyndon B Johnson’s visit to New Zealand on film.  He followed this with work in commercials and on television productions including Country Calendar and Good Day.

He set up independent production company, City Associates in the 1980s to focus on making social and arts documentaries, something he spent much of the rest of his career focusing on.  In 1981 he shot a documentary about photographer Robin Morrison, From the Road, using video cameras which had not yet been tried in New Zealand.

After being introduced to Sir Peter Jackson by Jim Booth, Tony became a consulting producer on Bad Taste and made a cameo appearance as Coldfinger.  He documented the making of the film and its release and reception for his debut feature film, Good Taste Made Bad Taste.

He worked with Jim Booth to develop Jack Brown Genius and following Booth’s death, worked alongside Jackson and Fran Walsh to complete the film, eventually being named Best Director at the 1996 Film and TV Awards.

His documentary about Wellington architect Bill Toomath, Antonello and the Architect screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival as did the decade-long series of films he made about artist Michael Smither. The last of these, Michael Smither 10, screened at the 2019 NZIFF.

Our condolences go out to his partner, Judith and his family.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 9 February 2021