Timothy White – PRODUCER

Tim White was born in the South Island town of Fairlie. His long producing career began in Christchurch, while attending Ilam School Of Fine Arts. Vincent Ward was a fellow student at the Ilam film department established a few years earlier, by ex-Granada TV designer Maurice Askew.

With Ward directing, and White producing, the pair persuaded author Janet Frame to let them adapt one of her novels. The moody, 50-minute long A State of Siege (1978) would put them both on the map. Afterwards White took a print to Europe and made a number of sales, before winning a producing fellowship to train at 20th Century Fox in Hollywood. On his return home, White spent time with a commercial production company run by top advertising director, Tony Williams. This led him to producing Williams’ second feature, the Australian-made horror story Next Of Kin (1982).

During the next decade White established himself as a successful independent producer in Australia, and a man whose filmmaking choices were often both shrewd and passionate.
An association with the writer/directing team of Nadia Tass and David Parker was particularly fruitful. The quirky Malcolm(1986) was a huge hit. Ricky and Pete (1988), and The Big Steal (1990) followed. Collaborations with other ex-pat Kiwis also proved rewarding. The marvelously black Death In Brunswick (1991) was written byJohn Clarke and featured both Clarke and Sam Neill in fine form. White’s attempts to step up to a bigger scale of production met mixed results. Vincent Ward’s decade-spanning romance Map of The Human Heart (1993) and Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar & Lucinda (1997) were both hugely ambitious epics which failed to find a large scale audience. Map saw White working with a multi-national team of cast and crew, and shooting everywhere from the Arctic to Europe.
In 1996, soon after working on Kiwi romance Broken English, White became head of Fox-Icon, a co-production venture between Fox and actor Mel Gibson. Unfortunately, the venture folded three years later after failing to agree on any productions (going it alone, Icon would later produce Gibson’s hit The Passion of the Christ). During that time, White executive-produced two Australian films - Two Hands and Strange Fits of PassionTwo Hands was a modest hit, and consolidated Heath Ledger as a star to watch. White then took over a similar position for successful English company Working Title Productions, when they set up a producing arm in Australia. Ned Kelly and Getting Square emerged in 2003. Although both were high profile award winners, Working Title Australia was rolled up shortly afterwards.
White has consistently had more luck with smaller, character driven pictures directed by auteur film-makers. He continues to play to his strengths today as an independent working on both sides of the Tasman. In New Zealand he was invited by co-producer Steven O’Meagher to work on Out of the Blue, the acclaimed film of the Aramoana massacre, and also helped produce the awardwinning No. 2 (2006), the directorial debut of Kiwi playwright Toa Fraser. White is also part of the multi-national producing team on Asian western The Warrior’s WayTim White is sometimes credited as Timothy White.