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In a short time Taika Waititi has not only proven himself one of the most gifted comedy-writers in contemporary cinema, he has forged a specific vision of the world that retains a child-like innocence whilst teetering on the edge of rudeness. After a number of successful shorts, Waititi made a splash internationally with 'Eagle vs. Shark' (2007) an oddball romance that balances quirkiness with genuine emotion. The same is true of 'Boy' (2010), which was completed after a short stint writing and directing episodes of 'Flight of the Conchords'. An amusing role in the otherwise forgettable 'The Green Lantern' (2011) raised his profile further – and highlighted the attention Hollywood was paying to him – and he brought his skill for jubilant juvenile antics to episodes of 'The Inbetweeners'. 'What We Do in the Shadows' (2014) extended a 2005 short to a feature. For all its ingenuity and silliness, the film feels like a novel idea stretched to capacity. Whereas the recent 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople', with its sparky chemistry between Sam Neill and future star Julian Dennison, is one of the 2016's unalloyed delights. Waititi is currently completing work on the latest Marvel instalment 'Thor: Ragnarok'.
Born in 1961 in Lancaster, United Kingdom, Michael Winterbottom read English at Oxford University before studying television courses at Bristol University. His influences range from Jean-Luc Godard to Ingmar Bergman, as his films focus heavily on a place's influence on its characters, and combine social realism with stylistic verve and vibrant photography.