About Anna

Anna Cottrell is a documentary director and producer with a background in journalism, who has won several national and international awards for her work. An advocate for the importance of telling New Zealand stories, her subjects range widely, from refugee and migrant stories to social issues and personal profiles.

Anna has produced five years of  Great War Stories profiling men, women, Maori, pakeha involved in the tragedy of World War 1. The series was a finalist in the NZTV Awards. 

With editor Murray Ferguson produced Wahine Disaster 50 Years OnSurvival Storiesa series of illustrated interviews with rescuers & people who survived the Wahine sinking 50 years ago at the entrance of Wellington Harbour.

The Kiwi, the Knight & the Qashqai features Oriental rug repairer, Anna Williams, Sir David Attenborough and a tribe of nomads in Iran.
It screened on Choice TV in 2018.

As an oral historian her projects include New New Zealanders; Women of the Chathams; Pacific War Stories; Women in the Media.
She has co-produced and directed episodes in New Zealand: An Immigrant Nation, a finalist in the Media Peace Awards. The series  explores issues of loss, identity, and preservation of culture. 

Since 2007 Cottrell co-curated with Jennifer Bush-Daumec, an ongoing series of gallery exhibitions under the mantle The Migrating Kitchen - stories of refugees and migrants. The Migrating Kitchen Trust helps immigrants & refugee background people tell their stories and showcase their culture through exhibitions and public events.  www.migratingkitchen.org
When she worked for TVNZ Cottrell won the Robert Bell Travelling Scholarship for Television Journalism which took her to Current Affairs programmes in Canada, USA, UK and Australia.
She won Best Documentary in the Qantas Media Awards for China's One Child Family.   Anna directed The Baby Chase exploring couples struggling with infertility,  a finalist at Canada's Hot Docs. She also directed Other People's Children, about a ‘blended' family. With Top Shelf she travelled to Greenland to film Arktikos, Graeme Dingle's attempt to circumnavigate the Arctic Circle.

Voices of Children is an archival project recording Christchurch children's earthquake stories. Anna grew up in Christchurch and seeing her hometown with its broken heart, she tapped in to the hope and optimism from children who see a positive future for them and their city.
With a Pacific and Conservation Award Cottrell made a documentary for the Solomon Islands Development Trust, celebrating its work. In 2003 she was in Nepal with the Hillary family and her documentary commemored Sir Edmund Hillary's and Norgay Tenzing's ascent of Mt Everest.
Out of the Shadows, which she directed and co-produced with Rosemary Fullerton-Smith, includes I/Vs with NZers who grew up with famous (and infamous) parents: Tom son of poet Sam Hunt; Natasha and Shaan Turner, whose parents are Glenn, former top cricketer and Sukhi Turner, former Mayor of Dunedin; Barbara Williams and Gavin Muldoon, daughter and son of the former Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon; and Hinemoa, daughter of Donna Awatere-Huata, former ACT politician.

The first in her company's war series included an Australasian Award for Pacific War Stories; a collection of stories by soldiers who served in the Pacific during World War II.

 The Last of the Anzacs, directed for Ninox, featured interviews with two surviving Gallipoli veterans. She followed that with AC Productions' Children of Gallipoli. Two New Zealanders meet two Turkish students whose ancestors fought in the tragic Gallipoli campaign. Produced for TVNZ and Turkish television, the documentary  screened again in 2012 at Anzac Cove before the dawn service. Cottrell was also the New Zealand producer on  Tolga Ornek's feature doco Gallipoli.

Onfilm reviewer Helen Martin praised Cottrell's doco Lest We Forget as "a quiet but powerful exposition of stories told by Kiwis with strong Holocaust connections". The film accompanied an Anne Frank exhibition which toured New Zealand for three years.

Over almost three years Cottrell, assistant director Mary Daysh and a film crew recorded the establishment of the new national museum for Gaylene Preston Productions. Getting to Our Place is an award-winning fly on the wall doco backgrounding the emotional roller coaster that was the development of the museum Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Later she co-directed An Abbreviated Life, with Jan Jeans. Screened on TV One, the film follows the life of a teenager living with cystic fibrosis and is now screening internationally.

Cottrell also produced and directed The Whistle Blowers, an entertaining documentary about sports referees and umpires - the control freaks of sport. It features Paddy OBrien and Steve Walsh, rugby refs and the quirky Billy Bowden, cricket umpire.

With an Australian production company she has directed a promo for a feature documentary Skirting the Edge, the story of Freda du Faur, the first woman to climb Mt Cook in 1910. 
Cottrell raised funds through crowd-funding to take a refugee mother to her son's graduation in the States.  Running for Their Lives,  is currently in production. Post production funding is being sought!