Best known to NZ audiences for his work on Shortland Street, Paolo Rotondo has had a successful career spanning theatre, film and television, as an actor, writer, director and producer. He made his feature length directorial debut in 2014 with the poignant drama Orphans and Kingdoms

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What are you plugging right now?

My two passions are in full swing right now — cinema and theatre. I am artistic director of the Cinema Italiano Festival (The Italian Film Festival). In theatre, a play I wrote by the name of Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn is touring around the North Island.

What's your idea of perfect happiness?

Shooting a film in an exotic location near a sparkling warm sea with my wife and kids on set. Waiting for the heat of the day to pass by frolicking in the water before eating interesting new foods and hearing live music played by locals.

Which living person do you most admire?

My beautiful wife for putting up with me.

What's your most embarrassing moment?

Walking into a closet by accident after delivering an impassioned speech in a crowded lecture theatre.

What is your most prized material possession?

An antique sailing chest that belonged to my father and his father before that and so on ...

What is the most adventurous thing you have done that has taken you out of your comfort zone at the time?

Scuba diving with sharks on purpose, obviously pre-kids. 

What gets your back up?

Racism.

If you could time travel, where would you go and why?

The Roman times, I'm sure I've been there before and I may feel at home.

What life lesson would you pass on to your children?

Listening is more important than speaking at times.

What job would you do other than your own and why?

I would have loved to be an architect. It is such a diverse craft that requires, art, science and philosophy.

If you were given three wishes that a magic genie could grant, what would they be?

The power to work to my fullest potential, universal kindness, next level consciousness for humankind.

  • The Italian Film Festival) which is touring nationwide and opens in Auckland on August 30 at Bridgeway Cinemas. Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn is touring New Zealand from August 24.