Director, Writer, Producer
Her documentaries are recognised as taonga and include Lovely Rita, Making Utu, Getting To Our Place, (co-directed with Anna Cottrell) Punitive Damage (as Co Producer) Tatarakihi - The Children of Parihaka (as Executive Producer) and Earthquake, a documentary for TV3 on the devastating 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquakes.
She is The New Zealand Arts Foundation's inaugural Filmmaker Laureate (2001) an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to filmmaking and the recipient of a WIFT NZ Lifetime achievement Award. Her outstanding services to documentary were recognised by Documentary Edge and she was the recipient of a SWANZ mentor award in 2012.
Born in Greymouth, she was educated in Hawkes Bay and studied painting at the Canterbury School Of Fine Arts, before moving to England, where her interest in filmmaking arose from her work as an art therapist.
Her films have screened in most leading film festivals including NZ, Venice, Sundance, Toronto, London, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne and have won awards in New Zealand, Italy, Canada, Australia, Britain, USA, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.
Gaylene has served on most industry boards including the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand on Air and she is currently a Governor of The New Zealand Arts Foundation. Gaylene Preston Productions, her owner-operated production company was established in 1978.