Gwen McTavish, formerly Gwen Isaac, is a factual television, documentary, and short-form content producer and director. She specializes in story-telling that is issue-driven and human-centered. She has also won multiple documentary film awards, including the London Independent Film Awards.
Gwen Mctavish is best known to a wider audience as the wife of Scottish actor Graham McTavish, who played Dwalin in the Hobbit film trilogy. He is also known for his roles as Dracula in Netflix’s Castlevania, Loki in various Marvel animated projects, The Saint of Killers in AMC’s Preacher, and Dougal Mackenzie in Starz’s Outlander.
While Graham is a well-known actor in the British region, his wife, Gwen, is also a well-known celebrity in the film industry, though her work is mostly behind the camera. Gwen self-shoots, crew directs, and enjoys equipping students with multiple skill sets around the production, with credits from ITV London, NBC USA, and BBC Scotland.
Learn more about her in the article below, including her early life, how she became a documentary creator, her marriage to her actor husband, and more.
Gwen McTavish is primarily from New Zealand.
Although it is unknown when Gwen McTavish was born, she is said to have been born in London and raised in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Her mother is said to be an artist. Isaac moved to New Zealand with her mother shortly after her birth to join a thriving single-parent artist community in the Bay of Islands.
Graham’s spouse attended Epsom Girls Grammar School as a child. Gwen credits the longitudinal study documentary Seven Up! with inspiring her to pursue a degree at Auckland University of Technology. She graduated with a Bachelor of Communications, with a focus on Documentary and Television Theory and Practice.
She also holds a UK Media Law Certificate for Journalists and Broadcasters. Graham’s wife returned to London after finishing her studies at AUT to pursue a career in filmmaking. She later went on to make a lot of reality TV in the United Kingdom and spent 13 years making reality TV in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Gwen McTavish is a well-known film director.
Gwen’s main genre as a filmmaker is observational documentaries. She’s directed reality shows for ITV and the BBC, and her ITV documentary Old Dog, New Tricks received praise.
Where There is Life (2017) was her first feature documentary, and it followed a Wellington family caring for their terminally ill mother. Graham’s wife’s work also includes the short film Siouxsie and the Virus (2020), about microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles.
Her Path to TV Reality Shows
After graduating from college and returning to London, Gwen landed a few jobs directing television for broadcasters ITV and BBC, as well as companies RDF and Endemol. Working on quick turnaround reality shows, according to the British-born Kiwi filmmaker, taught her a lot of skills that she later used in her documentary career.
Among her early works was the reality show Mum’s On Strike. Following that, she worked behind the scenes for a popular BBC documentary series that followed members of the clergy at York Minster.
Gwen’s self-produced documentary Old Dogs, New Tricks (2004), about retired racing greyhounds, received positive reviews and a spot on Metroland and the ITV network for young directors.
Heroes Unmasked, a 13-part documentary, was released in 2008.
First Feature-Length Documentary by Gwen McTavish
Isaac had decided to make her first feature film by 2011. She then happened to run into a woman with motor neuron disease in a Lower Hutt gym.
Gwen later learned she had terminal cancer, which inspired her to document her final days. Isaac befriended Margaret Lee, who was in the early stages of Motor Neuron disease at the time.
“My opening gambit was that we’d make an aide memoir for their daughter Imogen, who was 10. They were eager to participate, which was a filmmaker’s dream come true.”
said the Hobbit actor’s wife.
Then, in the mid-2010s, Isaac reportedly spent four years documenting the decline of a Lower Hutt mother from motor neuron disease for her intimate documentary Where There is Life.
Four years after that fateful gym meeting, she would create Where There is Life, a project capturing the woman above’s gradual withdrawal from life.
Graham’s wife describes it as a “celebration of the art of caring…in all its horrors and joys.” Where There is Life premiered at the 2017 New Zealand International Film Festival. It was later named Best First Time Director by Isaac at the London Independent Film Awards.
Gwen chose to make a documentary about a dying patient for a variety of reasons.
Mrs. Graham explained to the NZ Herald in October 2017 why she chose to make a film about a terminal illness:
After 13 years of making reality TV in the UK and US, I returned to New Zealand in search of my first feature film. Within a few days, I was at the gym when a mutual friend pointed out a woman who was having a farewell party because she’d been diagnosed with motor neuron disease and given two years to live.
Isaac explained how the woman’s slow death process inspired her to make the film. She claims she enlisted the assistance of a recent film school graduate to turn the 120 hours of footage into an 80-minute feature.
Mrs. McTavish shot and directed the short documentary Siouxsie and the Virus in 2020. It was about Auckland-born microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles’ fight for immediate action as the Covid-19 pandemic hit New Zealand.
Gwen released Tokyo Woman, a documentary about ‘feminuzumu’ (female empowerment) in Japan, in 2021. It’s a close-up look at three Japanese women and their experiences with female empowerment. The short documentary went on to receive nominations at several film festivals, including Best Sound and Music at the Wild Sound Festival.
It also took home the award for BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the June 2021 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.
What Is She Doing Right Now?
Gwen is the founder of Midnight Swim Productions, which creates behind-the-scenes content as well as documentaries for the UK market. This she discovered after her marriage to the Outlander actor.
She is also a member of the Directors UK Union, WIFT NZ, and DEGNZ. She also teaches at Massey University.
Gwen’s Marriage to Graham McTavish Isaac met Graham while studying at AUT in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Neither the Castlevania actor nor his filmmaker wife has ever revealed where or when they married. Graham McTavish, husband of Siouxsie and the Virus filmmaker Gwen McTavish, and their two daughters. Instagram
Isaac has avoided discussing her marital details in public, and Graham has also avoided disclosing any information about his relationship with his wife.
What is known is that after their marriage, Graham and his wife, Gwen, moved to Los Angeles and lived there for a few years. When he got a job as a dwarf on The Hobbit, they returned to Wellington.
Mr. Graham, her actor husband, has frequently stated that New Zealand is a place he loves “very dearly” because it is now his adopted home. In addition, the couple has lived in London and Santa Monica. They are also parents to two daughters, Honor and Hope McTavish.
Gwen McTavish, is she still married to Abraham?
Although Graham and his wife are notoriously private about their relationship, they are allegedly very much together. People frequently wonder if the couple is still husband and wife because of the secrecy surrounding their private lives.
Given that the Preacher actor doesn’t bother to mention his partner’s name on his otherwise active social media accounts, it’s natural to wonder if he is still the husband of New Zealand film director Gwen Isaac.