Ten documentary makers are preparing to make their three minute docos – for the world to watch.

Following on from the project’s success last year, the Loading Docs initiative will again fund, create and distribute ten local three-minute documentaries online, with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air.
The documentary makers each needed to raise $2000 via crowd funding. Once that target was met the Loading Docs fund contributes $4000 worth of production funds plus a post-production package at Toybox and Sale St Audio. Each Loading Docs project also receives ongoing mentoring and support throughout production.

This year Loading Docs partnered with arts funding website Boosted.org.nz for the ten campaigns to all successfully receive crowd funding assistance.

The documentaries are being created and will be released in July of this year.

Last year’s ten docos, based around a theme of ‘home’ reached audiences all over the world (with over 300,000 views in total). This year’s theme is ‘connect’.

The initiative’s executive producers Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson are both passionate about supporting and promoting New Zealand documentaries and hope this new batch of Loading Docs docos will excite New Zealanders.

We asked the documentary makers what the inspiration was for their short docos and how they came about.

Madness Made Me

To the psychiatrists, Mary O’Hagan was just another head case. But where they saw illness, she saw a human experience.

NIKKI: We have this saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. You hear it over and over again. But for some reason, a mental health diagnosis is treated in our medical system as perpetual weakness. I wanted to tell a story about how we validate some opinions over others, even when they’re opinions of an individual’s highly subjective experience. The film itself is based on a blog post from Mary O’Hagan, which really stuck out as a piece that could translate to something more visual.
Director Nikki Castle, Producer Alexander Gandar


As the beat drops can Tihei find his words? Redemption comes unscripted.

ORLANDO: When Hamish told me about Tihei Harawira and shared with me his vision for the documentary I knew he’d come across a captivating story. But it was a while later when I headed to Otara Markets with Hamish and met Tihei, that I realised just how special T was. I was astounded by the man, his story and his incredible gifts, and it was apparent just what a special project Hamish was developing. It’s an exciting time and I’m literally counting down the days until we shoot.
Director Hamish Bennett, Producer Orlando Stewart


New Zealand, Japanese and French cultures merge in the vineyards of salaryman turned master winemaker, Hiro Kusuda.

AMBER: We were inspired by both Hiro’s journey from a Tokyo salaryman to a winemaker in Martinborough and his extreme dedication to his craft. And once we met him, we knew he’d make a great documentary subject.
Directors Amber Easby & Henry Oliver, Producer Amber Easby

Please Open

Cultural icon and cinematic relic The Crystal Palace fights to hold off the final curtain call.

KARL: The Crystal Palace is a unique theatre with a strong connection to the local community. The theatre has always exuded an unquantifiable cool and has been ‘a place to be’ in different roles to different generations. One of our Directors, Robin, watched Rolling Stones films there as a young fella, our Producer Taylor’s uncle ran the dancehall downstairs, and we have been visited by numerous members of the community desperately keen to tell us their own memories of the theatre over its almost 90 year history. But the theatre has seen better days and we hope that in making this documentary we will reconnect the community with the old girl and revitalise some of that cool that has kept her fighting for nearly a century.
Directors Karl Sheridan and Robin Gee, Producer Monster Valley


A watery portrait of our urban landscape reveals that when it comes to our cities there is more than meets the eye.

FRANCES: We started asking boring questions about our city’s past and pretty soon we were literally hunting for buried treasure… under Queen Street of all places. The fact that this river is still there? It’s like discovering a ghost in your attic, you can’t just ignore it… There’s this fascinating history that we’ve discovered in our own backyard, an entire ecosystem they tried to cover over… we want to reconnect people with that.
Directors Louis Olsen and Frances Haszard Producer: Scott Elder

Conversations With Pets

Imagine if you could have a conversation with your pet… Faye Rogers can.

World renowned animal communicator Faye Rogers can converse with animals telepathically, over the phone, living or even dead. Conversations with Pets explores Faye’s connection with her own pets. Will Faye’s own animals, past and present, open up on camera? Conversations With Pets is Dr Doolittle meets Babe, Turner and Hooch meets Ghost in short documentary form.
Directors Justin Hawkes & Ian Hart, Producer Hayley Cunningham

Wilbur Force

The former king of New Zealand pro wrestling turned small town recluse is challenged by his best friend to re-connect with his glory days of battle.

J. OLLIE: I want to make Wilbur Force to remind audiences of the importance of holding on to ones best self, and to re-connect the subject of the documentary with his full potential, to help transform his life for the better.
Director J.Ollie Lucks, Producer Veronica Stevenson

Killer App

Over hot drinks and a potluck afternoon tea, a group of senior Wellingtonians discuss the best ways to die.

WENDELL: Inspiration for Killer App comes from many sources across the media landscape, from an Australian documentary about voluntary euthanasia, Mademoiselle And The Doctor (2004), that we both found particularly affecting, along with numerous recent cases around the world that have received high profile coverage. We’re aware that there is a groundswell for change in New Zealand on this issue and would like to see our documentary as helping to stimulate that debate.
Director/Producers Wendell Cooke, Jeremy Macey

Fantasy Cave

A group of cave dwellers beaver away night and day to create an immersive fantasyland, but is it really for the children?

MICHELLE & MATT: Fantasy Cave is inspired by Matt’s childhood memories of visiting a mysterious fantasy cave in Dannevirke. Twenty-five years later, the cave still exists and after visiting it last year we were intrigued by the cave dwellers responsible. A documentary was needed to explore the inner workings of the cave and to question why these cave dwellers create and why do we create?
Director/Producers Michelle Savill, Matt Henley

No Lights, No Lycra

We all go a little wilder when we think nobody is watching.

ROWENA: I was genuinely impressed that a group of random people gather together on a sleepy Monday night without the help of alcohol for an hour of intense dancing in the dark, yet hit the same frenzied state of excitement that is usually reached at the culmination of a major concert or festival… simply because their spirit and body feels so darn emancipated!
Director Rowena Baines, Producer Paula Jones



Loading Docs: http://www.loadingdocs.net
Boosted: http://www.boosted.org.nz/artist-profile?id=20638

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