The 2017 short docs

Now in Production!

East Meets East

Director/Co producer: Julie Zhu  Producer: Tema Pua

A Chinese grandmother searches for a sense of home on her bus trips to the Asian supermarket.

79-year-old Fang Ruzhen immigrated to Auckland to help raise her grandchildren. Fifteen years on English is still a foreign language, but she has found community with other elderly Chinese expats on her weekly bus rides to the Asian supermarkets of East Auckland. Fridays are the best days to go shopping. Ruzhen rises early to make the slow journey to the bus stop, lugging her colourful trolley bag behind her. Once there, she is greeted by familiar faces, fellow Chinese seniors out to buy groceries to make their grandchildren’s favourite dishes. Aotearoa is home for these grandparents, even though their sense of belonging remains elusive in a country that is both familiar and foreign.

A portrait of a humble community who occupy the peripheries of our society, East Meets East reveals that there is no singular immigrant experience, and challenges why societal respect and acknowledgment is too often reserved only for those who assimilate.

Luckie Strike

Director: Melissa Nickerson  Producer: Craig Gainsborough

Pushing beyond primal fear, two caving friends struggle together in a dark, confined, muddy tunnel, determined to find a new entrance to a spectacular cave.

On the surface, Mike and Dave are two seemingly normal kiwi men, but underground – literally hundreds of meters underground – they share a common love for exploring New Zealand’s secret cave systems. We follow Mike, Dave and their quirky sense of humour as they struggle digging in the mud and dark in an attempt to connect two cave systems together and create an exit route for the gorgeous cave, Luckie Strike.

They share with us the wonders of the hidden and closely guarded secrets of the subterranean world; and we join them in the anticipation of uncovering a new passage, never seen before by human eyes. It is a story of friendship, trust and persistence in dangerous situations and in one of New Zealand’s quietest sub-cultures: caving.


Director/Producer: Ursula Williams

Travel inside a surreal world where artist Jon Radford becomes alter-ego Real Estate agent Ron Jadford – he’s got a deal for you!

Do you know what your neighborhood looked like 100 years ago?

Artist John Radford and his alter ego employee real estate agent Ron Jadford are building and selling 256 highly detailed miniature replicas of early 1900’s suburban bay villas.
Fixated on the destruction of inner city domestic architecture, the work comprises two hillside precincts from his imagined suburban oblivion.

Enter – the real estate agent Ron Jadford: spray tanned, dark tinted sunglasses, cellphone clamped to his ear, combed moustache. He’s selling the houses off the plan.

This major sculptural installation Graft® is also an on-going participatory performance……

What will exist where you live 100 years from now?

He Awa Mutunga Kore – A Takatāpui Journey

Director: Kathleen Winter  Producer: Jaimee Poipoi  
Te Reo Māori advisor: Beatrice Joblin

Two worlds collide at Wellington’s biggest ever LGBTIQ pride celebration where a takatāpui (queer Māori) activist seeks self-acceptance.

Takatāpui activist Kassie leads us on a quest for self-acceptance as she searches for balance in her identity as both queer and Māori. How will she stay true to herself in the glamorised pride parade?

The Wellington Pride Festival is the capital’s annual celebration of LGBTIQ (queer and transgender) identities, and the 2017 festival is going to be the biggest yet. It is a key time of celebration for this diverse community – but some stories are still not being told.

Takatāpui – LGBT Māori identity – is still not widely understood, even within Aotearoa. Kassie will utilise both English and Te Reo Māori to take us on a lyrical exploration of her true identity.

Asian Men Talk About Sex

Director: Chye-Ling Huang   Producers: Kelly Gilbride & Ruby Reihana-Wilson

Asian men dig deep and bare all to explore the awkward, wild, intimate and unifying experience of sex.

Asian Men Talk about Sex is three women’s mission; to challenge the stereotypes of ‘sexy’ by asking Asian men in New Zealand to talk about their sex lives – the good, the bad and the ugly. For too long society has emasculated Asian men through unshakable stereotypes – the socially awkward nerd, tech wiz or stoic kung-fu master. It’s not often we see Asian men in the spotlight as the leading man, superhero or love interest.

Asian men are sexy – but sidelined.

It will be funny, wild, intimate and a little bit awkward. Much like sex.

The Coffin Club

Director: Briar March   Producer: Kim Harrop

The Coffin Club is a musical documentary about the celebration of life and death, and the ability to laugh at the prospect of mortality.

The Coffin Club is a New Zealand community group like no other – they build and decorate their own coffins. Based in Rotorua and with over 60 active members this group of inspirational elderly meet once a week to rejoice in life while facing the realities of death.

Each coffin is decorated by hand to reflect the lives of their makers, and only costs a mere $250 to make – a much cheaper option to the commercial coffin which starts at $2,000. Told completely through music, dance, and humour this short documentary takes viewers into a lively community of seniors who are embracing life to its fullest as if each breath was their last.

My Dog Ajax

Director: Michael Weatherall   Producer: Cecilia Shand

A passionate conservationist journeys into the heart of remote New Zealand with his K9 companion, the world’s only kea conservation dog, as they fight together to save the Kea.

Despite the kea’s ubiquitous presence in South Island tourist hotspots, the Department of Conservation estimates numbers of the native bird could be as low as 1,000, due to predation from stoats and possums. Conservationist Corey Mosen and his highly-trained border collie cross Ajax, are at the front line of the kea conservation programme, voyaging over vast swathes of the most remote and challenging parts of New Zealand to gather data on the world’s only mountain parrot. They face the possibility of traveling for days without a sighting or finding a nest that has been attacked. Through it all, they rely on each other: Corey is preeminent in his field, conducting research, tagging, and monitoring kea; Ajax is rigorously trained to sniff out and lead them to kea nests nestled among boulders in high altitude forests.

Meet two friends who are taking an innovative approach to conservation in the hopes that together they can make a real difference in the fight for Kea survival.

Kotuku Rerenga Rua

Director: Tim Worrall  Producer: Aaron Smart  
Te Reo advisor: Kotuku Tibble

A larger-than-life Maori entertainer returns from the dead with a mission from his ancestors to make peace with his loved ones.

When you’re larger-than-life and you’ve cheated death. When your heart is busted and you’ve hurt the ones you love.

How do you make peace? What will you leave behind?

Raconteur, reo expert and entertainer Kotuku Tibble (NgatiPorou, T?wharetoa, Ngati Raukawa) recently died. He believes he was sent back by his ancestors to make peace with those he loves and to leave a legacy for his descendants. The problem is his ancestors sent him back with just a quarter of a heart. Kotuku Rerenga Rua (White Heron’s Second Flight) follows the journey of Kotuku as he struggles through mental and physical illness to redefine his life and become the husband, father and leader he believes he was destined to be.

Kātahi ka maranga a Kotuku Tibble mai i te mate ki te ora! Ka whai haere i tōna ara hīkoi kātahi ka purea ai te wairua hei hoa tane, hei poumatua, hei manutaki hoki.

Mehemea kua whati te ngākau ā kua tūkinohia e koe tō whanau me au tamariki.

Me he hautipua, me he maminga i a Mate. Me pehea te hohou rongo?  He aha hoki te tāonga ka mahuetia?

He tipua i tōna ao, he matanga reo, he kaiwhakangahau hoki ko Kotuku Tibble (Ngāti Porou, Ngati Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa).  Kātahi ka maranga mai i te mate ki te ora!  E whakapae ana ia, na ōna tipuna, na te kaihanga hoki te tohutohu “E tama, hoki atu ki te ao kikokiko ki tō whanau me ō uri.”  Kō tana mate ka hoki mai ia me te hauwha noa iho o tōna manawa.

Kotuku Rerenga Rua ka whai haere i te ara hīkoi ā te kotuku nei, ki ōna piki, ki ōna heke, ā hinengaro, ā tinana, kātahi ka purea ai te wairua hei hoa tāne, hei poumatua, hei kaiarahi mō ōna iwi, hei manutaki mō ngā rā kei te heke mai.


Director: Stjohn Milgrew & Damian Golfinopoulos  Producer: James Kerr

While preparing for a live performance, a poet reflects on his losing battle with a degenerative bone disease.

Outspoken political views, a dark sense of humour and in-your-face tattoos mean the artist Dominic Hoey (a.k.a. Tourettes) tends to polarize people. He has never shied away from confrontation in his music, his writing or his live performances but since being diagnosed with the degenerative bone disease Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.) he now faces a war with his own body.

There is no cure for this condition so he is ultimately fighting a losing battle.To combat the symptoms of A.S. the hard-partying hip-hop punk is now living a vegan-life of yoga and meditation. The disease forced him to change but now he mentors others dealing with trauma, teaching them to take positive steps in their lives.

A.S. has stripped Dom of the physicality of his performances so he has swapped stage swagger for a typewriter. Now he only has his words to connect with and hold an audience. Are they enough?


Director:  Jerry Rock-Archer  Producer: Joshua Rollo
Assistant Director: Phillip Rollo

A Māori rugby player in Japan tackles cultural isolation and discovers strength amongst strangers.

Amid the crushing isolation of Japanese society, Jared James forges his identity through rugby. In a self-imposed exile from his past in New Zealand, Jared finds solace and strength in an all Japanese rugby team.

Following him through a frenetic Japanese city, Jared struggles at every turn; navigating the city, buying food, simply trying to talk to a man on the bus, nothing comes easy here. The sole place where Jared finds the connection, acceptance and support he has always sought is his all-Japanese rugby club. And so rugby becomes more than a game: it’s communication and solidarity, it’s discipline and release, and it’s a piece of home.

Union is Jared’s personal story of redemption by rugby – a film that reveals to us the essence of a game, which is too often concealed by scandal and stardom.