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East Meets East to tell stories of Chinese elderly, migration and friendship

East Meets East to tell stories of Chinese elderly, migration and friendship

Film maker and theatre producer Julie Zhu may not speak much Mandarin, but understanding enough of the language to “eavesdrop” during long bus journeys has seen her come up with a unique concept for a documentary short film.

East Meets East follows Zhu’s 79-year-old grandmother, Fang Ruzhen, as she makes new friends during her weekly bus trips to East Auckland’s Asian supermarkets. Zhu first noticed elderly Chinese immigrants building a new community for themselves when she caught buses from East Auckland into the city during her university days.

“I understand a lot more Chinese than I speak so I would hear them talking about where they were from, what they were doing in New Zealand, sharing information and getting to know one another,” she says. “I realised how they’ve managed to survive in a new country is by meeting people like them in unexpected places.”

Directed by Zhu and produced by Tema Pua, East Meets East is one of ten documentary short films selected for this year’s Loading Docs film project. Loading Docs, which started in 2014, helps develop New Zealand film-makers by matching them with mentors to make three minute long films which will “captivate and inspire” audiences.

This year’s theme is diversity and Zhu says East Meets East fits perfectly because it explores issues of relevance to Chinese migrants as well as the elderly.

“Stories about immigrant experiences usually follow a young characters’ journey into Western culture and focus on the battle between their home and Western cultures. I wanted to make a film that moved away from that because when we celebrate diversity, we should celebrate the different peoples found within groups.

“We hardly ever see stories that feature the perspectives of our immigrant elders but these stories are just as relevant and necessary to show.”

She says like her grandparents, many elderly Chinese people come to New Zealand to help care for their grandchildren while their adult children work. Because they migrate in their 60s, 70s, or 80s, it’s almost impossible for them to pick up a new language or try to assimilate in the usual ways.

“My nana’s been here for 15 years and while she’s tried to learn English, it remains a foreign language to her,” says Zhu. “This adds to her isolation, so it’s incredible that she and other Chinese grandparents have forged this new source of community for themselves.”

Born in China and raised in Auckland, Zhu’s already written and directed several short films. She was the director of photography on The Spectacular Imagination of the Pōhara Brothers, which screened at the NZ International Film Festival 2016 and several indigenous film festivals around the world.

Watch East Meets East Boosted video HERE

Via nzherlad.co.nz

Loading Ultra-Short Documentaries-Standing Room Only

Loading Ultra-Short Documentaries- Radio New Zealand

My Dog Ajax Photo: supplied

New Zealand is well-known for making great documentaries – we like real-life stories it seems.  But they do occasionally tend to ramble. That’s not the case of our preeminent documentary initiative, the crowd-funded Loading Docs project. This year’s ultra-short documentaries have to say what they’ve got to say in less time than a pop single – around three minutes.  Simon Morris talks to two prospective film-makers, Ursula Williams – Now and Then – and Michael Weatherall – My Dog Ajax, and to the Project Manager, Nia Phipps.  Loading Docs is funded by New Zealand On Air, with support from the NZ Film Commission and Te Mangai Paho.

Listen to the interview HERE.

Via Radio New Zealand- Standing Room Only

The Fuse is Lit!


Press Release: Tuesday 28th February 2017

The team behind New Zealand’s preeminent documentary initiative LOADING DOCS is extremely excited to announce the selection of ten brand new short documentaries about to embark on their Loading Docs journey with a month of crowdfunding on Boosted.

The theme for this year’s documentaries is Diversity. We asked filmmakers to submit proposals for 3-minute shorts, which reflect that theme. Specifically we were interested in films that address diversity of identity, culture, community and place.

Following a rigorous selection process, the final ten films were chosen and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the broad interpretations on the theme. Our stories address diverse perspectives on sexual identity, life and death, ethnic diversity, exploration of our environment and cultural representation.

As in previous years, the Loading Docs initiative, with the support of principal funder NZ On Air, along with the New Zealand Film Commission and new partner Te Māngai Pāho – will help fund, create and distribute these ten films. With views so far exceeding 1.5 million across the previous years’ collections, the teams have the potential for their documentaries to be seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers both at home and all around the world across platforms online, on broadcast television, the big screen and in-flight.

The next step for these teams is to begin crowdfunding. Each documentary is required to crowdfund $2000 towards their production budget in order to receive an additional $4000 from the Loading Docs initiative and a post-production package provided by Toybox and Post Production Sound. Crowdfunding is a crucial promotional tool for the documentary teams and paves the way for the future success of their short docs. All ten teams will launch their campaigns on crowdfunding website Boosted on the 1st of March 2017 and will have one month to achieve their goal.

Loading Docs is proud to once again be supporting the New Zealand documentary community and promoting diversity, not just on screen but also within the filmmaking industry. Loading Docs founders Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson say that each year the standard is getting higher and they couldn’t be happier to be bringing a variety of story telling voices to the fore. “We really hope that people will get behind these documentaries and filmmakers and prove that diversity is something that we as a country are interested in and supportive of.” – Julia Parnell.

Announcing the 2017 LOADING DOCS: DIVERSITY teams and projects.

East Meets East

Dir/Co Prod: Julie Zhu

Prod: Tema Pua

Location: Auckland

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/east-meets-east

Luckie Strike

Dir: Melissa Nickerson

Prod: Craig Gainsborough

Location: Waitomo, Central North Island

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.

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/luckie-strike


Welcome to Graft

Dir: Ursula Williams

Location: Auckland

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/welcome-to-graft


He Awa Mutunga Kore – A Takatāpui Journey

Dir: Kathleen Winter

Producer: Jaimee Poipoi

Te Reo Māori advisor: Beatrice Joblin

Location: Wellington

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/he-awa


Asian Men Talk About Sex

Dir: Chye-Ling Huang

Prod: Kelly Gilbride

Co-Prod: Ruby Reihana-Wilson

Location: Auckland

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/asian-men-talk-sex


Coffin Club

Dir: Briar March

Prod: Kim Harrop

Location: Rotorua

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/the-coffin-club


My Dog Ajax

Dir: Michael Weatherall

Prod: Cecilia Shand

Location: Kahurangi National Park, South Island

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.

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/my-dog-ajax


Kotuku Rerenga Rua

Dir: Tim Worrall

Prod: Aaron Smart

Te Reo advisor: Kotuku Tibble

Location: Rotorua

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/kotuku-rerenga-rua



Dir: Stjohn Milgrew

Co-Dir: Damian Golfinopoulos

Prod: James Kerr

Location: Auckland

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/losing



Dir: Jerry Rock-Archer

Prod: Joshua Rollo

Location: Japan

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

Boosted link: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/union




About Loading Docs

Loading Docs is a unique New Zealand documentary initiative established in 2014 that aims to captivate and inspire audiences as well as develop and promote New Zealand filmmaking talent.

Through a competitive selection process, Loading Docs selects ten short documentary proposals, which are then supported from development through to distribution. Working with local and international mentors, Loading Docs filmmakers expand their skills in a range of areas including story development, outreach, publicity and marketing and distribution. Since its inception Loading Docs has achieved over 1.5 million views across the collection and is supported by TVNZ OnDemand, Air New Zealand in-flight and hosted on such high profile websites as The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Great Big Story and Short of the Week to name but a few.
Loading Docs is a Notable Pictures initiative, founded by Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson and is funded by NZ On Air’s Digital Media Fund and made with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.
For more information visit and watch the previous years collections on: www.loadingdocs.net

Loading Docs shorts are also available to watch on TVNZ OnDemand: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/loading-docs


Boosted Website: www.boosted.org.nz




All media enquiries

Julie Warmington


Email: julie.warmington@gmail.com

Ph: 021 879 886


General email: hello@loadingdocs.net

Nia Phipps
Producer/Project Manager
Email: nia@loadingdocs.net

Sandy Wijetunge

Production Manager

Email: sandy@notablepictures.com

Ph: 09 303 1061


LOADING DOCS is excited to be once again seeking proposals from New Zealand filmmakers for creative and original 3-minute documentary shorts to be made in 2017.

The theme of DIVERSITY will unite the 2017 collection of documentaries.

Since launching in 2014, Loading Docs has established itself as a leading platform for the distribution of high quality short documentary boasting 1.8 million views for the 29 documentaries created to date.

Every year Loading Docs asks filmmakers to explore a theme such as home (2014), connection (2015) and change (2016). 2017’s theme is diversity. It’s a theme that touches many aspects of life, from politics, identity, science, religion to the environment.

Diversity can be cause for celebration, support innovation and enhance creativity. Diversity can also be challenging, complex and confronting.

We hope to have a range of filmmakers who are as diverse as the range of stories they will tell. In particular we are seeking proposals that speak to Māori, Pasifika and Asian points of view. There is also provision for a documentary fully in te reo Māori to complete the collection.

Telling a compelling 3-minute story is a test of creativity, skill and ingenuity. Now it’s the turn of a new crop of filmmakers to be part of a movement that is transforming the way we make, tell and view documentary shorts in Aotearoa.

Loading Docs is proud to announce that Te Māngai Pāho will join NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission as a funding partner for this fourth iteration of the initiative. The documentaries will once again feature on TVNZ On Demand and loadingdocs.net with subsequent plays on Māori Television.

“We look forward to working with our partners to create ten new short documentaries that captivate and inspire audiences, reaching them across multiple platforms locally and internationally, while developing and promoting New Zealand filmmaking talent and exploring new models for film funding, production and distribution.”
Julia Parnell, Executive Producer.

Watch our call out teaser here.

10 documentaries will be selected with each team receiving extensive support and opportunities for growth:

  • Professional development opportunities including workshops on story and creative treatment, outreach and distribution strategies and will receive hands on support from Loading Docs executive producers, to ensure their short reaches the widest possible audience.
  • $2,000 production funding, and an additional $2,000 matched funding to support a crowdfunding campaign (we’ll match each dollar your raise through crowdfunding up to $2,000).
  • A colour grade and sound-mix from Toybox and Sale Street Studios. Making a total budget of over $7,000 for each 3-minute documentary.

This is an opportunity for the best filmmaking voices in New Zealand to take up the challenge and be part of this cutting edge short documentary initiative.

For more information about Loading Docs and to watch the documentaries produced in 2014, 2015 and 2016, visit www.loadingdocs.net/shorts

Important dates

  • 19 October 2016 – Request for proposals issued.
  • 21 November 2016 – Deadline for proposals. (5pm)
  • 28 November 2016 – Short list notified – full proposals requested.
  • 19 December 2016 – Deadline for full proposals.
  • 20 January 2017 – Successful applicants notified.

Visit www.loadingdocs.net/submit to submit a proposal.

SEND YOUR SUBMISSIONS TO: submissions@loadingdocs.net
no later than 5pm Monday 21st of November 2016.


Nia Phipps – Producer/Project Manager
Ph. 021 1577 075

Twitter: www.twitter.com/loadingdocs
Facebook: www.facebook.com/loadingdocs 


Loading Docs is funded by NZ On Air
and made with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.


Blood Sugar from Loading Docs on Vimeo.

Directed by Joe Hitchcock and produced by Morgan Leigh Stewart, the short doc Blood Sugar captures the unique point of view of New Zealand preschooler Dahlia and what it’s like to live with the lesser-known Type 1 diabetes. Despite the “bum pricks” — her term for insulin shots — and the constant monitoring of blood sugar, she is a typical child. She reminds us when saying, “When you die, you don’t do anything; when you’re alive, you play.” The 3-minute film deftly captures the gravity of chronic illness set against the whimsical backdrop of childhood as we see Type 1 through Dahlia’s lens — on a swing made of rope with a butterfly band around her head, or at the beach with a stick for a shovel.

Watch 24 Hours with Anna and Sam another documentary on a chid living with Type 1 diabetes.

via Beyond Type 1

Cook Islands film-maker, Robert George, focuses on tātatau in new short film

Robert is of Ngāti Kuki Airani (Rarotonga & Atiu), Te Arawa and Ngāti Awa heritage; he lives and works in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.  Robert was schooled in Rotorua, Wellington and Rarotonga.  He is a video artist, writer, film-maker and painter, his work has been shown in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Australia, France and Canada.


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Did you know that the kumara came dangerously close to extinction? As this micro-documentary from Felicity Morgan-Rhind explains, we owe a great debt to Chinese couple Mr. and Mrs. Gock and their love of the kumara.

How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara from Loading Docs on Vimeo.

We’ll be featuring more Loading Docs 2016 titles in the coming days. Funded by NZ On Air with support of The New Zealand Film Commission.

Loading Docs: New Zealand documentaries cut to the chase

Stuff+logoAll around us, fellow New Zealanders are telling stories. In books and films, on TV, via social media, on the phone, beside you on the bus – there’s no end of incessant yapping via every channel available.We live in a world drenched with narrative, much of it confusing, contradictory, scary, unintentionally hilarious. Hot air, blather, loose-lipped jabbering –  this is the backdrop to our lives, and there’s no escaping the fact that many of the tales we tell each other are puffed up with unnecessary padding.

Where are the stories that cut to the chase? How can an impatient soul like me – a man who favours the short story over every other literary artform – find fresh and moving new narratives I can dip into in less time than it takes to brew a good cup of tea?

Read more

Doco reveals transition’s impact on a friendship


A new short documentary tells the story of two friends in their 50s who are in the process of redefining their friendship after one of them comes out as transgender.

At three and a half minutes long, Same but Different captures a moment of honest contemplation.Friends with Neil for 25 years, Byron has recently come out as trans and the new documentary Same but Different explores the impact her transition is having on the pairs friendship.

The short film is part of local filmmaking initiative Loading Docs and is directed by Neil’s wife Louise Leitch.

Loading Docs selects ten short documentary proposals that are then mentored through from development to distribution.

Watch Same but Different over on the Loading Docs website.

via Gay NZ