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.



For the third year running, we have launched 10 new 3-minute shorts that will captivate and challenge us to see local stories in new ways.

Funded by NZ On Air and supported by The New Zealand Film Commission the 2016 collection explores the theme of ‘change’, sharing such diverse stories as; coming to grips with a life threatening disease, a personal epiphany leading to a dramatic lifestyle change, a gender reassignment challenging two best friends and a hotly debated political issue, these shorts all have the potential to change the way we think and feel about the world around us.

The collection launched at Auckland’s Academy Cinema tonight at a glittering event hosted by Seven Sharp’s Erin Conroy and is now available to view and share from the Loading Docs website and on TVNZ OnDemand. Two shorts from this year’s collection have also recently gained the prestige of screening before feature films in the NZ International Film Festival; Water for Gold and How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara.

Executive Producer Julia Parnell says ‘this year we have challenged our filmmakers to push even harder to connect with their audiences. To do that you have to tell great stories and this dynamic collection has something for everyone. The 3-minute format continues to be a powerful way to present short stories that pack a big punch.’

Loading Docs is committed to leading change for media in New Zealand synonymous with international trends in documentary making and online distribution and is constantly seeking new ways to make high-quality sharable short-form content, which will delight and engage.

Loading Docs co-creator Anna Jackson hopes ‘that more people than ever before will get behind the incredible talent and inspiring local stories by watching and share them with the world’.

We are very proud to partner with TVNZ OnDemand.

It is Getting Hot in Here!


It might be cold outside but it is heating up in the LD office!

The filmmakers are busily buffing, shining and putting the finishing touches on their short docs and we are getting ready to launch with a bang. The launch party is set for the 4th of August at The Academy and then all our hard work will be up to view online and OnDemand from that night.

We owe a huge thanks to our post production facilities Toy Box and Sale Street Studios for their expertise with grading and sound, working their magic on the shorts and making a tough job fun.

You will love the true stories of transformation, growth, adversity and hope we have in store for you so set your alerts to view the collection and choose your favourite one.

Don’t forget that two of our shorts are playing in the NZIFF, How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara is showing in Auckland before The Music of Strangers. See more here.

Water for Gold is showing before When Two Worlds Collide. Check it out here.

Whatever your choice for viewing, staying in by the fire or going out to the cinema – we have got something for everyone!

In the meantime here’s a behind the scenes peek from Water For Gold (premiering in the NZIFF) – Director Rose Archer interviewing Professor Jane Kelsey.

Interview with Professer Jane Kelsey(1)


2016 Filmmaker Workshop – Time for Change

Loading Docs has had a terrific start to the year with all the filmmaking teams converging at Studio One – Toi Tū in Ponsonby for a weekend of story development, crowdfunding prep and marketing insights. The workshop also offered a chance for the teams to connect with each other and get inspired about the Loading Docs family as a whole. We love this opportunity to get to know everyone more.

The teams started off the weekend with a brief pitch of their projects to rest of the group, the diversity, passion and talent in the group was thrilling! Loading Docs Change promises to be full of dynamism and heart. Check out the 2016 Loading Docs here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.04.40 am

Once again our special guest Kathryn Burnett worked her magic with the teams uncovering essential points in their stories, there is no doubt that her insights both clarify and expand the team’s visions of their documentaries. Kathryn Burnett  is an award-winning screenwriter and creative training consultant extraordinaire. Check out Kathryn’s work on her website.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.05.39 am

Our second special guest was our publicist Julie Warmington who took the teams on a whirlwind journey through marketing and publicity. With over 20 years working in the entertainment industry, Julie has worked in a variety of fields including; marketing, publicity, digital marketing, social media strategy, with credits to her name with Sony BMG, MySpace, Rhythm & Vines, TVNZ, Sci Fi Channel, Channel 4, Warner Music, Virgin Music and Vertigo Films to name just a few. Julie worked on the launch of the first series of both Heroes and Skins in the United Kingdom.

Here she is  mid-session with the Director of Street Smart Leigh Minarapa.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.05.12 am

Our Executive Producers, Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson gave the teams a primer on Loading Docs  production processes and crowdfunding strategies, laying the foundations for an epic celebration of short docs, NZ stories and filmmaking talent.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.04.52 am

After much work and productivity we finished up with a chance to relax in the sun.

Loading Docs workshop group photo 2

Next stop Crowdfunding!

Stayed tuned to see the progress of each team and follow us on facebook to keep up to date with the latest developments for Loading Docs: Change.

We Announce the filmmakers for 2016!



Loading Docs: the documentary initiative that produces short films and big talent.

Loading Docs, the online documentary initiative, is back for a third year to launch another ten cutting-edge, 3-minute shorts that tell true stories of transformation, growth, adversity and hope. The theme for this year’s selection is ‘change’.

From more submissions than ever before, a panel of industry experts have selected 10 incredible new projects. This year’s Loading Docs shorts will provide viewers with the opportunity to: meet the millionaire who became a shoeshine man, face ‘the end of the world’ with two teen poets, enter into medieval combat, discover how friendship changes when your best mate becomes a woman and much more. Some films share personal stories of dramatic change, others address major social, political and environmental changes, and all have the potential to change the way viewers think and feel.

After a fantastic year in 2015 the previous Loading Docs shorts are still spreading far and wide. The collections from 2014 and 2015 have been viewed over 1,000,000 times across all platforms – some international outlets include CNN Great Big Story, The Atlantic, The Guardian, National Geographic, The Daily Mail and The Japan Times. These little stories are packing a big punch with a long tail.

As in previous years, the 2016 Loading Docs shorts are supported by NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission. They will be launched online on the Loading Docs website and on TVNZ OnDemand. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming crowd funding campaigns and for launch details.

See previous year’s short documentaries here.

The 2016 LOADING DOCS: CHANGE shorts

Blood Sugar
Dir: Joe Hitchcock
Prod: Morgan Leigh Stewart
Location: Auckland
Four-year-old Dahlia leads us in her bittersweet world of blood, needles and sugar.

Dir/Prod: Ryan Heron, Andy Deere
Location: Taranaki
Knight-in-waiting Martainn must battle his inner demons if he hopes to achieve his dream of becoming a champion in his beloved sport of full contact medieval combat.

Imagine the World is Ending
Dir/Prod: Doug Dillaman, Brendan Withy
Location: Auckland
Can two schoolboys change the world with a poem?

Same but Different
Dir: Louise Leitch
Prod: Sue Ruffell
Location: Christchurch
Best mates, Byron and Neil, must re-calibrate their friendship when Bryon transitions from a man to a woman.

Street Smart
Dir: Leigh Minarapa
Prod: Nathaniel Lees
Location: Wellington
Being visible in a world that doesn’t want to see you.

Mister Sunshine
Dir: Eldon Booth
Prod: Alex Lovell
Location: Auckland
Larry Woods is a shoeshine man on a mission to peddle goodwill and cheer; a far cry from his hedonistic days as a member of Auckland’s wealthy elite.

Water for Gold
Dir: Rose Archer
Prod: Sandy Wijetunge
Location: Auckland
An animated conversation with leading legal professor, Jane Kelsey, on how international trade law is leading us to trade water for gold.

How Mr and Mrs Gock Saved the Kumara
Dir: Felicity Morgan-Rhind
Prod: Arani Cuthbert
Location: Auckland
When two young Chinese refugees fall in love in 1955 their passion for each other and the land changes the way New Zealand farms kumara, our iconic indigenous crop.

Aka’ōu: Tātatau in the Cook Islands
Dir: Robert George
Prod: Lucy Cole
Location: Rarotonga
Against the odds an Englishman living with Cystic Fibrosis who has devoted his life to learning the ancient Polynesian art of tātatau (tattoo) and now he must find the right apprentice to continue the tradition, before it’s too late.

The Colourist
Dir: Greg Wood, Peter Alsop
Prod: Declan Cahill
Location: Auckland
A photo colourist from the 1950s picks up the cotton wool one more time to showcase the wonderful aesthetic of a lost art.


LOADING DOCS seeks new 3-minute documentary ideas for 2016.

After another phenomenal year LOADING DOCS once again seeks proposals from New Zealand filmmakers for creative and original 3-minute documentary shorts. The theme of CHANGE will unite the 2016 collection of documentaries.

LOADING DOCS has established itself as the pre-eminent platform for the distribution of high quality short documentary, boasting over 600,000 views for the 19 documentaries created to date. LOADING DOCS’ mission is to give the best and brightest New Zealand filmmakers the chance to tell their stories with creativity, vision and passion and share them with the world.

In previous years the themes of HOME (2014) and CONNECTION (2015) have united the collections of short documentaries. Providing the umbrella for 2016 is the theme of CHANGE. Be it physical, internal, external, social, political, emotional, irreverent, or psychological each short must have a strong sense of purpose, offering a concentrated story while delivering to a big picture suitable to generate public interest and media engagement.

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 NZ.

“I was stunned, delighted, knocked out. More importantly, I was moved…here, in glorious hi-def. video, are fellow New Zealanders telling stories packed with emotion.” – Grant Smithies on Loading Docs 2015, Sunday Star Times, Aug 2015.

Funded by NZ On Air and with support from The New Zealand Film Commission, in 2016 LOADING DOCS will once again partner with TVNZ OnDemand, The New Zealand International Film Festival, Toybox and Sale Street Studios.

10 films will be selected with each receiving:

• 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. That a total budget of over $7,000 for each 3 minute documentary.
This is an opportunity for the best filmmaking voices in New Zealand 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 for LOADING DOCS 2014 and 2015, visit www.loadingdocs.net.

Important dates
• Saturday 21st of November: Submission deadline.
• December 2015: Selection announced.
• 23 & 24 January 2016: 2 Day development, outreach and crowdfunding workshop.
• February 2016: Crowdfunding campaign (30 days).
• March 2016: Film production officially begins.
• July 2016: Films launch and are shared and promoted in New Zealand and all over the world.

10 Top Tips for Documentary Treatments: How to Make Your Submission Shine by Irene Gardiner

  1. Know exactly what your story is and be able to tell people what it is in one clear sentence. If you can’t sell it in a sentence it’s probably not a story, or you haven’t worked out what the story is yet.
  2. Once you have written your most hooky intro sentence, explain how your story unfolds in the most clear and logical way you can. If your documentary is in multiple parts, write a summary of what will be in each part.
  3. Who are the most important people in your story? Introduce them in a clear and inviting way. Include succinct bios of main talent, but not endless pages of culled articles presented in an unfocused manner.
  4. What is your documentary going to look like – explain your visual/audio treatment, that’s shooting style, editing style, and use of graphics and music.
  5. What is special about your documentary? Make sure you have really conveyed its essence and the heart of the story.
  6. Who are the key people working on your documentary, what is their background and what will they bring to this specific project?
  7. If you are working to a set budget, think about how you can achieve the result you want within those parameters. If you are preparing a budget, make sure you ask yourself a lot of questions about how realistic it is. Be careful not to over or under budget.
  8. Set your written submission document out clearly and tidily, and don’t include un-necessary information. Network Executives and Executive Producers are busy people with limited time to read. If you haven’t hooked them with your first page, another 100 pages won’t help you. As outlined in tips one to seven, start your proposal document with your most simple description of what your documentary is about, then explain that more fully, then outline who your main talent are, then explain your visual and audio treatment, then key production personnel and budget.
  9. If you’re no good at spelling and grammar, get someone who is to help you do your final draft. It does matter.
  10. If you are doing a verbal presentation as well, get to the point quickly and keep focused. Explain your concept clearly in your first sentence, and then work logically from there. Don’t waste busy people’s time by not cutting to the chase. Let your passion for your project shine out of you.

About Irene Gardiner

Irene-Gardiner-Key-Profile.jpgIrene Gardiner is a long-time television producer and executive producer, with a particular interest in documentary production. She is a former TVNZ Head of Commissioning and currently works part-time as the Content Director for the NZ On Screen website.  Gardiner also continues to work as a freelance executive producer, with recent credits including the six-part documentary series Keeping it Pure, and the music documentaries Dragon and Rock Chicks.  Gardiner is also a regular contributor to radio and television as a media commentator and television reviewer.

We Have Lift Off!

It has been a week since we launched our 2015 short documentaries with a great launch party and celebrated the success of 10 films with the filmmakers, special guests and friends and family. The short documentaries were screened to a packed theatre and the reception was glowing.

Pita Turei gave a captivating opening mihi to start the launch and the event was hosted by TV star Erin Simpson who asked the burning questions to each one of our filmmakers. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue at The Academy Cinemas and a huge shout out to Proper Crisps for providing the tastiest snacks to accompany the screening. Thank you to everyone that came along and for supporting our short documentaries.



Since we launched, there’s been some great news already. Gina has been Staff Picked on Vimeo and was able to garner more than 35K views and is continuing to climb. There has been a great response to our films already and we cannot wait for the 5 short docos to premiere at the NZIFF.
Check out our films here: Vimeo – Loading Docs.
In celebration of our launch, we invited a special guest Rebecca Howard (GM of Video at The New York Times) where she was able to share her expertise and help our filmmakers prep for their online distribution strategy.

In partnership with Script to Screen, a masterclass was held with Rebecca and industry professionals and she shared her strategies on digital content.

It’s been a big week for us and we have big things planned. Stay tuned for all updates on our facebook, twitter and instagram.

The Film Festival starts this weekend so make sure you are going out to check out our other 5 equally exciting documentaries on the big screen. Once each film premieres they will be online and on TVNZ OnDemand.

July 17th – 
Dancing in the Dark

Showing before: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
July 19th
 – Madness Made Me

Showing before: Dreamcatcher.
July 23rd -
 Wilbur Force

Showing before: I am Thor.
July 27th – 
Fantasy Cave 

Showing before: The Brand New Testament.
July 28th – 

Showing before: Dope.

Counting Down to Launch 3… 2…1…


It has been a month of great progress for Loading Docs.

The documentary teams have been tweaking and finessing their work and are in the very final stages of completion doing the final sound mix and colour grade. The short documentaries coming through for viewing are looking fantastic, so we are really looking forward to sharing them with the world.

We are getting so close to our launch on the 9th of July and we have had some very exciting developments to report. Our big news of the week is The New Zealand International Film Festival launched their programme and 5 of the 10 Loading Docs short documentaries for 2015 have been selected to premiere in the New Zealand International Film Festival before features!

Here are the dates they are premiering in the Auckland arm of the festival.

Dancing in the Dark
July 17th, 20th, 25th, 26th.
Showing before: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

Madness Made Me
July 19th, 27th, Aug 1st, 2nd.
Showing before: Dreamcatcher.

Wilbur Force
July 23rd, 24th, 25th.
Showing before: I am Thor.

Fantasy Cave
July 27th, 29th.
Showing before: The Brand New Testament.

July 28th, 31st.
Showing before: Dope.

You will be able to see the first 5, equally exciting documentaries from July 9th online and on TVNZ OnDemand and then the last five online and OnDemand the day after they premiere.



More Sneak Peeks – Tihei and Dancing in the Dark pump up the volume.

Hot off the presses we have a photo update of the latest activity from our teams. Check out some of the images coming through as the production phase keeps the teams on their toes. Dancing in the Dark and Tihei have been taking it to the streets, capturing some magic, freestyling and throwing some shapes.

Dancing in the Dark lighting up K’ Road.

Wheel chair Pete

Director Rowena Baines perfecting her shot.

Ro y camera

Dancing in the Dark stills courtesy of Rodrigo Villalobos.


Tihei  breaks it down at the Otara Market.


The Tihei crew at work.



Tihei still images courtesy of Jean Kim.