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.

Behind the Scenes

Its been all fantasy, palaces, madness and wine here at Loading Docs when four of our documentaries entered their shoots.

Madness Made Me
have completed shooting with their subject and are busy working on a compile edit with our gun editor Lisa Greenfield. Here’s a shot of Director Nikki Castle on set filming openly mad and influential mental health leader Mary O’Hagan.



The Kusuda team were at the mercy of the weather and the vines for their shoot. They needed to be poised to visit Hiro on his vineyard in Martinborough the moment he indicated harvest would start. They have completed shooting and are in the beginning stages of their edit.
Check out the magnificent location they were working on.



A light-filled, lustrous event took place at The Crystal Palace in Mt. Eden last week. The Please Open crew lit up the theatre to showcase its former glory and there was a public screening of the cult 1960’s classic kiwi surf film Children of the Sun with live music by The Echo Ohs. It was a great night with an impressive turn out.



Michelle Savill with two of the volunteers who keep The Dannevirke Fantasy Cave going are pictured below. The cave dwellers warmly welcomed the Fantasy Cave crew into their lives and the team have completed their shoot days. Onward to the edit suite!



Stand by for more updates to come from our other films…

You did it!

LD Connect Cover Photo

Today (Tuesday) marks the last day of crowd-funding and all 10 documentary shorts are funded with one day to spare. Hooray!
It has been an adrenaline fuelled month with some projects galloping far beyond their funding goals and some taking it down to the wire. Congrats to every team. Your persistence has paid off.

Thank you also to all the supporters who have offered social shares, tweets, moral support and of course, cash. Our appreciation knows no bounds.

Now it is time to focus forward and with much excitement we move on to the next phase.


We will be keeping you up-to-date on the progress of the documentaries during production and offering some insight into the behind-the-scenes worlds of the stories. Plus we have a few surprises up our sleeve for the coming months so stand-by for some thrilling developments and invitations.

Crowdfunding is GO! Support a documentary this year. Start with Loading Docs.

Work is cranking in the Loading Docs office. This week we launched crowdfunding for Loading Docs 2015. We have partnered with arts funding website and the ten campaigns run for one month, closing April 1st. Check them out here.

The documentary makers each need to raise $2000 via crowdfunding. Once that target is met the Loading Docs fund will then contribute $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. Some campaigns are really knocking it out of the park and are on on track to meet their goals within the first week! Epic effort guys!

Our hope is that this year more people will see and support NZ stories to be made. Support one, some or all of the films. Go to Boosted to view the collection and see the documentary teams pitch for your assistance. We wish all the teams all the best for this nail-biting month and we urge you all to share, share, share the love and help these exceptional real life stories be told.


Loading Docs Workshop – Documentary makers connect!


LOADING DOCS has kicked off to a tremendous start with our filmmakers converging in Auckland at Colab for a weekend of development to define media strategies, crowd-funding techniques and for each team to hone their short docos.

Anna Dean joined us to advise on media strategy both traditional and social channels. Anna is an independent PR maven with a passion for arts, culture and entertainment. She brings a wealth of experience on films such as publicist for The Dark Horse and Two Little Boys and Gardening with Soul (Best NZ Doco Moas 2013). Find out more about her work here.  #ohyesannadean

Our second special guest Kathryn Burnett award-winning screenwriter and creative training consultant spent time with the teams to further focus their documentary stories. This session was full of activity, inspiration and deep thought. Check out Kathryn’s work on her website. 
Sign up for a workshop with Kathryn yourself, it is well worth it! Click here for info.

Executive Producers Anna Jackson and Julia Parnell worked with the teams to further define their plans for crowd-funding and production and after two intense days together we all came away with huge enthusiasm for the LOADING DOCS collection for 2015.

Thank you to all who came and contributed.

Life about to get very busy in the Loading Docs office, we are counting down to the crowd-funding phase on March 2nd. Stand by for more info soon!



Second crop of the best Loading Docs announced for 2015 

A suburban picture palace on the brink of extinction, strangers dancing in the dark, a ‘headcase’ turned world leader, a woman who talks to animals, a freestyling busker and a kiwi pro wrestler – these are some of the characters Kiwis will be introduced to thanks to the outstanding selection of Loading Docs documentaries set to be made in 2015.

After a selection process with an unprecedented high calibre of entries the Loading Docs team is pleased to announce the line-up of ten 3-minute documentary shorts to be produced and released in 2015 under the ground-breaking New Zealand film initiative.

Loading Docs Project Manager Nia Phipps says, “The range of docos selected couldn’t be more diverse, but each explores aspects of ‘connect’, the theme for Loading Docs 2015.”

The filmmakers behind the selected ten comprise an outstanding line-up of filmmaking talent, some of whom have already produced award-winning short films.

“Although the docos are only three-minutes long, that’s enough to spark the audience’s imagination and to provoke a powerful response… but it really pushes a filmmaker’s skills to the limit,” says Loading Docs EP Anna Jackson.

Executive Producers Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson set up Loading Docs to fill a gap for audiences hungry for quality local documentaries and to offer documentary makers a unique creative challenge.

The filmmakers are provided with mentoring from industry leaders to further their skills in development, crowdfunding, marketing and online distribution. The initiative is designed to support filmmakers to take their filmmaking craft to the next level and promote creative documentary making of the highest standard both locally and internationally.

Loading Docs launched in May 2014. The first series of short docos (all freely available to view and share online here: ) were an immediate success, featuring on high profile local and international websites, screening on Air New Zealand’s inflight entertainment and New Zealand Television (3News, Seven Sharp, 20/20, Te Kaea, Iti Pounamu, the Rialto Channel) and selected for local and international film festivals (Show Me Shorts (NZ), Out Takes (NZ), ImagineNATIVE (Canada), New Zealand Short Film Festival (Aus) and the 2015 Banff World Tour (US).

“Loading Docs has touched audiences all over the world with an outstanding selection of unique New Zealand stories. Given the success of our inaugural round of documentaries last year, we are looking forward to supporting another talented group through the process” says Loading Docs EP Julia Parnell.

The project is supported by the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air’s Digital Media Fund. Each documentary will crowd fund via the website
Boosted to raise $2000, which is then matched
by Loading Docs. The crowd funding phase will take place from the first week of March 2015 when the filmmakers have a month to raise the cash and reach out to audiences before production begins.


The Crystal Palace
Directors Karl Sheridan and Robin Gee, Producer Monster Valley
Location: Mt Eden, Auckland
Cultural icon and cinematic relic The Crystal Palace fights to hold off the final curtain call.

No Lights, No Lycra
Director Rowena Baines, Producer Paula Jones
Location: Grey Lynn, Auckland
A suburban library hall on a mundane Monday is transformed into a world where there’s no inhibitions, no worries, and most importantly, ‘No Lights, No Lycra’.

Fantasy Cave
Director/Producers Michelle Savill and Matt Henley
Location: Dannevirke.
In the heart of rural New Zealand the residents of Dannevirke have transformed a Christmas Cave into a DIY ‘Disney Land.’

H20 Below
Directors Louis Olsen and Frances Haszard
Producer: Scott Elder
Location: Auckland
An adventurous, cinematic exposé of our cities’ hidden waterways and the story that connects us with our forgotten history and our unseen environment.

Killer App
Director/Producers Wendell Cooke, Jeremy Macey
Location: Wellington
Over hot drinks and a potluck afternoon tea, a group of senior Wellingtonians discuss the best ways to die.

Directors Amber Easby & Henry Oliver, Producer Amber Easby
Location: Martinborough
New Zealand, Japanese and French cultures merge in the vineyards of salaryman turned master winemaker, Hiro Kusuda.

Madness Made Me
Director Nikki Castle, Producer Alexander Gandar
Location: Dunedin
To the psychiatrists, Mary O’Hagan was just another head case. But where they saw illness, she saw meaning.

The Pet Whisperer
Directors Justin Hawkes & Ian Hart, Producer Hayley Cunningham
Location: Christchurch
Imagine if you could have a conversation with your pet… Faye Rogers can.

Director Hamish Bennett, Producer Orlando Stewart
Location: Auckland
A boombox and a beat helped Tihei Harawira find his voice. Now he’s freestyling his way from Otara to the world.

Wilbur Force
Director J.Ollie Lucks, Producer Veronica Stevenson
Location: Dunedin
The former king of New Zealand pro wrestling is challenged by his best friend to re-connect with his glory days of battle.

Reaction from this year’s successful applicants on being involved with Loading Docs: 

Justin Hawkes & Ian Hart LOADING DOCS Filmmakers 2015 (The Pet Whisperer) 
‘Being selected for Loading Docs is not only an amazing chance to explore the craft we love, but it’s also an opportunity to film with a telepathic pet communicator – we can’t think of anything else we would rather be doing’

Rowena Baines LOADING DOCS Filmmaker 2015  (No Lights, No Lycra) 
“Loading Docs is a fantastic initiative that provides a supportive environment for filmmakers to create work, then promote and showcase it.  I’m excited to see the many different interpretations of the common theme ‘connect’ and to have the opportunity participate in the creation of the new collection.”


Three of last years filmmakers on Loading Docs:

Joel Kefali, LOADING DOCS Filmmaker (Baba) See the doco here.

“I like the one to one relationship a filmmaker can have with their audience when sharing their work online. The LOADING DOCS format and crowd-funding approach brings this relationship full circle and allows me to share a particularly personal story within the online community.”

Alex Sutherland, LOADING DOCS Filmmaker (The Jump) See the doco here. 

“When I heard about Loading Doc’s short documentary initiative, I immediately thought this would be a great way to jump-start Chris’s story to life and get it out into the world. The discipline of having to distil a story like this down to three minutes forces you to think about what is absolutely necessary to tell the story and what is really driving it.”

Prisca Bouchet and Nick Mayow, LOADING DOCS Filmmakers (Today) See the doco here.

“As directors, being part of LOADING DOCS has given us an opportunity to challenge ourselves, at the same time learning about and participating in the bold, dynamic world of online storytelling.”


Hello from Nia and Jean

Hello from your Loading Docs team: Producer Nia and Production Manager Jean.

Photo 23-01-15 1 57 13 pm

Message from Nia.
I came on board with Loading Docs last year in November as Producer and am thrilled to be part of this incredible team for the 2015 batch of short docos. The short form documentary is an ideal framework for culture hungry people, perfectly composed for viewing on all devices at home or on the go. See our recent successes on the media page here.

Jean and I are busily at work sprucing everything up for the year and we aim to advance the cause for New Zealand stories by delivering them to more eyes than ever before! We have ten brilliant films on the slate for 2015 which I am so proud to be able to represent and support through the process. I look forward to sharing the journey of creating these new documentaries with the teams we have this year and to share the stories with you as they come together over the next 6 months.

Stick with us on this journey it is going to be a captivating ride.


Loading Docs 2015 – What are we looking for?

With less than two weeks to go until the deadline for proposals for Loading Docs 2015 now is the time to put the finishing touches on your proposal and get it in!

If you’re wondering what it takes to get to the top of the submission pile, here are some notes on what made the 2014 cohort stand out for us.

Baba – We were really excited by the idea of an animated Loading Docs film, and though Joel had never made a documentary before, he had a very strong track record as a filmmaker, a commitment to documentary and the support of a terrific producer. Three minutes of animation required a great deal of work, but Joel was clearly passionate about making this very personal film and was very committed to making it.

Homing – The proposal for this film focused on the use of sound to tell a story, which was a unique approach that was both original and ambitious and a great interpretation of the theme of Home.

Living Like Kings – Zoe’s proposal had a very clear creative vision and offered an insight into life in post-quake Christchurch that had never been seen before. Zoe had already done a lot of research and submitted some great images to support her proposal.

Queer Selfies – The concept for Queer Selfies fitted really well with the three-minute format and Robyn and Paula had a very sound production plan based on a single day’s shooting at The Big Gay Out and demonstrated an excellent understanding of their target audience.

Stop/Go – this film promised to show a side of New Zealand most people only catch a glimpse of. The proposal fitted well with our theme of Home and Greg and Jack provided a very compelling visual treatment to support their proposal that assured us that this film would be stunning.

The Jump – a never-before-told story about the origins of bungy featuring mullets, stubby and some serious can-do Kiwi attitude, with reels of incredible archive footage and a solid filmmaking team. The proposal had a clear plan of action and sold us on a great story with strong audience appeal.

The Road to Whakarae – the creative vision for this film was very clearly articulated in the proposal, and promised a very original approach. Like many other films that made the final cut, The Road to Whakarae offered a totally unique perspective on a very special place and people. The musical approach was risky, but that’s what Loading Docs is all about!

Today – The detailed observational treatment for this film was well-developed and the filmmakers had secured the permission they would need to film inside a rest home. In their initial proposal Prisca and Nick intended to spend around three days inside the home researching and getting to know staff and residents. In fact, they spent a great deal more time than this, and their commitment to handling this topic with sensitivity was very clear from the outset. They submitted their remarkable short film Le Taxidermiste in support of their application, and this gave us a great deal of confidence in their filmmaking ability.

Wayne – Kirsty and Viv also showed us a very strong commitment to spending a great deal of time with Wayne and his carers and we felt assured that they would tell his story with respect and care. Permission to film had been secured, the production schedule was realistic and just from looking at the fantastic photos of Wayne that were submitted in support of the application we could tell that Kirsty and Viv had a great rapport with him.

We received many fantastic proposals for Loading Docs 2014 and in making our final selection we considered how the films would work as a group, with a range of different styles, stories and communities represented. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and propose something that you think is a little unusual or challenging, just as long as your proposal can realistically be achieved within the budget and timeframe available.

For more tips on submitting, check out our FAQs…


Can I submit multiple proposals?
Yes, you can but bear in mind that each proposal requires quite a lot of preparation. We’re looking for ideas that are well developed and feasible within the time frame and budget available, so it’s best to focus on developing one or two ideas well rather than taking a scattergun approach.

What makes a good proposal?
A good proposal has a really clear concept and creative vision. We should immediately understand what your film is about and how you plan realise your ideas. Examples of previous work and visual references that demonstrate your creative vision are extremely useful. Your proposal should also identify potential challenges or logistical issues and indicate how you will deal with these. A major consideration is whether your project can be realised within the timeframe and budget available, so where access and permissions are necessary we require evidence that these have been secured.

How much filmmaking experience do I need to have?
Loading Docs is an initiative that aims to give filmmakers who have some solid filmmaking experience the opportunity to push their ideas further and to create work of the highest possible standard (within some major constraints) that will challenge, inspire and captivate audiences.  The initiative is not aimed at students or first-time filmmakers. However, if you are a less-experienced filmmaker with a really great idea we suggest you partner with an experienced production team (such as a good producer and DOP) who can support you if you wish to submit a proposal.

For students and young people in New Zealand keen to make short documentaries we recommend two other fantastic filmmaking initiatives: Inspiring Stories and Outlook for Someday.

What kind of stories is Loading Docs looking for?
The theme of CONNECTION is one that we hope will inspire a wide range of stories and filmmaking styles. In the selection process we will be aiming to curate a selection of films that will appeal to different audiences with a range of subjects and styles with a diversity of representation, creative form, and audience.  You may wish to focus on a specific audience (such as children and young people), or a unique place, person or subject.  Look at the selection of films from Loading Docs 2014 to gain a better understanding of the kind of films that Loading Docs aims to support.

Why does my film have to be 3-minutes long?
Prior to launching Loading Docs we watched a lot of short films online and decided that 3 really is a magic number when it comes to online films, (particularly if you’re watching on a mobile device), and we want Loading Docs films to be viewed and shared as widely as possible.

We encourage you to embrace this challenge and use the 3-minute constraint to be creative with documentary storytelling.

Why do I need to raise money for my film through crowdfunding?
In addition to making incredible films, an important objective for Loading Docs as an initiative is to support filmmakers to broaden their audience reach and to become more skilled in fundraising, marketing and outreach. Crowdfunding is an increasingly valuable tool to enable filmmakers to connect with audiences who are truly invested and interested in their work, and to start a journey that an audience can be actively involved in.

Crowdfunding also helps to make the funding received from NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission go further, but we have set a very achievable fundraising target. Loading Docs filmmakers will run matched funding crowdfunding campaign. For each film, Loading Docs will contribute $1 for every $1 raised through crowdfunding with a target of $2000. That means that each successful campaign will raise at least $4,000. All funds raised go directly to the film.

What happens in the workshops?
In the first two-day workshop (31 Jan/1 Feb) we will spend one-day concentrating on storytelling, creative treatment and other aspects of production, and one day focusing on crowdfunding strategy and  audience outreach. We will bring in specialists in each of these areas to work with filmmakers.

The second workshop, held closer to the launch of the films, will focus more on outreach and distribution, with an international guest who will share their expertise and offer filmmakers advice. In 2014 we were thrilled to have Vimeo curator and Short of the Week founder Jason Sondhi as our guest, and he provided great insights into how filmmakers can build an online presence that will enhance their careers.

Who owns the films?
All films remain the intellectual property of the filmmakers and Loading Docs retains the rights to distribute promote the films for a minimum period of two years. The films are primarily distributed online via Loading Docs’ Vimeo channel, but are freely available to share and embed. This means that the films collectively support each other’s success. We work hard to achieve the best possible exposure for the films, and encourage filmmakers to actively support the films through their own outreach efforts.

In 2014, Loading Docs films were featured prominently on The New Zealand Herald, screened widely on New Zealand television (including in primetime slots), and appeared in local and international film festivals. You can even watch Loading Docs films on international Air New Zealand flights.

If you have a question regarding submissions that is not answered here, please email us.