Loading Docs: Madness Made Me

tumblr_static_wireless_alt_cmyk-870pxLoading Docs is a launching pad for New Zealand short documentaries which has just released 10 new films. We’ll be featuring each of the films and profiling the directors behind them.


Screening as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival, Madness Made Me meets prominent mental health care activist Mary O’Hagan as she contrasts her personal diary entries against rigid medical records of her time spent in mental health care facilities.

Running her finger under passages which dismiss her feelings, and compartmentalise her behaviours, O’Hagan humanises behaviours, and shares a moment when she struggled with her mental illness.  Read more

The Best Argument I Have Ever Heard For Physician-Assisted Suicide is this Woman’s Silence


“What would you say to people who are opposed to voluntary euthanasia?”

“Swap places with me.”

Gina, a woman painfully suffering from a rare genetic disorder, is one among thousands of people in New Zealand fighting for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Read more

Loading Docs: Dancing in the Dark

tumblr_static_wireless_alt_cmyk-870pxLoading Docs is a launching pad for New Zealand short documentaries which has just released 10 new films. We’ll be featuring each of the films and profiling the directors behind them.


Dancing in the Dark follows dancer Peter Vosper as he prepares to make his way to No Lights No Lycra on a Monday night.

Vosper slips into his self-designed glowing neon suit, and illuminating the dark streets with playful wiggles, he prances gleefully forward, towards a night of dancing.

The film is one of the five short documentaries that have been selected to premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival.  Read more

Licence to Pill


There’s a joke from Samuel Goldwyn that goes: anyone who sees a psychiatrist should have their head examined. It sums up the transactional nature of power – how in some ways psychiatrists are like any other guru – that is, they have power because you give it to them. If you’re feeling helpless, here’s someone you can imagine has all the answers you seek.

Unlike your average guru though, psychiatrists – and mental health services in general – also have another kind of power, one you can’t easily revoke when you decide you want to find help some place else. As part of the medical establishment, they have a great deal of institutional authority, including the power to suspend your human rights, and to force you to receive treatments against your will.

If you disagree with your psychiatrist, that’s just another sign you’re crazy, right? But what if that’s not true? What if over time, our insistence that ‘doctor knows best’ has become a barrier to understanding madness? These aren’t easy questions to answer, but they have far-reaching implications for how we view mad and distressing experiences in general, whether you’re at the pointy end of the system, or picking up your first script of antidepressants.

Some say we’re on the cusp of a collective, global mental health crisis. The prestigious Lancet journal called the worldwide rate of mental health issues “a striking and growing challenge” to health systems (Whiteford, et al, 2013). New Zealand’s Mental Health Commission says we need to increase access to mental health services over the next decade, even as funding will become “tighter and more difficult” (Mental Health Commission, 2012). Perhaps some breakthrough in medical science will solve this looming mental health dilemma? That’s certainly the promise of each new antidepressant or antipsychotic on the market: more benefits, less side effects.

At the same time, however, there’s something of a crisis within psychiatry itself, and some are starting to question the basis of its authority. Indeed, amidst the dire projections, the Mental Health Commission says our best hope is a society-wide approach to mental wellbeing. Following their lead, perhaps it’s not a medical breakthrough we need, but a social one.

Let’s look at the main tool in the psychiatric toolkit: medications. Recent studies show that drugs are no more effective than placebo for treating depression, and this applies both to the mild and severe ends of the spectrum (Andrews, 2001; NICE, 2009; Fournier et al, 2010). Take that in for a moment. Stick to the sugar pill, and you’ll likely get the same outcome.

As for the things we call ‘severe mental illness’ – hearing voices, delusional thinking – a whole series of trials has found the effects of drug treatments to be “disappointingly limited” (see Bracken et al, 2014). Then consider the catastrophic health effects of long-term antipsychotics, including heart disease, liver failure, and a host of other issues. What happened to ‘first do no harm’? In the case of ECT – shock treatment – one study found that “sham ECT” was actually more beneficial than the real thing (Rasmussen, 2009). Without the risk of memory loss to boot.

Now, this isn’t to say these treatments don’t work, per se. People on the real pills and people on the placebo both got better – just not because of what’s in the pill. Pat Bracken, one of the founders of the Critical Psychiatry Network, has an interesting take on this. I cornered him at a conference last year, after his keynote completely shook my smug, preconceived notions about his profession. We talked about this placebo thing – how maybe it’s the sense of hope you get from receiving treatment, or maybe the benefit of a good relationship with your treating team. And how maybe people get better because, well, people get better.

Read more

From Auckland Stream to Queen Street Sewer – A Must-Watch 3-Min Doco

Flicks Logo Red_web200pxBeing based in Auckland, the minions of Flicks.co.nz are no strangers to the concrete jungle of Queen Street. But that ground we traverse daily once had a vastly different identity…

In their short documentary Waihorotiu, made as part of the Loading Docs initiative, directors Frances Haszard and Louis Olsen gorgeously visualise the history of the natural waterway that once flowed through Auckland and excellently capture the moodiness of its current state – an ugly consequence of contemporary urbanisation.

via Flicks

Talking Animals and Forgotten Streams in TVNZ OnDemand’s Loading Docs

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.18.43 amIn three minutes you could make yourself a bowl of two minute noodles (prep time + meditation included), look through someone’s ‘Bali 2009′ album on Facebook, or watch some incredible short kiwi documentaries on TVNZ Ondemand.

Part of the Loading Docs initiative, filmmakers are given the opportunity to produce three-minute documentaries across a wide range of subjects and styles. This year, ten films were selected to be made under the overarching theme of connection, with funding from NZFC and NZ On Air.  Read more

Loading Docs: Gina

Loading Docs is a launching pad for New Zealand short documentaries which has just released 10 new films. We’ll be featuring each of the films and profiling the directors behind them.


Filmmakers Wendell Cooke and Jeremy Macey get to know Gina, a woman with a rare genetic disorder, as they explore the issue of voluntary euthanasia for their Loading Docs film.

Gina, who has an unnamed connective tissue disorder, is in her mid-40s. Her condition affects her eyes, ears, and larynx, making it hard for her to see, hear, or talk.

“You can’t talk a lot to Gina because it damages her tissues, you can only whisper a little bit, so most [communication] is through letter charting,” says Jeremy Macey.  Read more

Quick Bytes, including the winners of the 48Hours Film Competition

listener-logo1The 48 Hours Furious Filmmaking competition is over for another year, and the winner has been announced at a fun evening at Auckland’s Civic Theatre.

BREAD & VOCALS: The 48 Hours Furious Filmmaking competition is over for another year, and the winner has been announced at a fun evening at Auckland’s Civic Theatre. The standard of the finalists is startlingly high given that contestants have just 48 hours to make their short film. For the second year running, the winner was a musical: Bread Winner, by Auckland crew Chess Club, which is available, along with the 13 other finalists, at the 48 Hours website:tinyurl.com/NZL48Hrs

SHORTER SHORT FILMS: Another local film-making initiative is complete for another year as well: Loading Docs, a collection of 10 three-minute docos, is now available at the websiteloadingdocs.net and at TVNZ Ondemand (tinyurl.com/NZLdocs). The theme this year is “connection”.

SVOD HIGHLIGHT: What’s good in subscription video on demand. Sense8, which is available on Netflix (netflix.com/nz), comes from Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) and writer J Michael Straczynski. It’s a crazy sci-fi mash-up filmed in eight different cities featuring eight people who become telepathically connected. The Wachowskis called on their friends Tom Tykwer and James McTeigue to direct, and the whole thing is a triumph of editing.

Follow the Listener on Twitter or Facebook.

By Fiona Rae

via The Listener

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.


static1.squarespaceA few months back we asked our folk to help Amber and Oliver raise funds for their short film, Kusuda. From their crowdfunding campaign they were able to raise over $7,000 (359% of their initial $2000 target) and produce this amazing three-minue documentary about legendary Japanese winemaker, Hiroyuki ‘Hiro’ Kusuda.

Based in Martinborough (NZ), Kusuda follows Hiro during a particularly challenging harvest, when Cyclone Pam threatens the loss of his entire crop.

Knowing his grapes aren’t ready for picking, Hiro can only hope his vines survive the stress and be ready to pick at a moment’s notice. Hiro reflects on the uncontrollable forces of nature, his winemaking process, and the fragility of life itself.

Amber and Henry continue to film with Hiro in hopes of developing a feature.

via Winefolk