Tihei: A Day in the Life of Freestyle Rapper Tihei Harawira October 9th, 2015Loading Docs
Each documentary explores the theme ‘connection’ in a unique and innovative way while showcasing some of New Zealand’s best documentary making talent. The documentaries span a wide range of styles and subjects from the weird and wonderful to challenging and controversial, provoking audiences to think, laugh, cry or maybe even get up and dance.
Additionally, this year, Loading Docs Executive Producers Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson are very proud to announce that five of the documentaries have been selected to premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival, which launches 16 July. Following their NZIFF debut, these films will also be available to view online. See the Loading Docs website for the premiere screening times for each film.
Coming from New York to celebrate the launch of Loading Docs is guest of honour Rebecca Howard, General Manager of Video for The New York Times. Rebecca is at the forefront of online content creation and will be sharing her experience with our filmmakers and holding an industry master-class tackling the changing media landscape online and bringing ground-breaking strategies to develop and grow video content across all platforms.
DIRECTOR PROFILE: ROBIN GEE AND KARL SHERIDAN
Please Open invites the viewer to step over the worn threshold and into a visual exploration of Auckland’s Crystal Palace cinema. Directors Robin Gee and Karl Sheridan celebrate the cinema’s life and character for their Loading Docs short film.
The title “Please Open” is taken from the words written in flakey gold paint on the front door of the Crystal Palace, and the film plays with the concept of inviting the viewer to take a closer look into the cinema, rather than just a hurried glance at an old exterior.
“It’s a sneak peak or insight into what the theatre was, and is, and could be. It explores a little bit of the architecture and the people that surround it,” says Sheridan.
Capturing the vivid stories and memories that make up the history of the Crystal Palace was essential to telling the story.
“People would come and tell great stories about how couples met there and got married, lots of people did. We had people that played there, people that used to go dancing, people who had their first kiss in the back row,” says Gee.
He also set up an impromptu “listening booth” to learn more about the theatre. “Lots of people came in wanting to tell stories.”
Gee spent six weeks in the cinema, getting to know its history, in preparation for making the documentary.
“For us, we really wanted to have the connection with community, that was really important for us. It’s really about the people and the magical aspects of it,” he says.
“Being in an empty theatre is quite a unique experience, it’s not spooky at all. It’s got ghosts, but ghosts of good times and memories.”
During the filmmaking process Sheridan dubbed Gee the “unofficial historian of the theatre”, a title that the filmmaker is at home with.
Sheridan, who runs production company Monster Valley, used to have a studio near Crystal Palace and was drawn to capturing its unique charms on film.
“Robin and I talked about it one day and thought that would be an awesome thing to share with everyone. It’s a bit of a gem that’s sitting there … so we wanted people to see it and experience it, maybe start some more interest in it.”
For Sheridan, the pleasure has come in igniting interest in the cinema.
“Everyone’s been so supportive of the project, it’s been really great. We held a fundraising screening, and over 500 people showed up,” says Sheridan.
“It was great to be able to introduce it to people for the first time, or reintroduce it to people who used to go there, and thought that it was all locked up.”
As well as their Loading Docs film, Sheridan and Gee are also working to collate the information they’ve collected about the Crystal Palace into an online resource.
“I like the idea of questioning what’s next for the theatre, rather than just saying what it was,” says Sheridan.
“Getting the theatre out there, getting people to submit their own stories, hopefully that’ll spark interest around other places around the country.”
Story by Elizabeth Beattie.
via The Wireless
The Crystal Palace, located on Auckland’s Mt Eden Road, is a national cinema treasure that has stood the test of time. This micro-documentary from Karl Sheridan and Robin Gee gives a great insight to the Palace’s history and importance to the community it grew, as well as the bleakness of its future…
Check out the video below, and visit Loading Docs for more.
Gina tells the story of a woman’s journey with a cruel genetic illness and provides a compelling argument for why people should be allowed the choice of assisted dying if their everyday circumstances constitute cruel and unusual suffering.
“A cruel genetic illness has left Gina bed-bound for years; sound and light cause her body further damage, and she is unable to talk. Through the film, Gina expresses her belief that she should have the right to choose if, and when, and how she might die.”
Wellington-based Director, Wendell Cooke, explained more about the documentary:
“Our motivation was to make a film that opened people’s eyes to a movement in New Zealand that provides terminally ill and elderly people with information about end-of-life choice. We wanted to highlight the current gap in the law for people who may want to consider ending their lives because of illness, and the impact that this gap has on everyday people.”
Wendell continues, “We built up a picture of Gina’s situation and position that she, and only she, should have the right to choose whether or not she goes on living. We felt that if we could just communicate this to an audience it would go right to the heart of why there needs to be a law change in New Zealand.”
TVNZ has launched two new OnDemand short-form offerings, youth-led magazine show Yours TV and short documentary series Loading Docs which the broadcaster says is part of its focus to support up-and-coming New Zealand talent.
DIRECTOR PROFILE: JUSTIN HAWKES AND IAN HART
Have you ever wondered what your pets think of you? Or which animals are the funniest?
Faye Rogers can answer those questions for you.
The animal communicator from Christchurch is the subject of Conversations With Pets, a three-minute Loading Docs documentary directed by Justin Hawkes and Ian Hart.
Soon after the filmmakers arrived in Christchurch, Roger’s skills were put to the test when she was contacted via Skype by an American client concerned about her lost kitten.
“She started communicating with this lost kitten in America, she was really nervous, we could hear through the microphone her heart beat start racing, like she was so involved in the moment – [historically] she didn’t want to be filmed before [now] so it was really quite exciting,” Hawkes says.
“She starts channelling the kitten, she put herself inside the kitten and was telling the client ‘I see this, and I see that,’ it was a great bit of drama that we weren’t expecting. I loved that moment because I felt like it wasn’t something I’ve seen before.”
Hawkes, who works as a story producer for Dancing with the Stars, and comes from a travel documentary background, has always enjoyed seeking out the unusual.
“I’d always wanted to do something with a pet communicator, so we started looking for someone in New Zealand and she was one of the leading lights – in the pet communicating world she’s quite big.”
“On face she just seems like this nice, suburban Christchurch woman, [and] then she’s got this amazing ability.”
In the course of their filming, Rogers talked to a variety of different animals from dogs to spiders.
“There was an overweight cat that was really embarrassed about being fat, talking about its diet, because it was there during the Christchurch earthquake, and to comfort itself, it had eaten a lot of food, to get away from the shock.
“We met a spider that was just annoyed she’d taken down its cobwebs… [and] apparently guinea pigs are really funny … It was good to know, from her perspective, that animals have characters,” Hawkes says.
Hawkes enjoys watching and creating documentaries, and had been interested in making a Loading Docs production for a while. “It’s great, even though it’s quite small, somewhere where people can have a go at making documentaries in New Zealand.”
Filming for two days meant there was footage that didn’t make the final cut, but for Hawkes, who produces short bites for TV, three minutes offered him a lot of creative freedom.
“I work on Dancing with the Stars, where every week I make a 1:15 story on celebrities and their story for that week, so three minutes is like a lifetime for me. But it is challenging, because we filmed for two days and wanted to do so many cool things,” he says.
With platforms such as Loading Docs available, and filmmaking equipment becoming more readily available and user-friendly, Hawkes urges those interesting in filmmaking to start creating stories.
“Everyone has a story it’s just finding that story you want to tell and going out and filming it, even if it is three minutes. I had such a good experience doing this.”
With the film completed, the next step for Hawkes and Hart is to send their documentary over to the States.
“There’s a film festival in America called PetDance, and our little dream is to see if we can get it into that. Everyone can get into Sundance, but [not] PetDance!”
Story by Elizabeth Beattie.
via The Wireless
Thursday night saw this year’s crop of Loading Docs titles launched at an event at Auckland’s Academy Cinemas. Five of the three-minute titles are now available for viewing by online audiences, while the five titles playing the NZIFF ahead of features will be go online later on.
Introducing the films, Loading Docs creators Anna Jackson and Julia Parnell noted that last year’s crop of titles had racked up over 400,000 views, and that they hoped this year’s selection woud double that total.
Filmmakers took the stage in between screenings for brief Q&A sessions, offering some insight into the wide range of production paths taken – from a single half-day shoot in Otara Market for Hamish Bennett’s Tihei, the cyclone-threatened couple of days shooting Kusada to the six days over six weeks to explore Fantasy Cave.
Today’s documentarians may dream of making epic Frederick Wiseman-style films, but online audiences aren’t usually so patient. Three hours? You’ll be lucky to hold someone’s attention for three minutes.
That’s the time limit for the documentaries featured in Loading Docs, an annual project that provides funding and support to New Zealand filmmakers. The project offers a cash injection of 4,000 New Zealand dollars plus post-production support to budding documentary makers, on the condition that they raise NZ$2,000 first via the crowdfunding website Boosted. One of the 10 films selected this year managed to exceed this goal by a significant margin. Amber Easby and Henry Oliver raised more than NZ$7,000 to support “Kusuda,” their documentary about a Japanese winemaker who runs a vineyard in New Zealand.