Why You Should Submit to Loading Docs

Loading Docs submissions are open for 2024. Filmmakers across Aotearoa are invited to submit their ideas for documentaries under 10 minutes centred around the theme of Attention – Te kimihanga, te hahaunga. Here are the reasons you should apply to be a part of Loading Docs. If you haven’t submitted it yet, do so before the February 12th deadline.

Global and Local Exposure:

Founded in 2014, the Loading Docs pioneered the production of short-form documentaries accessible to an online audience. With nearly 20 million viewers worldwide, Loading Docs offers unparalleled exposure for filmmakers. Loading Docs short films have been showcased on platforms including television, premium news sites, film festivals, public outdoor screens, and inflight, reaching audiences far and wide.

Premiere Platforms & Film Festivals:

Loading Docs films have graced esteemed international platforms like The New Yorker, The Guardian, Short of the Week, and National Geographic, and local platforms such as NZ Herald, RNZ, Whakaata Māori, TVNZ+ and Stuff, garnering widespread recognition. Moreover, they have been featured at renowned film festivals such as HOT DOCS, DOC NYC, SXSW, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts, and NZIFF, among many others.

Professional Development:

Loading Docs is New Zealand’s preeminent documentary talent programme. It’s not only about content, it’s about elevating the art of documentary making. We’re deeply invested in teaching the fundamentals of drawing the heart out of a story and articulating deeper meanings in narratives. Our commitment extends to refining editing techniques and processes designed to captivate and sustain viewer attention. Our goal is to cultivate new generations of filmmakers who can weave impactful short documentaries, and to transport the genre to platforms where New Zealanders already congregate.

Selected filmmakers will receive invaluable mentorship from industry veterans including co-founder Julia Parnell (SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out, The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps), Kay Ellmers (He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan), and Juliette Veber (Trouble Is My Business). Workshops with guest mentors and a post-production package with the leading post-house, Department Of Post, also help excel the development of filmmakers and make deep connections within the New Zealand film industry.

Pathway to Feature Films:

Loading Docs serves as a launchpad for filmmakers aspiring to transition to feature-length projects. Alumni of Loading Docs have successfully ventured into directing and producing feature films, with some Loading Docs films transitioning into features of their own. In the past year, Katherine McRae and Migiwa Ozawa’s Water Baby became ‘Pacific Mother’, winning Best NZ Documentary at Doc Edge Festival, and Gwen Isaac and Phillida Perry’s Siouxsie & the Virus went on to become ‘Ms. Information’, premiering at NZIFF.

Two-time Loading Docs director, Corinna Hunziker, received the Grand Prix du Jury at FIFO for her deeply impactful ‘No Māori Allowed’, and Zoe McIntosh, also a two-time Loading Docs director, released Stylebender, centring on the world-renowned UFC superstar, Israel Adesanya, which enjoyed its international premiere at Tribeca Film Festival.

The Collaborative Experience:

Join a community of filmmakers embarking on a transformative journey together. From crowdfunding to production, post-production and distribution, participants share in the exhilarating process, culminating in a grand premiere event at an Auckland cinema—a celebration of creativity and storytelling.

Ready to showcase your vision to the world? Submit your documentary idea by February 12th for a chance to be a part of Loading Docs next season. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to share your story with a global audience. Learn more and submit now.

Submit to Loading Docs 2024


Loading Docs submissions are open for 2024. NZ-based filmmakers have to opportunity to submit a proposal for the chance to be part of the acclaimed short documentary initiative of Aotearoa New Zealand. Selected filmmakers will be awarded funding and receive high-level development support and mentorship from respected industry experts. Our guiding theme for this year is ‘Attention’ – ‘Te kimihanga, te hahaunga’, challenging you to uncover and showcase the unseen beauty and potential in our complex surroundings


With a legacy of over 80 compelling stories that have captivated 19 million viewers worldwide, Loading Docs has been a catalyst for the careers of more than 100 filmmakers. It could be your narrative that captivates us next. To submit, download the Loading Docs Application Pack, which includes; the full RFP, submission form and terms & conditions. Here you’ll learn more about the initiative, find the intended production schedule and be able to complete the submission form. The deadline for applying is Feb 12.


  • Personal journeys of victory and sorrow, infused with an unexpected twist or perspective, and surpassing a traditional character biography.  
  • Environmental sagas with a potent call-to-action. 
  • Insightful explorations of technology’s dual impact on our lives: its intimidating advancements and its potential for significant societal benefit. 
  • Historical narratives that present a surprising point of view of a well-known event or issue.  
  • Fresh takes on current news, challenging viewers to step outside their echo chambers. 
  • Extraordinary access to hard-to-reach places or subjects. 
  • Unique access to remarkable individuals or groups, with significant profiles and unique outlooks.  


Kei ngā arero pounamu, kei ngā ringa whatu kōrero, kia kawea tātou e te reo – whītiki tauā.

Kia Māori ake nei ngā kōrero ka rukuhia, ngā pakipūmeka ka hangaia.  E hiahia ana kia kitea te tino wairua Māori o roto – ngā tirohanga, ngā uara, ngā kōrero katoa, kia kounga, kia rangatira, me ko Māui Tinihanga. Ko te aho matua e whāia ana e tēnei terenga ko te ‘Attention – Te kimihanga, te hahaunga’.  I ētahi wā e tika ana kia tūngia te ururua kia tupu whakaritorito ai te tupu o te harakeke.  Tēnā, rukuhia te rētōtanga o te kaupapa, kia hua mai ai ko te māramatanga me te tirohanga e ai ki tā te Māori titiro ki te ao.

Loading Docs is dedicated to championing Māori voices and worldviews within our storytelling framework. This includes providing specific opportunities for projects in te reo Māori.

  • Loading Docs is seeking a minimum of two projects that are conveyed through te reo Māori
    • At least one documentary is to be completed entirely in te reo Māori.
    • At least one other with a minimum of 30% te reo Māori dialogue.

These may engage audiences with the ethos and aspirations fundamental to the Māori worldview. However, stories told in te reo Māori need not be limited to explicit explorations of cultural themes.


As we embark on this year’s creative journey, the guiding theme is intended to illuminate the path for our Director/Producer teams. To support the success of your application, it is imperative to demonstrate adherence to the criteria outlined above. This will enable our selection committee to clearly envision the potential of your documentary and its alignment with this year’s theme.

Submit to Loading Docs by February 12. If you have any further questions or issues with the Loading Docs Application Pack, please contact us here.