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One Woman’s Fight to Die

logo_atlantic-5b33470f4ada56c0097447002ab7a177Gina has an extreme genetic disorder that has caused her muscles to deteriorate. Sound and light harm her ears, so she sits in complete darkness. Gina communicates using a touch alphabet method—and in this moving short film from New Zealand’s Loading Docs initiative, she makes her case for voluntary euthanasia. “I think a compassionate god would want people to have the option of a humane death,” Gina says, her words flashing on the screen. The film is minimalistic and visual, and for a few minutes we are able to get a brief sense of what it’s like in Gina’s silent, dark world.  Read more

A UN Advisor Reading What Psychiatrists Wrote About Her Will Make You Question “Insanity”

ThePlaidZebraLogoAt the end of a long and sterile corridor, Mary O’Hagan feels the noose of madness begin to tighten. As a young woman in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and spent several dark years in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

“I’m glad I didn’t know I was going to be the chair of an international network, have a book published in Japanese, advise the United Nations or become a New Zealand mental health commissioner. If I’d told a psychiatrist I was going to do these things they would have upped my anti-psychotics on the spot. They kept pouring accelerant onto my years of despair by telling me I had an ‘ongoing disability’ and needed to ‘lower my horizons,’ writes O Hagan.  Read more

One Woman’s Fight to Die

logo_atlantic-5b33470f4ada56c0097447002ab7a177Gina has an extreme genetic disorder that has caused her muscles to deteriorate. Sound and light harm her ears, so she sits in complete darkness. Gina communicates using a touch alphabet method—and in this moving short film from New Zealand’s Loading Docs initiative, she makes her case for voluntary euthanasia. “I think a compassionate god would want people to have the option of a humane death,” Gina says, her words flashing on the screen. The film is minimalistic and visual, and for a few minutes we are able to get a brief sense of what it’s like in Gina’s silent, dark world.

The Loading Docs initiative supports 10 filmmaking teams to create three-minute, creative documentaries that tell New Zealand stories. This year’s theme is connection.

via The Atlantic

Dunedin Doco Helps Wrestler Rediscover Mojo

header_logo-1After years of neglecting his passion, a Dunedin wrestler is back in the ring.

Producer Veronica Harwood-Stevenson said the three-minute wrestling documentary Wilbur Force was filmed in Dunedin and Central Otago over three cold June days.

”We had weather was that was not conducive to wearing Lycra,” Ms Harwood-Stevenson said.

”It was freezing,” actor and wrestler Wilbur McDougall said.

The documentary premiered at the International Film Festival in Auckland last month and can be watched online.

The film had been well received, Ms Harwood-Stevenson said.

”People love it.”  Read more

Madness Made Me – A 3-Minute Documentary

cropped-Laura0724-nearfinalI watched the 3-minute documentary Madness Made Me the other day, and found myself nodding in solidarity and thinking “Hear, hear!” to myself as I watched the protagonist, Mary O’Hagan, reclaim her personal narrative from psychiatry.  Afterwards, I sat with an intense mix of joy and despair as I smiled at the strength of the human spirit and shook my head at the fundamentally unjust and dehumanizing nature of the psychiatric record.  It’s so big and so profound, though unless you’ve been subjected to a psychiatrist’s note-taking yourself, few ever recognize this.

As mental patients, our entire humanity is reduced to a list of symptoms, entirely subjective (i.e. “professional”) opinions on our worth and our character jotted down in sloppy handwriting.  These arbitrary, invented words are scribbled down in a matter of minutes but have the power to strip us of our identity, our right to fresh air, our bodily integrity, the sanctity of our minds, our dignity, our humanness.  And of course, though we may awaken to their absurdity and abandon them as we become ex-mental patients, these pages upon pages of invented words will forever follow us in written record, stored in hospital basements and file cabinets, ghosts of our past.

Thank you, Mary O’Hagan, for sharing your story, and thank you to Nikki Castle for directing this beautiful, thought-provoking, empowering, haunting film.

via Recovering from Psychiatry by Laura Delano

Documentary Focus on Fantasy Cave

Film still from short documentary Fantasy Caves.

The magical kingdom that is Dannevirke’s Fantasy Cave and the 100 volunteers who keep the fairy dust flying star in a new documentary.

Film-makers Matt Henley and Michelle Savill have released the documentary in conjunction with the Loading Docs Project and the short video has run as a prelude to the International Film Festival at Auckland’s Civic Theatre this week.

With its theme of “why do people create?”, the documentary is one of 10 short New Zealand films and for Henley returning to the Fantasy Cave was something he had wanted to do since his first visit when he was 9.  Read more

Loading Docs 2015

gh_logo_150x150A couple of weeks ago I went to the Academy Cinema on a freezing evening for the launch of Loading Docs, and it was so great I wanted to try to recreate the experience for you. Loading Docs is a platform and incubator for short form documentaries dreamed up by two Aucklanders, Anna Jackson and Julia Parnell. Each year, ten short documentary proposals are selected for the initiative, and by the end of the process ten beautiful three minute films are released across a wide variety of networks including Air NZ In-Flight, TVNZ on demand, and this year, the New Zealand International Film Festival. Loading Docs is an incredible opportunity for young film makers, and this year’s crop of documentaries were a joy to see on the big screen.

The coolest thing about Loading Docs is that I don’t have to stop at just telling you about them, they are all available online so I can show you as well. So maybe take yourself to a quiet place, select full screen, and spend 30 minutes watching all of them, one after the other.

Read more

Loading Docs: Tihei

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.

DIRECTOR PROFILE: HAMISH BENNETT

Tihei Harawera has a way with words. Weaving meanings and style into stream of consciousness lyrics, he stands at the Otara markets once a week with a sign and a stereo, offering to rap about a topic of the passers-bys choosing.

Director Hamish Bennett (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Kāi Tahu), who grew up in the same town as Harawera, had been intrigued by his unique talent ever since seeing a video of his performance.  Read more

Californian city to get ‘marijuana innovation zone’

The_GuardianCity links: Growing the green stuff in Arcata, bike-friendly Jakarta and Auckland’s ancient underground waterway feature in this week’s best city stories 

Lost city waterways

This week we came across Waihorotiu, a beautiful short documentary by Loading Docs about an ancient waterway under the streets of Auckland. The film uses the history of the Waihorotiu stream to explore the relationship between urbanisation and waterways: as the city of Auckland grew, Waihorotiu was turned into a sewer and made invisible, cut off from its spring and the sea.

Waihorotiu, directed by Frances Haszard and Louis Olsen

 

via The Guardian

Frail, in Pain, and Craving Dignity

Filmmakers hope Gina’s story of battle with mystery defect will open people’s minds to voluntary euthanasia.
Filmmaker Jeremy Macey said learning Gina's story had been a humbling experience.
Filmmaker Jeremy Macey said learning Gina’s story had been a humbling experience.

Gina can’t see, is bedbound and has to avoid light and sound as they are painful to her eyes and ears.

She has to eat quietly, avoiding noisy foods such as potato chips or apples, eating only pureed food. Gina is pro-euthanasia.  Read more