LOADING DOCS seeks new 3-minute documentary ideas for 2016.

After another phenomenal year LOADING DOCS once again seeks proposals from New Zealand filmmakers for creative and original 3-minute documentary shorts. The theme of CHANGE will unite the 2016 collection of documentaries.

LOADING DOCS has established itself as the pre-eminent platform for the distribution of high quality short documentary, boasting over 600,000 views for the 19 documentaries created to date. LOADING DOCS’ mission is to give the best and brightest New Zealand filmmakers the chance to tell their stories with creativity, vision and passion and share them with the world.

In previous years the themes of HOME (2014) and CONNECTION (2015) have united the collections of short documentaries. Providing the umbrella for 2016 is the theme of CHANGE. Be it physical, internal, external, social, political, emotional, irreverent, or psychological each short must have a strong sense of purpose, offering a concentrated story while delivering to a big picture suitable to generate public interest and media engagement.

Telling a compelling 3-minute story is a test of creativity, skill and ingenuity. Now it’s the turn of a new crop of filmmakers to be part of a movement that is transforming the way we make, tell and view documentary shorts in NZ.

“I was stunned, delighted, knocked out. More importantly, I was moved…here, in glorious hi-def. video, are fellow New Zealanders telling stories packed with emotion.” – Grant Smithies on Loading Docs 2015, Sunday Star Times, Aug 2015.

Funded by NZ On Air and with support from The New Zealand Film Commission, in 2016 LOADING DOCS will once again partner with TVNZ OnDemand, The New Zealand International Film Festival, Toybox and Sale Street Studios.

10 films will be selected with each receiving:

• Professional development opportunities including workshops on story and creative treatment, outreach and distribution strategies and will receive hands on support from LOADING DOCS executive producers, to ensure their short reaches the widest possible audience.
• $2,000 production funding, and an additional $2,000 matched funding to support a crowdfunding campaign (we’ll match each dollar your raise through crowdfunding up to $2,000).
• A colour grade and sound-mix from Toybox and Sale Street Studios. That a total budget of over $7,000 for each 3 minute documentary.
This is an opportunity for the best filmmaking voices in New Zealand take up the challenge and be part of this cutting edge short documentary initiative.

For more information about LOADING DOCS and to watch the documentaries produced for LOADING DOCS 2014 and 2015, visit www.loadingdocs.net.

Important dates
• Saturday 21st of November: Submission deadline.
• December 2015: Selection announced.
• 23 & 24 January 2016: 2 Day development, outreach and crowdfunding workshop.
• February 2016: Crowdfunding campaign (30 days).
• March 2016: Film production officially begins.
• July 2016: Films launch and are shared and promoted in New Zealand and all over the world.

10 Top Tips for Documentary Treatments: How to Make Your Submission Shine by Irene Gardiner

  1. Know exactly what your story is and be able to tell people what it is in one clear sentence. If you can’t sell it in a sentence it’s probably not a story, or you haven’t worked out what the story is yet.
  2. Once you have written your most hooky intro sentence, explain how your story unfolds in the most clear and logical way you can. If your documentary is in multiple parts, write a summary of what will be in each part.
  3. Who are the most important people in your story? Introduce them in a clear and inviting way. Include succinct bios of main talent, but not endless pages of culled articles presented in an unfocused manner.
  4. What is your documentary going to look like – explain your visual/audio treatment, that’s shooting style, editing style, and use of graphics and music.
  5. What is special about your documentary? Make sure you have really conveyed its essence and the heart of the story.
  6. Who are the key people working on your documentary, what is their background and what will they bring to this specific project?
  7. If you are working to a set budget, think about how you can achieve the result you want within those parameters. If you are preparing a budget, make sure you ask yourself a lot of questions about how realistic it is. Be careful not to over or under budget.
  8. Set your written submission document out clearly and tidily, and don’t include un-necessary information. Network Executives and Executive Producers are busy people with limited time to read. If you haven’t hooked them with your first page, another 100 pages won’t help you. As outlined in tips one to seven, start your proposal document with your most simple description of what your documentary is about, then explain that more fully, then outline who your main talent are, then explain your visual and audio treatment, then key production personnel and budget.
  9. If you’re no good at spelling and grammar, get someone who is to help you do your final draft. It does matter.
  10. If you are doing a verbal presentation as well, get to the point quickly and keep focused. Explain your concept clearly in your first sentence, and then work logically from there. Don’t waste busy people’s time by not cutting to the chase. Let your passion for your project shine out of you.

About Irene Gardiner

Irene-Gardiner-Key-Profile.jpgIrene Gardiner is a long-time television producer and executive producer, with a particular interest in documentary production. She is a former TVNZ Head of Commissioning and currently works part-time as the Content Director for the NZ On Screen website.  Gardiner also continues to work as a freelance executive producer, with recent credits including the six-part documentary series Keeping it Pure, and the music documentaries Dragon and Rock Chicks.  Gardiner is also a regular contributor to radio and television as a media commentator and television reviewer.

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.

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 Boosted.org.nz 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: www.loadingdocs.net/2014films ) 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 http://www.boosted.org.nz 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.

LOADING DOCS 2015: www.loadingdocs.net/2015films

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.”