Season 8. Out now.

Loading Docs: Tūmanako / Hope


In another unpredictable year of social and political adversity, Loading Docs’ new collection of eight short documentaries provide hopeful viewpoints from the lands and seas of Aotearoa. From laughter and to tears, the Tūmanako/Hope collection will bring audiences together amidst the most divisive and isolating period of our generation.

From an emotional story about a life-challenging decision in ‘Fifty Percent’, asking how you would live if you had a 50% chance of death? To approaching cultural appropriation with humour in ‘HAKA haha’. And on to one man risking his freedom in ‘The Scam’ taking us on a wild true-crime tale.


The ScamThe ultimate scam lures an elderly beekeeper around the world in this wild true-crime tale.

When Nobody Was Looking – An entomologist takes on the 1970s New Zealand Government uncovering institutional racism and child abuse.

Fifty PercentWith a 50% chance of inheriting a fatal disease, is it better to know your future or live in the moment?

Night RideWhen a mother of ten returns nightly to the old family home to feed stray cats, her son questions its connection to the death of his brother.

Wind Song and RainHone Tuwhare, New Zealand’s most famous Māori poet, leaves a legacy to the granddaughter he left behind. To reconnect, she writes a love letter to the world.

The WeedfishThe hunt for an elusive fish in New Zealand’s disappearing kelp forests sends two marine scientists on a deep underwater dive.

Only HumanA social media fight over sexism is the last straw for the liberal daughter of a chauvinistic father.

HAKA hahaThere’s cultural appropriation in the air as kaka haka are debated by the people of Aotearoa. 

Loading Docs is a Notable Pictures initiative with support from NZ On Air, alongside the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.

Download full press release here

5 Reasons to Donate

Loading Docs invites audiences to get behind the crowdfunding stage by supporting the creation of important Aotearoa stories. Here are 5 reasons why you should donate:

  1. Back the arts: We’re crowdfunding on Boosted, the home of creative crowdfunding. They’re Aotearoa’s only platform dedicated to getting homegrown art off the ground. So by supporting one of our Loading Docs projects, you’re supporting the whole initiative and documentary-making in New Zealand.

  2. Be part of the project: To donate is to say “I helped make this documentary!” Without your donation, big or small, our projects can’t get made. The more they raise the better chance they have of making an amazing short film. You can keep up with the entire production from start to finish on our social channels.

  3. Giving back: Most of our filmmakers are emerging filmmakers and will use Loading Docs as a launchpad to a long career in film. Help create the next generation of filmmakers.

  4. Loading Docs are FREE: When our collection of eight new short documentaries are created, they will be available for FREE on! Some people donate the price of a cinema ticket or Netflix subscription and watch for free later in the year.

  5. All-or-nothing: If the teams don’t reach their crowdfunding goal their project won’t get made! Your donations are tax deductable.


2021 Announcement


Press Release: Loading Docs announce their season 8 projects

2021 brings a new season by the award-winning Loading Docs initiative. Starting with crowdfunding campaigns, Loading Docs announces eight new short documentaries by eight filmmaking teams.

Brought together under the theme of Tūmanako/Hope, Loading Docs invites audiences to get behind the crowdfunding stage by supporting the creation of important Aotearoa stories. In a time of upheaval, filmmakers have opted to make documentary projects with themes that are personal to them.

But first, the filmmakers must raise $3,500 on homegrown website to unlock further funding from Loading Docs. It’s an all or nothing campaign running from today until April 15th. If filmmakers don’t raise the funds, the documentary won’t get made. To find out more visit:

In eight-minutes-or-less shorts, this year’s films cover stories of mortality, to the fight for racial justice, unique access to Waikato Mongrel Mob’s president and an underwater battle to protect a native fish.


The Scam – An international scam sends a small-town pensioner around the world and towards a life behind bars.

Night Ride – Why does a mother-of-ten still return to the old family house every night to feed stray cats?

Fifty Percent – With a 50% chance of inheriting a fatal disease, is it better to know your future or live in the moment?

The Old Place – A young wāhine Māori reconnects with her late Koro, Hone Tuwhare, through their shared gift of poetry.
When Nobody Was Looking – A Pākehā entomologist takes on the 1970s New Zealand government, calling out institutional racism.

Only Human – An animated short film that asks the question: Is it possible to break up with your family?

Kingdom – In prison, a Mongrel Mob president has an epiphany; he must redefine gang culture.

The Crested Weedfish – Marine scientists embark on an underwater adventure to save a rarely-seen fish in its severely threatened home.

Leading the Tūmanako theme is co-founder and Loading Docs’ executive producer Julia Parnell, sharing her experience as director of noteworthy documentaries SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out, The Chills Film and Anthems: New Zealand’s Iconic Hits.

Parnell says, “With the documentary scene thriving in Aoteroa, we’re excited to launch another year of what will become unforgettable short docs. This season will provide entertainingly hopeful stories that tell us more about humanity.”

Taking part in Loading Docs sees filmmakers partially funded to create their short, alongside participating in a talent development programme that challenges them to expand their skills and knowledge in story development, connecting with audiences and increasing their understanding of documentary production.

The completed short documentaries will be available on later this year.

Loading Docs is funded by NZ On Air and made with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.

Loading Docs call-out


2021 brings a new year of hope and a new season of Loading Docs! Whilst carefully selecting eight successful projects to make up the Tūmanako/Hope collection, the team begin the search for the right crew to support the creation of the short documentaries.

Loading Docs are looking for producers, production managers and editors to work on this year’s projects. If you are interested in being part of the award-winning initiative and have what it takes to support filmmakers to make a great short film, get in touch now!

Please email a CV and short introduction of why you’re ready for the task to [email protected]. We will be in touch shortly.

5 Reasons to Submit

Loading Docs will return for 2021 with the 8th season of the award-winning short documentary initiative. Filmmakers around Aotearoa are submitting ideas now for 8-minute documentaries under the theme of Tūmanako/Hope. So, why should you submit to Loading Docs?


1. Get Your Work Seen

Almost 15 million people around the world have watched a Loading Docs short. They’ve been seen on television, at cinemas, film festivals, on public outdoor screens and even onboard Air NZ flights. These little films get huge exposure on an international level.

2. Platforms & Film Festivals

The New Yorker, The Guardian, Short of the Week and National Geographic are just some of the platforms our shorts have been shown on. Loading Docs also get submitted to film festivals large and small. They have screened everywhere from DOC NYC to SXSW. Sheffield Doc/Fest, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts, New Zealand International Film Festival and more.

3. Professional Development

Offering a unique professional development opportunity, the selected filmmakers will receive high-level mentorship from co-founder Julia Parnell, (Director of the SIX60 Movie, The Chills Film, Anthems), Juliette Veber (Trouble is my Business, Conversations with Teen Mums) and acclaimed international filmmakers throughout our 2021 workshops.

4. Feature Films

Loading Docs can be a stepping stone to feature films, with Loading Docs alumni having gone on to direct and produce films including She Shears. One Loading Docs short went on to become a full-feature, Wilbur Force became Wilbur: The King In The Ring.

5. The Experience

New and experienced filmmakers come together and experience the entire journey together, from the initial crowdfunding stage, right through production and post-production, coming together for a celebratory night at the Loading Docs premiere in an Auckland cinema.

Want to find out more about how to submit? Click here.

Submission deadline December 14th



Loading Docs 2021




Are you interested in making a Loading Docs documentary? Now is the time to start researching ideas for a short film of up to eight minutes.

‘Tūmanako/Hope’ has been chosen as the theme. Creators are asked to seek out contemporary stories that will surprise and inspire. Ideas that transport audiences on powerful and emotional journeys. People who incite understanding, progression and social change.

Loading Docs wants to see ideas that take a myriad of approaches on the documentary form, from comedy to investigation to impact documentaries.

Crucially we are looking for stories that embrace contrast and conflict to dig deep into the truth of character and plot – whether that means confronting fears, asking hard questions of subjects or pushing the limits of the documentary genre.

With the full request for proposals imminent, Loading Docs is looking for expressions of interest from committed storytellers to participate in Loading Docs 2021. The team is ready and open to take calls and conversations to help teams move towards submission.

See the 2020 collection for inspiration.

Please email your interest to [email protected] with the subject heading ‘I want to make a Loading Docs’ and tell us why you want to be involved.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is a chance for us to collectively think about our mental health and increase the conversation in the mainstream. Loading Docs have produced documentaries tackling issues and telling personal stories on the subject.

The Barter Barber

After losing four friends to suicide, crisis-trained barber Sam Dowdall embarks on a road trip to change the current landscape of men’s mental health.

Madness Made Me

Down the end of the long polished corridor, Mary O’Hagan comes face to face with the condemning words written about her in her psychiatric files.

OK Chlöe

Millennial MP, Chlöe Swarbrick, challenges the establishment during the most important year of her political career.

Wahine Warrior

After a brush with death, she was reborn a warrior. Using hunting as therapy, she must overcome her past to lead a self-sustained sisterhood.




Loading Docs is proud to announce Te Wao Nui has been selected for the 21st imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content.

Find out more.

Kauri are dying. A traditional Māori healer has one last chance to save an entire forest, one tree at a time.

A devastating disease threatens to destroy Aotearoa’s last remaining Kauri trees. Standing in the way of losing these prehistoric giants forever is a Māori healer. Tohe Ashby is looking for answers held within the ancient knowledge of the first nations of Aotearoa – mātauranga Māori. Discover the roots of indigenous medicine in a final bid to save the last of these great trees. E ara! Ka tangi te Kauri.

Ringatohu/Kaitohu: Ngāriki Ngatae

Kaihautū: Karen Sidney

Māori Language Week

Kia ora! Welcome to Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. Loading Docs create one short documentary every season in full Te Reo. As part of Māori Language Week, watch our Te Reo documentaries and discover important Māori stories from the heart of Aotearoa.

Te Wao Nui

This year we present the incredible ‘Te Wao Nui’, directed by Ngāriki Ngatae and produced by Karen Sidney, selected for the world’s largest indigenous film festival, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts. Kauri are dying. A traditional Māori healer has one last chance to save an entire forest, one tree at a time.

He Hekenga Tūhura

Allan George, Justin Scott and Moehau Hodges-Tai filmed Sir Hector Busby in his final interview. Just weeks before his passing, Sir Hector Busby discusses a legacy of celestial navigation and waka carving, considering who will carry the knowledge into the future.

John the Baptist

A story about our beautiful language, created by Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters and Piata Gardiner-Hoskins. At the beginning of the 19th century, te reo Māori was the most commonly spoken language in Aotearoa. It is now considered one of the world’s most endangered languages. An Englishman travels to New Zealand to learn Māori so he can spread God’s love in te reo.

Kotuku Rerenga Rua

Tim Worrall and Aaron Smart present an inspiring Māori story with kaha and kiko. A larger-than-life Māori academic is returned to the land of the living by the power of love and the strength of his culture.

Loading Docs te reo Māori documentaries were been made possible with the support of Te Māngai Pāho.

Season 7 Out Now


Season 7. Out Now.

Loading Docs returned today with a brand-new collection of eight short documentaries, each taking on the turbulent year of 2020 in their own way.

In this unprecedented year of political, cultural and social upheaval, Loading Docs new collection of short documentaries capture unique viewpoints on contemporary history, inviting audiences to see this year’s events from a new perspective. An emotional spectrum of stories await.

Featuring high-profile responses to the pandemic, racism and politics, subjects include Chlöe Swarbrick, Guled Mire, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles and a very special Olympic hopeful Chunli Li, chasing her one last shot at gold.

Alongside well known faces, viewers can expect the unexpected with stories on the fight to save the majestic Kauri, a self-deprecating 40-year-old on a mission to finally ditch her period cringe, wahine hunters determined to lead a self-sustained sisterhood and courageous filmmaking when a director takes to the sky to understand her Uncle’s death.

WATCH NOW: Click here

OK Chlöe – Millennial MP, Chlöe Swarbrick, challenges the establishment during the most important year of her political career.

Going Home – To celebrate the adventurous life of her late Uncle Clive, she takes a leap of faith and learns to fly.

One Year On – A year after the Christchurch Mosque terror attack, a voice for the Muslim and refugee community asks himself what more he can do.

Table for One – Against all odds, an ageing table tennis icon sacrifices it all for one last shot at Olympic greatness.

Te Wao Nui – Kauri are dying. A traditional Māori healer has one last chance to save an entire forest, one tree at a time.

About Bloody Time – A self-deprecating 40-year-old on a mission to finally ditch her period cringe.

Wahine Warrior – After a brush with death, she was reborn a warrior. Using hunting as therapy, she must overcome her past to lead a self-sustained sisterhood.

Siouxsie & the Virus – A science superhero with pink hair wages war on COVID-19 to convince an entire nation to lockdown.

Funded by NZ On Air and made with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho.