August 14, 2017 Loading Docs

Loading Docs: Diverse crop of 2017 Kiwi short-films debut-

Loading Docs: Diverse crop of 2017 Kiwi short-films debut


 Michael Weatherall’s Loading Docs entry Ajax The Kea Conservation Dog also screened as
part of the New Zealand International Film Festival.

A poet reflects on his losing battle with a degenerative bone disease.

Two men attempt to find a new entrance to one of New Zealand’s most spectacular caves.

A group of over-60s get together to personalise their own coffins.

These are just some of the diverse topics covered in the 10 short documentaries selected by the Loading Docs platform for 2017.

Now in its fourth year, the initiative aims to showcase Kiwi film-makers, challenging them to shed light on our country’s people and places – in just three-minutes.

The Coffin Club are a group of rebellious, creative Kiwi seniors give death the finger, one crazy coffin
at a time, as documentarian Briar March discovered.

Project manager Nia Phipps says the quality of the submissions was getting higher and higher every year. With this year’s selected topic being diversity, she was delighted that amongst those selected from around 60 applications there were stories from Euro-Chinese, American, Chinese and Euro-Samoan directors, as well as one documentary fully and one-partially in Te Reo. The final 10 were also created by six female directors and six female producers.

“We really wanted to represent many New Zealand voices in this collection, so we did extra outreach this year into the Maori, Pasifika, Asian and gay communities,” Phipps says.

Four of the shorts also featured in the Auckland leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival.

When asked if she thought Kiwis were becoming more attuned to viewing short films, Phipps believed it was a reflection of the way we consume media now.

“We like to relax at home or consume things on the go and a short piece of media that’s well-formed and carefully concentrates on story can still give you a lot in a short time. The best ones take you on a journey – make you laugh, make you cry, stir something – even just in three-minutes.”

Phipps says as well as providing exposure for young film-makers, the NZ On Air-funded Loading Docs also provides professional development for them. She cites J Ollie Lucks, who created the 2015 Loading Docs short Wilber Force, as an example, with the German-born, Dunedin-raised director having recently turned that into the feature-length Wilber: The King in the Ring with the help of Notable Pictures, the group behind the Loading Docs initiative.

But after focusing on home, connection, change and now diversity, what topic does Loading Docs have up its sleeve for 2018?

“Nothing’s certain yet,” says Phipps. “We always like to think about films that will have an impact on the world. We’ll see what comes out of our planning sessions in the next few weeks.”

The 2017 Loading Docs are now available to view at and on


 – Stuff