The Power of Emotion



We are looking for bold, brave and contemporary New Zealand short documentaries to be made in 2022.

Give yourself the opportunity to join the next cohort of Loading Docs filmmakers and be part of an acclaimed short documentary initiative that has received more than 17 million views worldwide to date.

Loading Docs wants applications from storytellers that are brave, provocative and harness the power of emotion.

This opportunity is for Aotearoa filmmakers to tell powerful, insightful stories that examine who we are as New Zealanders, while pushing the boundaries of documentary-making.  It is also an opportunity for Māori filmmakers seeking to tell stories in te reo Māori.

Eight teams will be selected to make documentaries with durations of up to ten minutes and receive high level mentorship from internationally acclaimed documentary creators throughout the course of 2022.





The Loading Docs theme for 2022 is The Power of Emotion. Loading Docs Season 9 short documentaries will harness the power of emotion to tell urgent enthralling stories.

Each 2022 Loading Docs film should offer viewers a gripping narrative that in some way explores this overarching theme.

Your theme could be explored through your subject matter or character, or could also be the feeling you want your audience to walk away with at the end of your film. How can you creatively explore the power of emotion through your story? How will emotional tension drive the action in your film?




Loading Docs is looking for compelling stories about contemporary society or contemporary history that comment on our times.

Loading Docs films must have a contemporary hook, an engrossing story and shed light on a universal theme or issue. Why must this film be told now, in 2022?  What will this story tell us about who we are as New Zealanders? What are you ultimately trying to communicate to your audience?

Loading Docs films can be laugh-out-loud funny, unbelievably heart breaking and everything in between. Regardless of the approach, filmmakers need to be brave in subject matter and the story being told.

We are looking for stories that have not been seen on screen before or offer a new take on a known topic.  Audiences should be transported on powerful journeys with unique, memorable characters or influential public figures. Do you have unprecedented and unique access to your subjects? Can you provide insight into important moments in contemporary history? Do you have never-before-seen archival footage that sheds light on life in Aotearoa? Can you shine a light on a topic that needs attention?

Loading Docs stories engage from the very first frame, stories should have a clear audience and encourage the greatest possible public and media engagement.

Authenticity of the director’s voice is key. Consider your connection to the subject matter. Why are you the best person to tell this story? Story sovereignty and authentic representation of cultural stories should be grounded in lived experiences.

Filmmakers should be prepared to bravely interrogate the meaning of their stories in a reach for excellence. If a character portrait is presented, does your character have a journey with obstacles to overcome? Demonstrate how the characters’ story can evolve so it has as much to say about society as it does about personal experience.




Reflecting te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and Māori culture, by uplifting Māori voices, perspectives and stories, is an essential principle to the Loading Docs initiative.

Loading Docs is seeking to support at least one story with reo Māori as the primary language created by Māori filmmaker/s.

Should you wish to create a Māori language short, the submission will need to include a language strategy and a demonstration that an appropriate language expert or consultant is in place to support the project as part of your team. Please refer to Tē Māngai Pāho’s Māori Language Plan: https://www.tmp.govt.nz/en/documents/65/Maori_Language_Plan.pdf

As well as considering ‘what we are looking for’, the story should express aspects of Te Ao Māori and the world in general, in a unique way.


  • Production will start in May 2022 and all documentaries must be completed by 9 September 2022.
  • You will need to be available for a creative workshop 12/13 March 2022 in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Loading Docs is not suitable for student filmmakers.
  • Loading Docs will contribute a maximum contribution of $8,000 toward production funding. The contribution will be the same regardless of your film’s duration (of up to ten minutes long). Fees of at least $1,000 for Director, $1,000 for Producer and $2,000 for Editor must be included within the budget.
  • Each team will be required to run a crowdfunding campaign on Boosted to raise a minimum of $3,500.
  • A colour grade and sound-mix package will be provided by Loading Docs and delivered by Department of Post in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Professional development opportunities will be provided to all participants including story and creative documentary development, edit mentoring, outreach and distribution strategies, crowdfunding support and techniques, access to local and international experts, hands on support to develop new work and assistance to find suitable impact partners.
  • Loading Docs is currently reviewing its position regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for our filmmakers – Directors and Producers. We recognise that vaccination is the strongest form of protection against COVID-19 and with that in mind, we will require applicants to declare their vaccination status. This will be used for planning purposes and in order to best consider the policy for Loading Docs 2022.



  • Deadline for proposals midday, Friday 11 February 2022.
  • Successful applicants notified on 4 March 2022.
  • Loading Docs creative workshop 12/13 March 2022 in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Boosted crowdfunding campaign April/May 2022.
  • Production phase May – June 2022.
  • Picture Lock 12 August 2022.
    • Documentaries must be completed and ready for grade and mix at Department of Post in Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Films and associated publicity materials completed by 9 September 2022.
  • Loading Docs launch October 2022.



  • Enter into a contract to produce and deliver the film on schedule and in line with industry standards.
  • Loading Docs supports filmmakers from all spectrums of experience. The emphasis is on selecting those with a commitment to the craft of documentary. Selected participants may be new to documentary but have experience in the wider storytelling industries.
  • Applicants must demonstrate credible access to the proposed subject(s) and story. Written support is required and examples of your subject on video is an advantage.
  • Applicants must identify target audiences and communities of interest as well as committing to participate in a crowdfunding campaign, identify and work with impact partnerships as well as actively participate in the marketing and distribution of their work.
  • Loading Docs commitment is to support a diversity of treatments and filmmaking voices.
  • Successful applicants must be available to participate in the following:
    • A two-day creative workshop on the 12/13 March 2022.
    • A crowdfunding campaign in April/May 2022.
    • An editing workshop in July/August 2022.
    • A distribution workshop in September 2022.

All workshops held in Tāmaki Makaurau.

  • Successful applicants must commit to the production timeline detailed above; including full delivery of all materials by 9 September 2022.



Loading Docs is an initiative funded by NZ On Air, the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho and managed by production company Notable Pictures.

Over the eight years of operation, 73 documentary shorts have been created, achieving an audience of over 17 million views.

The primary distribution platform is Loadingdocs.net. Our films have also appeared on platforms such as the New Zealand Herald and NZME, Stuff/Play Stuff, Radio New Zealand, Māori Television, The Spinoff, TVNZ’s Sunday Programme, The New Yorker, the Guardian, Short of the Week, National Geographic and selected for prestigious festivals such as SXSW, DOC NYC, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and NZIFF.

The documentaries are free to embed and share via YouTube and Vimeo and are expected to achieve widespread domestic and international broadcast across online platforms, broadcast television and the big screen.

Loading Docs Producer Juliette Veber
021 705 790 [email protected] or [email protected]

Loading Docs is managed by Notable Pictures, funded by NZ On Air and made with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho