Loading Docs film website tells the stories of New Zealand

By Kaori Shoji

For a Japanese national, the question of why a person from the West would come to Japan is a fascinating one, so much so that there’s even a TV show about it: “You wa Nani Shi ni Nihon E?” (“Why Did You Come to Japan?”).

For Jared James the answer is, eventually, that the people he met made Japan “feel like home.”

 The New Zealander is profiled in the short documentary “Union,” currently streaming on the website Loading Docs. Directed by Jericho Rock-Archer, the piece dives into the foreignness of Japan, without judgment, as seen through James’ eyes. He moves to Shizuoka in an attempt to reinvent himself and falls into a bit of a rut before finding salvation in rugby, which helps him join a community. The general beats of the documentary are no doubt a familiar tale to many non-Japanese living here currently.

“Union” is meticulously shot and covers a lot of ground in its three-minute running time. It’s also just short enough to get sucked into the many other documentaries posted on Loading Docs, which was launched in 2014 to promote novice New Zealand filmmakers. Among some of the other works on the site are “East Meets East,” which follows elderly Chinese in Auckland, and “Asian Men Talk About Sex,” which features a candid discussion about stereotypes.


Japanese Winemaker Reflects on Life and Disaster in this Succinct New Zealand Documentary

logo-japan-timesToday’s documentarians may dream of making epic Frederick Wiseman-style films, but online audiences aren’t usually so patient. Three hours? You’ll be lucky to hold someone’s attention for three minutes.

That’s the time limit for the documentaries featured in Loading Docs, an annual project that provides funding and support to New Zealand filmmakers. The project offers a cash injection of 4,000 New Zealand dollars plus post-production support to budding documentary makers, on the condition that they raise NZ$2,000 first via the crowdfunding website Boosted. One of the 10 films selected this year managed to exceed this goal by a significant margin. Amber Easby and Henry Oliver raised more than NZ$7,000 to support “Kusuda,” their documentary about a Japanese winemaker who runs a vineyard in New Zealand.  Read more