Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, August 29th, 2017 - 5 comments
Categories: video - Tags: Digital Media Fund, diversity, documentary, Loading Docs, Maori, New Zealand on Air, Te Māngai Pāho, The New Zealand Film Commission
This year’s Loading Docs theme is ‘diversity’, which is probably not a bad thing to ponder in the run up to an election.
If you haven’t sampled a loading doc before, they’ve become an annual event. Local documentary filmmakers present ideas for three-minute films. Ten are selected and made under the supervision of the Loading Docs team. Each project must run its own crowdfunding campaign but it also receives matched funding. On completion, all the films are made available on the Loading Docs website for anyone to enjoy.
The results are as diverse and interesting as the subjects tackled, and it’s always surprising what can be held up for inspection in three minutes. From seniors singing about building their own coffins to Asian men talking about sex; from a Māori takatāpui meditating on the intersection of ethnicity and gender to a Chinese grandmother’s gentle observations of her life in New Zealand. One, entirely in te reo, explores a uniquely Māori view of a fall from grace and its recovery. Other films created portraits of a conservationist and his kea-locating dog, the real-estate-flavoured works of artist John Radford, spelunking, a poet’s reflections on his battle with a degenerative disease and rugby as a way to find community in Japan – the concept of diversity was obviously generously interpreted.
If you’re finding party-political announcements and the attendant media circus are losing their shine, Loading Docs offers something more subtle. Like a robust election, these slices of life demand engagement with issues and ideas, although without the usual campaign taglines and clichés. The fresh view each delivers certainly reminded me of what I want from a change in government – a New Zealand in which diversity in all its forms – ecological, cultural, ethnic, gendered, embodied, aged – has a real place.
I tried to pick a couple of personal favourites but it’s next to impossible. The Coffin Club is bold, East Meets East made me cry and Asian Men Talk About Sex is utterly charming, but every film has its own magic. If thestandard had a rating system I’d give the whole ensemble a solid 4/5 stars, and I look forward to hearing more about other people’s faves in the comments.