New documentary initiative Loading Docs takes short films a long way

Posted Monday 04 Nov 2013

Ground-breaking documentary film initiative Loading Docs, is calling out to filmmakers to submit proposals for documentaries that capture the theme of 'home' in just three short minutes. Conceived and managed by Notable Pictures and supported by The New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air, Loading Docs will fund, create and distribute 10 three-minute New Zealand documentaries.

The initiative has a strong focus on innovation and will explore sustainable career pathways for New Zealand filmmakers, using crowdfunding and online distribution to expand audiences for local documentaries and lift the international profile of filmmakers.

Filmmakers will have their own mini-site on the Loading Docs website, which will be an active community hub for filmmakers and documentary fans. A month-long campaign in February on local crowdfunding platform PledgeMe will aim not only to raise additional funding for filmmakers, but also to build an audience for each film.

WIFT members and producers Julia Parnell and Anna Jackson say the three-minute format has a lot to offer both filmmakers and audiences:

"Three minutes may seem short, but that constraint presents an exciting challenge for filmmakers to creatively focus on the heart of a story. For audiences three minutes hits a sweet spot for watchability and spreadability; it's easy to watch on a mobile device for example and then share on a social network," says Loading Docs producer Julia Parnell.

Documentary micro-shorts have proved to be a successful online format internationally with projects such as Focus Forward or Channel 4's 3 Minute Wonder attracting both audiences and critical attention.

The 10 films will be launched on the Loading Docs website in May 2014, syndicated on high profile media sites such as The New Zealand Herald and made freely available to view and share online, both locally and internationally.

As traditional film production and distribution models change, filmmakers need to take a more active role in outreach, marketing and distribution, and Loading Docs is an initiative that will support filmmakers to develop skills in these areas.  Loading Docs is targeted at experienced filmmakers who will benefit from the exposure generated by the project and a high calibre of submissions is anticipated.

The Loading Docs RFP is available at Proposals must be submitted via the Loading Docs website by 5pm, 25 November 2013.

Important dates

  • 25 November 2013: Submission deadline
  • December 2013: 10 filmmakers selected
  • Mid January 2014: 2 Day filmmaker workshop
  • February 2014: PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign
  • March 2014: Film production officially begins
  • May 2014: Films launch and are syndicated and promoted in New Zealand and all over the world.


Loading Docs is a groundbreaking initiative to fund, create and distribute 3-minute New Zealand documentary shorts based on the theme of 'home'. For more information visit

The producers

Julia Parnell is the company director of Notable Pictures and highly experienced documentary director and producer. In addition to producing and directing acclaimed television documentaries such as Restoring Hope and the series Both Worlds, Julia has produced a number of dramatic shorts including Friday Tigers, winner of the NZIFF Best New Zealand Short Film award.

Anna Jackson is a creative producer and academic researcher, currently completing a PhD on innovation and change in New Zealand's documentary production ecology. She has previously worked in public relations and film outreach. Anna is the founder of Transmedia NZ and is a passionate advocate for documentary innovation and transmedia storyteling.


Julia Parnell:, ph. 021 338 824

Anna Jackson:, ph. 021 237 4060

Notable Pictures. Ph. 09 973 5731