Loading Docs is back for its 10th season, with DEGANZ members at the helm of half of the selected documentaries.

Through the development initiative, participants receive extensive guidance and mentorship, helping them to produce short documentaries with international appeal. The programme helps participants enhance their skills in story development, fundraising, documentary production and editing, audience engagement, and marketing and distribution.

Loading Docs provides each project with $10,000 and a post-production package at the Department of Post. In addition to this support, each team must raise $5,000 on Boosted to unlock further funding and support from the initiative.

This year’s theme is Attention – Te Kimihanga, Te Hahaunga. Check out the DEGANZ member’s projects below or see the full list of films here.

Hope in the Stars

Zoologist-turned-filmmaker, Alexis Smith, is on a quest for extraterrestrial contact in Aotearoa. She seeks answers on her personal quest for existential truth and hope for a world teetering on the edge. But what shadows will she encounter to get there?

Director: Alexis Smith

Producer: Harry Wynn


Hihi Ulu

Approaching his tenth birthday, Luka faces a Niuean rite of passage: his first haircut in a hifi ulu ceremony, marking a tender crossroad of culture and autonomy.

Director: Chantelle Burgoyne (Incubator 2018)


The Man Outside

Abandoned by the law, a woman’s flatmates struggle to protect her from a relentless stalker, forcing them all to become the protagonists in a real-life thriller.

Director: Liv McClymont


DEGANZ member Paula Whetu Jones‘ series Spinal Destination is out now, with editing by fellow member Julian Currin.

The dark comedy centres on Tessa Rivers whose busy life is upended by a mysterious illness, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. While seeking treatment at a spinal rehabilitation unit, she meets the eccentric residents and becomes determined to walk again by any means necessary.

Written and directed by Paula, the show is heavily inspired by her own paralysis experience. In an article she wrote for The Spinoff, she shares how the show stemmed from a diary she kept in the early days of her paralysis.

She says,

Spinal Destination aims to humanise people in chairs. It’s not that we are not human – often we are just not anything, totally invisible. My aim is to be visible, both on screen and off.

You can find Spinal Destination on Sky Go and Neon now!

DEGANZ member and 2017 Incubator alum, Catherine Bisley‘s short film Cetology is off to the Brazilian film festival Fantaspoa. The thriller will play in the Sessão de Curtas 07 (Short Session 07) program along with 13 other short films from across the globe.

The film takes its name from the study of whales, which recently discovered that orca pods work together to hunt blue whales. Cetology uses this hunt to explore contemporary human brutality at a corporate wellness retreat.

Fantaspoa is one of Latin America’s largest genre film festivals, featuring fantasy, science fiction, horror, and thriller. This year marks a record number of films, with 114 features and 123 shorts from 54 countries being shown. The festival hosts workshops, masterclasses, music sessions, and networking events and parties alongside the screenings.

Congratulations Catherine on the selection!

Mysterious Ways, edited by DEGANZ member Peter Roberts, is out now on TVNZ+!

The feature film centres on the relationship between a Vicar and his Samoan boyfriend. The lack of support from their religious and cultural communities is exasperated when a media storm kicks up around their engagement. The film unpacks taboos of queerness within the Anglican Church and Samoan culture, calling attention to the challenges that many members of the LGBTQIA+ community face when on their journeys of self-acceptance.

The film has been making the festival rounds over the past year and celebrated its Aotearoa premiere in August 2023. It has since collected several positive reviews and played in a prime-time TVNZ slot over the 2024 Easter holiday weekend.

If you missed it on TV, you can stream the film on TVNZ+.

E Blacks, directed by Ashley Pitman (DEGANZ) and produced by fellow members Rajneel Singh and Annamarie Connors (aka The Unkindness), is screening in the 2024 Auckland Independent Film Showcase.

The 17-minute documentary dives into the world of competitive gaming through the perspective of Sam ‘Fury’ Johnson. Sam regrets wasting time in university when he could have been focusing on his real passion: gaming. Now, he has an opportunity to redeem himself in the gaming world at the national championship. If he and his team win, they will have their shot to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Esports Championships.

E Blacks was funded and created through Loading Docs in 2022 and has since been available to watch on RNZ. It will also screen at the Bridgeway Cinema in Auckland along with four other short films and one feature in the showcase.

The Auckland Independent Film Showcase highlights works by local independent filmmakers. If you’re interested in a night of indie Kiwi films, tickets are available here!