3 Mar 2015

Loading Docs: Weird and wonderful stories told in three minutes

10:47 am on 3 March 2015

Ten film projects are promising to tell great stories, but they need a little help first.


A screen shot from the promo video for Fantasy Cave, a Loading Docs documentary that seeks to go behind the scenes of a curious tourist attraction in Dannevirke.

A screen shot from the promo video for Fantasy Cave, a Loading Docs documentary that seeks to go behind the scenes of a curious tourist attraction in Dannevirke. Photo: Unknown

Tucked away in a small rural town in the North Island is an unlikely tourist attraction known as Fantasy Cave. Full of odd objects and handmade crafts, the Dannevirke wonderland is the topic of a three-minute documentary two filmmakers are hoping to create.

The doco is the brainchild of Wellington’s Michelle Savill and Matt Henley who say Fantasy Cave is “New Zealand's answer to Disneyland”, but before they can make it, they need your money.

The project is one of ten selected to be part of this year’s Loading Docs, an initiative that funds, promotes, and supports locally-made documentary shorts.

By most standards, three minutes isn’t a very long time – enough to toast some bread or maybe iron a shirt - but the organisers of Loading Docs says it’s an online sweet spot, the right amount of time to watch and share short films.

Last year when the project launched, ten films were successfully funded and made. All together they clocked about 300,000 views from around the globe.

This year Loading Docs who will contribute $4000 towards the production of the docos, with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air. However, before the documentary-markers can get their hands on the money, they’ll need to raise $2000 for their films through crowdfunding.

Loading Docs executive producer Anna Jackson says the $2000 is very reachable and enough to make the meaningful difference to the films.

“It’s also an exercise in audience-building,” she says. “Part of the professional development process is getting the filmmakers to start thinking about their film’s audience long before the documentary is actually made.” 

The finished films, due July, will be freely available to view and share online. “We really want to whet audience’s appetite for documentaries and give people a chance to see films they might not usually see,” says Anna.

“Last year we found people sat down to watch one doco, but before they knew it they’d watched all ten.”

Fantasy Cave has already raised over $500 since launching the crowdfunding campaign yesterday.

Co-director Michelle Savill is confident they can raise the $2000 needed. “It’s totally achievable and I think people will want to see our idea made into a film.”

She says it’s not just getting funds that pose a challenge; it’s getting people to watch the film once it’s made.

“It’s all very well to make something and put it up on your YouTube channel but unless you’re already famous, it’s not going to get many views,” she says.

“It’s so great to be part of Loading Docs because the really push the films which is ultimately want you want as a filmmaker. They’ve created this platform so that our movies are seen and we’re supported in making them.”

All ten films are up on Boosted, an arts funding website where anyone can read about the films and contribute towards their favourites. The fundraising campaigns will run for a month, closing April 1st.