This year the festival has programmed 58 titles, drawn from c500 submissions. The programmes play Auckland and Wellington. Among the titles selected are eight NZ titles – five features and three shorts.
Wellingtonians also get a special fundraising screening on 4 June of Georgie Girl, Annie Goldson and Peter Wells’ 2001 portrait of Georgina Beyer with Goldson and Beyer in attendance.
Previous editions of the festival have seen a good number of new NZ voices emerge. This year, those newer voices are mostly represented among the shorts selected. There’s a distinctly family feel to much of the NZ feature selections.
This year, for the first time, the festival’s opening film is a NZ title: Peter Burger & Charlotte Purdy’s Erebus: Operation Overdue.
The film traverses ground familiar to older New Zealanders: the aftermath of that November 1979 day when over 250 people died on Flight 901 – subject matter that’s sadly topical given the recent loss of MH370.
Burger is well-known and well-awarded for his work across drama and documentary, much of it (other than Go Girls) exploring the relationships between truth and justice. In recent years he’s been nominated at the various flavours of NZ TV awards for Bloodlines, Until Proven Innocent and What Really Happened: Waitangi, winner Best Director for the latter and seeing Until Proven Innocent take a Best Drama gong.
Co-director Purdy is better known as a producer through her company Rogue Productions (20/20, 60 Minutes, Sunday) and Doc Edge Festival ambassador Kate Rodger’s Reel Late with Kate.
A second co-directed project, Helen, also comes from a pair of directors with previous Doc Edge form: Claudia Pond Eyley and Dan Salmon.
Back in 2010 Pond Eyley’s Kit and Maynie: Tea, Scones and Nuclear Disarmament (Co-directed with subsequent WIFT Director Susi Newborn) played the festival. Newborn and Pond-Eyley were nominated for the Best Director gong.
A year earlier, Salmon pitched Pictures of Susan at the Forum’s DOC Pitch event. In 2011, his Dirty Bloody Hippies screened in the festival. Most recently, Salmon producer on High School, the first title to emerge in TV3’s NZ On Air-supported documentary series The Story.
Helen is the “very Kiwi” story of a farm girl from the Waikato who became NZ’s first elected female Prime Minister and Number 3 at the United Nations.
13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird comes from Richard Riddiford, producer of the protrait of John Psathos View from Olympus, which screened in the 2012 Doc Edge Festival and won the festival`s Best Director gong for Geoffrey Cawthorn.
13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird noses around Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters and Victoria University Press with a bunch of award-winners including Bill Manhire, Elizabeth Knox, Ken Duncum and a pre-The Luminaries Eleanor Catton.
Neil Parker’s Australian drought-set dilml, Billy’s Christmas, screened in the 2007 Documentary festival.
Seven years on, he returns with No. 9, the quirky story of Gordon McIsaac and his passion for midget racing cars and speedway memorabilia.
Toby Ricketts’ Manila – No Limitations has a strong central theme of communicating through music. It’s something Ricketts is adept at given much of his work is a director of MVs. His CV includes work for Anna Coddington, Tahunaa Breaks and Fat Freddy’s Drop among others.
For trivia lovers, Ricketts also turned up briefly in Logan McMillan’s 2009 sniff of an oily rag-budget comedy-horror Last of the Living.
The local shorts selected are Bertie Plaatsman’s Close to Home, Norman Zafra’s A Friend In Sight and Jane Webber’s One Surfer.
In addition to the customary filmmaker Q&As at screenings, as noted in the programmes, Doc Edge is launching DOC Talks as part of the festival. These are a series of curated talks on filmmaking as well as on selected topics covered by the film programme.
Details of Doc Talks and Q&A Sessions will be announced on the Doc Edge website.
Festival programmes are now available and tickets are on sale.
The Doc Edge Festival runs 21 May – 2 June at Q Theatre, Queen Street, Auckland; 5 – 15 June at the Roxy, Miramar, Wellington.