The story of Loading Docs began in 2010. Julia Parnell was a documentary producer striking out on her own with a new company called Notable Pictures, seeking new opportunities to make creative documentaries, inspired by the possibilities online.
I had just started my PhD in Melbourne, where I was exploring multi-platform and trans-media documentary production. Here in New Zealand we seemed very far behind, slow to embrace the opportunities of online content.
Julia and I were introduced, and together found a shared vision for a platform for New Zealand documentaries that would give film-makers an opportunity to take creative risks, to push beyond the boundaries of TV formats and to explore the possibilities of online distribution.
Fast forward to 2014 and we're finally launching 10 three-minute documentaries made by a group of incredibly talented and passionate film-makers.
Four years seems like a long time to take to make three-minute films. Three minutes is not long by most people's standards. It's long enough to make a cup of coffee or soft-boil an egg.
But online, three minutes can seem like forever; enough time to scroll through Facebook updates, scan tweets or flip through Instagram and overload on information. Online, three minutes is a long time to spend on a website without scrolling or clicking.
That's why we decided that three minutes is the perfect length for an online documentary that viewers would stop, watch and share.
It was important to us that as many people as possible see the films, not just in New Zealand, but all over the world.
Every minute of these films represents not just hours of work by the film-makers, but weeks and months. Some films have been sitting on the ideas shelf for years, waiting for the time and opportunity to be made. The reward for this effort will not be monetary, but will benefit film-makers in other ways, by building their audiences and enhancing their reputations.
Our hope is that each film sends a little message into the world that conveys the talent of the film-makers and speaks of their skill in crafting a story within a challenging medium.
In a world that increasingly demands short-form content and is hungry for stories, we believe this skill will prove to be highly valuable.
More broadly, and perhaps even more importantly, each film says something unique and wonderful about who we are as people and as a place. And yet these are universal stories that will touch even those who have never heard of New Zealand.
Three minutes is not a long time, but we believe these films show that it is just long enough to show a moment of human truth, to offer perspectives that may be different to our own, and to make us feel and think. This is the work of good documentary, regardless of length. We hope every viewer who takes a few minutes to watch these films will wholeheartedly agree, and want to share them with the world as much as we do.
Anna Jackson and Julia Parnell co-produce Loading Docs, a Notable Pictures initiative with the support of NZ On Air's Ignite Digital Fund and the NZ Film Commission.