Taking the old saying "the show must go on" to heart, the people behind the annual Doc Edge Film Festival refused to let anything as catastrophic as a global pandemic shut them down. Instead, they took up the challenge and shifted the whole thing online.

Yes, this year Doc Edge is running as a "virtual festival," with its full line-up of acclaimed, cutting-edge documentaries available to be streamed. To really bring the festival vibe home Doc Edge have also planned screenings and Q&A sessions with the film-makers for you to participate in and connect with fellow doco-lovers around the country.

With more than 80 top-tier documentary movies to choose from - covering nearly every topic under the sun - narrowing your viewing to a manageable selection requires some tough calls. Let us make it a little easier by highlighting our top picks.

Of course, if you're feeling ambitious you could aways go nuts and pick up the very reasonably priced Doc Edge: Binge Pass, which grants access to every film in the festival for the full 24 days.

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Kicking off tomorrow you'll find the full line-up, and details of how it all works at festival.docedge.nz.

Our Top 5 Picks

Picture Character

Do you heart emojis? Are you DMs and txts filled with as many cutesy pictures as they are actual words? Have you ever wondered where they came from, how they came to be, where do they go next and why they exist at all? Then this doco on the humble, widespread emoji will enlighten you.



Who Let the Dogs Out?
It's a question that has plagued mankind since the Baha Men first posed it back in the year 2000. Tragically, who? who? who? did it remains unanswered. This deep dive to discover the truth instead unravels a seedy showbiz story, legal battles and nine people claiming to be the composer of the bloody awful smash hit tune.



Once You Know
If you're burying your head in the increasingly rubbish-strewn sand over climate change then spend a couple of hours watching documentary-maker Emmanuel Cappellin's environmental freak-out. Inspired by an apocalyptic sea crossing on a container ship, he sought out climate experts to learn how to stay hopeful in a world on the brink and best bring about change to try to save this rock we call home.

We Believe in Dinosaurs
In Kentucky a $120 million life-size replica of Noah's Ark is being built by fundamentalists to prove the Bible story about a man and his boat saving all the animals in the world by loading them up in pairs and weathering a devastating flood was a real thing that happened. Yes. Sound bonkers? It gets weirder - and scarier - from here.



Maddy the Model
This doco spent four years shadowing model Madeleine Stuart as she and her mother campaigned for inclusion in the high-end fashion world. Their hard work and dedication paid off in 2015 when Maddy took to the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, becoming the first model with Down syndrome to do so. A remarkable story that will ultimately warm your heart and make you look at the fashion world in a whole new light.

Scene from Maddy the Model
Scene from Maddy the Model