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The world’s finest film makers tell it like it is!

The Documentary New Zealand Trust presents

The power and presence that belongs to the genre that is the documentary film returns to NZ for the 13th Documentary Edge International Film Festival (Doc Edge). The festival, which programmes over 50 stunning films and attracts a bevy of international film makers to our shores, launches at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema from 9th - 20th May before heading to Auckland’s Q Theatre from 23rd May– 4th June.

Truly diverse, Doc Edge’s 2018 selection of films showcases docos from all over the globe, covering everything from pop culture to politics to our very own Pacific. With something programmed for all tastes here’s a sample of what’s on offer this year with the first five films of the rank:

Leitis In Waiting, Golden Dawn Girls, George Michael: Freedom: The Director’s Cut, Genesis 2.0, A Murder in Mansfield and Anote’s Ark

Leitis In Waiting is an inspiring insight into queer lives in the Pacific. The film follows the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga Leitis, an intrepid group of Tongan transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism in the Kingdom of Tonga. Joey organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, mentors a young leiti rejected by her family, and spars with American-style evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize their lives. Directed by Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu(USA) Leitis In Waiting was honed at Doc Pitch (an event at Doc Edge’s annual Screen Edge Forum).

Family is a controversial but comforting institution in Golden Dawn Girls, Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Bustnes’ profile of the women in the life of an imprisoned leader of Greek far-right party Golden Dawn. A daughter, a wife and a mother continue to propagate his message. While they regularly stop the interview to make sure it went as they want, Bustnes just leaves the camera running. The result leaves no room for doubt about the mission of this political party, revealing an ever-widening gulf between clear facts and political image-making.

George Michael: Freedom: The Director’s Cut is a deeply autobiographical, feature documentary co-directed and narrated by the late GRAMMY winner. George Michael takes us through his musical life, his struggles with his public life and looks honestly and openly into his very private life. This expanded cut includes unseen personal footage, George honestly discussing his arrest in L.A., an extended live duet with Stevie Wonder, and more stories and footage surrounding the making of the Patience and Older albums. Musical superstars interviewed and presented with a personalised vinyl record include Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, and a rhapsodising Liam Gallagher who proclaims George Michael as a “modern day Elvis”.

Academy award winning US director Barbara Kopple’s (Miss Sharon Jones! American Dream,Shut Up and Sing and Harlan County, USA) new film A Murder in Mansfield tracks an incredibly troubled personal history. At only twelve years old, Collier Landry stepped onto the witness stand in 1990 during the most explosive murder trial in the history of his Ohio hometown. Twenty-six years later, Collier confronts the father that he witnessed kill his mother.

The search for woolly mammoth DNA ripe for cloning is the focus of Genesis 2.0, directed by Maxim Arbugaev (Russia) and Academy Award nominee Christian Frei (Switzerland). The hunt for this white gold at the remotest edge of Siberia reveals a scenario of the future that may well turn our world upside down. Genesis 2.0 is not limited to the Arctic. Frei also brings viewers to the quirky Russian museum where a life-size mammoth figurine is carefully being vacuumed for visitors; the halls of a Synthetic Biology science conference in Boston where eager students work on genetic hybrids that just might save the world; China’s National GeneBank, operated by the Beijing Genomics Institute, where genes are sequenced and “life becomes big data”; and the corporate campus of Sooam Biotech in South Korea, where scientists—who have already cloned hundreds of pets—take new life into their own hands. Genesis 2.0 has received rave reviews following its premiere at Sundance International Film Festival 2018.

In an important film about climate change and the struggle of a low lying Pacific island, Anote’s Ark, Kiribati President Anote Tong races to find a way to protect his people and culture against the rising tide that is quickly covering their island nation. Set against the backdrop of international climate and human rights negotiations, Anote’s struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Tiemeri, a young mother of six, who fights to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake is the survival of Tiemeri’s family, the Kiribati people, and 4,000 years of Kiribati culture. Directed by celebrated Swiss-Canadian photographer Matthieu Rytz, this film debuted at Sundance International Film Festival 2018.

“Kiribati is in the centre of the world. It’s right there bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So far away, so isolated. We thought it would be immune from the tribulations of this world.” – Anote Tong

9-20 May 2018 - Doc Edge Festival: Wellington – The Roxy Cinema, Miramar
23 May - 4 June 2018 - Doc Edge Festival: Auckland – Q Theatre, Auckland CBD
18 May 2018 - Screen Edge Forum: Wellington – Park Road Post, Miramar
26 May 2018 - Screen Edge Forum: Auckland – University of Auckland CBD

For more information and to keep up to speed with the 2018 season as more events are added, visit:

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