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Doc Edge 2021: 9 fearless films to watch

Doc Edge 2021: 9 fearless films to watch

Be inspired and thrilled by these fearless films playing at the 2021 Doc Edge Festival. 

Doc Edge 2021: 9 fearless films to watch

The Doc Edge Festival returns for its 16th annual event this June and July. Audiences across Aotearoa will be treated to a packed programme of over 80 feature length and short films, running over seven weeks in Auckland, Wellington and online nationwide.

Every year, Doc Edge showcases illuminating and brave human stories and this year is no different. In the ‘Fearless’ category you’ll find stories of political activists, environmental advocates, sporting heroes and every day people finding hope in hardship.

Discover these nine fearless films at the 2021 Doc Edge Festival:

The Boys who said No!

Online only

In 2020, activist voices were in the spotlight as movements like Black Lives Matter and the Hong Kong protest demanded attention from people around the world. Directed and produced by Judith Ehrlich The Boys who said No! tells a different story of protest, but one that is a vital example for today’s social justice movements.

The documentary recounts the stories, moments and unheard voices in the Vietnam War era. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Judith Ehrlich draws on interviews with nonviolent activists who risked arrest and imprisonment to oppose the military draft, eventually forcing an end to the war.

Watch the trailer here.

Freeman

Online only

Combining archival footage with intimate conversations, Freeman gives viewers a remarkable look at the life and career of one of Australia’s sporting legends, Cathy Freeman.

Following the lead up to her historic win at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and touching on the struggle for equality for Australia’s Indigenous communities, the film which is directed by Laurence Billiet and Stephen Page explores the legacy of Freeman’s achievements twenty years on.

Watch the trailer here.

High Tide Don’t Hide

Online, theatre – world premiere

High Tide Don’t Hide shines a light on the young New Zealand activists leading the fight for climate action, directed and produced by Niva Kay, Emily McDowell, Nia Phipps, Phil Stebbing.

Heartfelt and with a grassroots spirit, the film follows 15-year-old Thames locals Helen and Lillian demanding local government action and School Strike for Climate national coordinator Sophie as she organises her biggest protest yet. Meanwhile, young Māori leader, 17-year-old Luke is pushing for nonviolent direct action, and 16-year-old NZ-Samoan poet Aigagaleifili fights for acknowledgement on the devastating climate impact for Pacific nations. 

Live Q+A with filmmakers in-theatre.

Watch the trailer here.

Laura’s Choice

Online, theatre

A joyous and frank look at one of the most significant human struggles, Laura’s Choice follows 86-year-old Laura Henkel as announces her choice to be in control of the time and place of the end of her life, despite having no terminal illness.

Per Laura’s request, daughter and granddaughter Cathy and Sam film her journey as she goes to a Swiss clinic to end her life, capturing her final moments and opening up a broader conversation on the question, ‘who gets to decide when we die?’

The film is directed by Sam Lara and Cathy Henkel.

Live Q+A with filmmakers in-theatre.

Watch the trailer here.

Playing with Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story

Theatre only

A fearless marine maverick whose passion for sharks knows no bounds, Valerie Taylor is a legend in the underwater world.

Directed by Sally Aitken, this documentary tells the fascinating transformative story of this underwater pioneer, from her life as a shark hunter in the 1950s, to becoming a passionate shark and marine conservationist. It’s a stranger than fiction story that will challenge you to change the way you view sharks.

More information here.

The Sea Decides

Online, theatre – world premiere

Join Grant Rawlinson as he embarks on a gruelling 12,000 km journey, voyaging across the ocean from Singapore to Australia, cycling across Australia and finally over the Tasman to New Zealand.

Witness Rawlinson battle extreme weather and an immense physical toll in this heart-racing documentary. Directed by Alistair Harding, The Sea Decides is “an inspirational story of the Kiwi ‘can-do’ attitude at its extreme,” says Doc Edge Director Alex Lee.

Live Q+A with filmmaker in-theatre.

Watch the trailer here.

Workhorse Queen

Online, theatre

Go behind the curtain and enter the glam and glitzy world of drag, with Rupaul’s Drag Race star Ed Popil, AKA Mrs Kasha Davis. Watch Popil navigate the highs and lows in the pursuit of fame, while examining the complexities of mainstream television’s impact on queer performance culture.

Torn between the desire for Hollywood fame and love for their Rochester community, the drag star discovers a surprising new audience at home, becoming an important queer role model for children growing up.

Workhorse Queen is directed and produced by Angela Washko.

Watch the trailer here.

Wuhan Wuhan

Online, theatre

In early 2020, China’s Wuhan made headlines as the city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Directed by Yung Chang and produced by film star Donnie Yen, Wuhan Wuhan shares the heart-wrenching human stories behind the statistics, gaining unprecedented access to reveal the people joining together to overcome a crisis.

Watch the trailer here.

You Are Not a Soldier

Online only

Director Maria Carolina Telles embarks on a character study of award-winning war photographer André Liohn, while she herself comes to grips with the death of her father.

Exploring fatherhood, survival, life and death, Telles observes a photojournalist who lived in war-torn and bomb-wrecked cities, balanced tenderly with the softer side of fatherhood, all while reflecting on her own experiences as a child of a soldier.

Filmmaker Aleksei Abib directs the film with Telles.

Watch the trailer here.

The 2021 Doc Edge Festival runs in theatres in Auckland from 3 – 13 June, Wellington from 17 – 27 June and online from 4 June to 11 July. To see the full festival programme and to book your tickets, visit docedge.nz.

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