From pregnant men to robot directors, these DocEdge films sound ridiculously good

We’ve read the entire schedule and handpicked eight films from this year’s DocEdge that sound ridiculously good.

A robot filmmaker, a man giving birth, the chest-bursting sci-fi formerly known as Memory… these are all non-fiction stories playing at this year’s DocEdge festival (Auckland, 30 May – 9 June & Wellington, 13 June – 23 June).

Central to the Soul

Director Bill Morris uses the connections between art and community to draw this biopic of Central Otago. Music, acting, chainsaw-juggling… it all plays a part to community well-being as well as the region’s collective goals towards social, economic and environmental change. It brings to mind filmmaker Peter Young’s The Art of Recovery, which explored the strength in tying culture and creativity together in post-quake Christchurch.

Auckland | Q Theatre | Fri 7 June, 6:45 PM & Sun 9 June, 10:15 AM

Wellington | The Roxy | Mon 17 June, 8:00 PM & Sun 23 June, 10:15 AM

Get tickets to Central to the Soul

Half the Picture

Why is it that, just last year, the proportion of Hollywood blockbusters  directed by women was still only 8%? And how do we change this? These are simple question that Amy Adrion’s documentary seeks to answer thoroughly with interviews from heavy-hitting filmmakers like Ava DuVernay (Selma), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer), Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), and Brenda Chapman (Pixar’s Brave).

Auckland | Q Theatre | Tue 4 June, 6:45 PM & Fri 7 June, 4:45 PM

Auckland | Auckland Art Gallery | Sun 9 June, 2:30 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Tue 18 June, 6:15 PM & Fri 21 June 6:45 PM

Get tickets to Half the Picture

Memory: The Origins of Alien

The director of previous DocEdge fave Doc of the Dead explores the creation of Ridley Scott’s Alien, which turns 40 very soon. Named after the first draft’s working title, Memory dives deep into the many elements that created a cinema masterpiece as well as the long-lasting effect of the chest-burster scene.

Auckland | Auckland Art Gallery | Fri 7 June, 12:30 PM

Auckland | Q Theatre | Sat 8 June, 8:30 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Fri 14 June, 9:00 PM

Get tickets to Memory: The Origins of Alien

The Men’s Room

If you ever wondered what a group of heavenly angels would sound like saying “My balls feel like a pair of maracas,” you’ll want to check out this film about a group of Norwegian manly men who find joy and solace in their irreverent choir. They even promised to sing at each other’s funerals, and when one of the group becomes terminally ill, it’s a promise they look to keep.

Auckland | Q Theatre | Thu 6 June, 2:30 PM & Sun 9 June, 6:30 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Thu 20 June, 2:30 PM & Sun 23 June, 6:30 PM

Get tickets to The Men’s Room

Midnight Traveler

The invention of the smartphone broke the documentary genre wide open. Incredible stories of resistance like Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film and Netflix Oscar nominee Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom wouldn’t have been captured with such immediate force had it not been for this tech that’s in your pocket. Now we have this story of refugees, told by refugees, trying to escape to Germany and away from the Taliban who put a bounty on director Hassan Fazili’s head.

Auckland | Q Theatre | Sun 2 June, 2:15 PM & June, 8:15 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Sun 16 June, 3:00 PM & Sat 22 June, 4:30 PM

Get tickets to Midnight Traveler

More Human than Human

It’s Ex Machina meets The Act of Killing. Does that freak you out? The premise certainly has me spooked. In an effort to further our understanding of artificial intelligence, Tommy Pallotta builds a robot he hopes will take over as director and interview him in the final moments of this 79-minute feature. Such questions include: “What does silence feel?”

Auckland | Q Theatre | Sat 1 June, 10:15 AM & Fri 7 June, 6:30 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Sat 15 June, 10:30 AM & Fri 21 June, 6:30 PM

Get tickets to More Human than Human

The Māori Land March & Bastion Point: Day 507 (Ngā Taonga Double Feature)

The excellent Merata Mita documentary opens this Mother’s Day in select NZ cinemas. I strongly recommend watching that in tandem with these equally-important, digitally-restored films (running for a total of 87 minutes) that bluntly capture key moments of our history that should not go ignored.

Auckland Art Gallery | Auditorium | 8 June, 2:30 PM

Wellington | Te Auaha | 21 June, 3:00 PM

Get tickets to the Ngā Taonga Double Feature

Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth

A gay trans man wants to start a family and Jeanie Finlay’s film goes through the journey of his pregnancy. Only 25 years ago, Hollywood treated such a premise as an outlandish joke in Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Junior. Now, it’s a biopic that doubles as an open-minded look into modern masculinity and the wonders of the human body.

Auckland | Q Theatre | Sat 1 June, 4:30 PM & Mon 3 June, 06:45 PM

Wellington | The Roxy | Sun 16 June, 04:15 PM & Sat 22 June, 06:15 PM

Wellington | Light House Cuba | Wed 19 June, 06:00 PM

Get tickets to Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth