Teaches of Peaches, a Kiwi league legend, and other Doc Edge highlights

The Doc Edge festival is back for 2024 with music, sport, politics, true crime, history and heaps more. Steve Newall looks at eight highlights from this year’s programme.

In Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington cinemas from June 19 to July 14—and then available to watch online nationwide July 15 to 31—there’s plenty of interest in the 19th edition of Doc Edge Festival.

This year’s festival programme includes 43 features, 23 shorts and 28 immersive projects, including  a record-breaking twelve world premiere features. Tickets are now available to book for all sessions via the festival’s website.

And So It Begins

With access to the key players in the lead-up to 2022’s presidential election in the Philippines, And So It Begins chronicles the country’s tentative next steps as the unhinged rule of President Rodrigo Duterte comes to an end. Among the factions vying for power are a quirky resistance movement, and the ghosts of an old autocracy in the form of leading candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The latter will be a familiar presence to those who saw 2019’s The Kingmaker, in which his mother Imelda Marcos revisited her husband’s reign prior to a people’s revolution—and shared her plans to place her son back in the presidency.

Citizen Sleuth

Who doesn’t love a true crime doco? If you answered in the negative, move along to the next doco… Or perhaps not, with Citizen Sleuth promising more than the recounting or investigation of a criminal case. This pic follows Emily Nestor, host of the Mile Marker 181 podcast—named after the stretch of Ohio highway where the body of Jaleayah Davis was found. Opinions varied as to whether this was a car accident or murder, and as the audience of Nestor’s podcast investigatory grows into the millions and several years pass, the doco becomes an examination of the true crime genre’s ethics.

The Click Trap

Digital advertising surrounds us—in fact, it’ll be in front of you right now (if not, we’re going to have some issues keeping the lights on). This doco looks at whether digital advertising needs regulation, particularly amid the rise of mis- and dis-information and cyber scams. Explaining how this complicated and somewhat hidden industry works and the monopolistic grip of key players, the film looks towards a better online future—but also asks if such a thing is even possible.

Dancing on the Edge of the Volcano

Costa Brava is a film about to go into production in Lebanon when catastrophe strikes Beirut in 2020. A consignment of ammonium nitrate, stored for years in Beirut’s port, explodes and kills over 200 people, injuring thousands. In the immediate aftermath, the film crew face the incredibly difficult decision of whether to continue production, an agonising process that’s captured here. With facts about the explosion still unclear, and chaos and tragedy throughout the city, this fly-on-the-wall study captures creatives adapting to the latest in a serious of crises that would have derailed many other crews.

Mozart’s Sister

An accomplished musician herself, Maria-Anna Mozart was the elder sister of Wolfgang Amadeus. Known as his music partner and early collaborator, this doco sets out to establish if there was something more to Maria-Anna’s musical contributions. Might she even have played a role in the composition of some of his most well-known pieces? Controversial new evidence is revealed and put to the test in an effort to determine if Maria-Anna Mozart is the latest woman whose contributions to culture are only being revealed.


Celebrating its world premiere at Doc Edge, Sharko sees perhaps New Zealand’s greatest ever rugby league player share his story. Mark Graham was renowned for his toughness on the pitch, and here his son Luke looks his dad’s career as well as the personal cost to both men that came with it. With an intimacy that can only come from family, the doco tells of a shared history of pain and loss, and takes both audience and son on a journey to discover what lies at the heart of Mark Graham’s highs and lows.

Teaches of Peaches

Those who’ve seen the one-of-a-kind Peaches (yes, the one who sings of herself “there’s only one peach with the hole in the middle”) won’t want to miss this—particularly anyone who went to 2022’s Anniversary Tour of earth-shattering debut album The Teaches of Peaches. Preparations for that tour, and footage from it, provide the skeleton upon which Peaches’ breakthrough and career are revisited—with Peaches’ participation, interviews, archival footage, and plenty of recent performance clips. The feminist musician, producer, director, and performance artist has always been incredible—the songs, costuming and personnel of the Anniversary Tour raised the bar even higher.


War and Justice

Last month, after   targeted an ally of the U.S. for the first time

The International Criminal Court was established to hold people responsible for the some of the world’s worst crimes—genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Recently this saw them issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, citing alleged war crimes. More recently, and even more controversially, was the seeking of warrants for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, military chief Mohammed Deif and political leader Ismail Haniyeh. This timely film focuses on ICC Chief Prosecutors past and present, going inside the complex legal process—and the many obstacles it faces from world powers.