Doc Edge Festival 2018 By Clayton Barnett

The adage the truth is stranger than fiction is perfect for Doc Edge, as the incredible stories that feature at this International Documentary Festival are something else.

In it’s 13th year they’re delivering a whopping 74 films (50 feature, 24 short) covering a range of amazing topics that will stimulate, provocative and entertain. I’ve taken a gander at the stunning line-up and here are a few picks to keep an eye out for.

The International Documentary Film Festival runs in Wellington’s Roxy Cinema from May 9-20 then hits Auckland’s Q Theatre from May 23 – June 4.


The festival opener looks at the low-lying atoll Kiribati and it’s endearing president Anote Tong, who travels the world seeking answers and solutions on climate change. Tong is a powerful speaker and rams home the actual real-life cost and the fact all the continuous debate isn’t saving his people.

Back at home Sermary, a young mother of six, brings a human face to the struggle as she decides whether to leave her people to move to NZ. The cinematography is stunning, sweeping drone shots and the colourful Kiribati culture is beautiful but heart wrenching stuff.


There’s always something personal about a Spielberg film, and if you’ve been touched by any of them you have to do yourself a favour and see this comprehensive doco from HBO. Award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy goes behind the scenes and then some of Spielberg’s life and work.

We see his talented teenage short films, surreal home videos of Spielberg mucking about with fellow young rebel filmmakers like Scorsese, Coppola and Lucas, and of course extensive interviews with cast and crew from pretty much every movie he’s made. For filmmakers it’s a masterclass from the mouth of the man himself, catch it on the big screen if you can.


I absolutely love a good music doco, and when it’s about someone you had on cassette like George Michael you know it’s going to be good. Co-directed by George himself, who sadly died on Christmas day in 2016, this is a deep-dive into all the drama, love and loss that’s surrounded one of Britain’s most unique musical exports.

With appearances by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Mary J Blige, Elton John and Mark Ronson, eye-opening exclusive clips and some goose-bump inducing performances, this is a powerful and revelatory watch.


A study of a subject by a director can be interesting, but when it’s his own deaf child it takes it to a whole new level. Examining his role in raising his son Tobias, Dutch director Alex de Ronde reveals childhood challenges in fascinating home videos and shines a light on the world Tobias navigates as an adult.

The candid moments between the two, as well as insight from Tobias’ brother Joachim, make for a captivating look into a family with a powerful bond.


If you have a thirst for colourful characters our just a thirst for colourful cocktails this is a must see. World-renowned barman and cocktail connoisseur Charles Schumann takes us on a simply intoxicating look at some of the most interesting bars in New York, Havana and Tokyo.

Writer director Marieke Schroeder follows the author of a cocktail guide dubbed “the drink-mixer’s bible” as he explores the history of bar culture and the cocktail itself. Full of passionate bartenders displaying some amazing craft – it’s worth admission for the visuals alone - that will make you want to head to the nearest watering hole.