The much-anticipated 18th edition of Doc Edge Festival is set to captivate audiences with its diverse and thought-provoking line-up. Featuring 71 films, 22 XR projects, a photo exhibition celebrating the work of the late documentary photographer Ans Westra, and an honorary recognition for this year’s Doc Edge Superhero, Annie Goldson, the festival promises to be a must-attend event for documentary enthusiasts.

The festival will open in Auckland on 24 May with the Australian film The Endangered Generation? directed by Celeste Geer. Narrated by Laura Dern, the film fallows a new generation of scientists, artists, and First Nations leaders in the search for clues to our survival through the study of nature and indigenous peoples.

The festival will also have a special opening in Wellington on June 7 with the U.S. film Love to Love You, Donna Summer directed by Roger Ross Williams and Brooklyn Sudano. The film pays tribute to the iconic musician Donna Summer and her impact on the music industry.

The impressive line-up showcases a wide range of films from around the world, including several world and international premieres. Some of the notable films making their world premieres at the festival include:

  • Seasick (New Zealand, director Simon Mark-Brown): A look at the degradation of the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland – one of only two marine parks in New Zealand, it is on the brink of collapse both in terms of sea life and pollution. One solution may be instigating traditional Māori fishing methods.
  • In the Shadow of Beirut (Ireland, UK, Germany, Lebanon, directors Stephen Gerard Kelly, Garry Keane): A portrait of modern-day Lebanon as seen through the eyes of four families living in the impoverished Sabra and Shatila neighbourhoods of the city, the scene of an infamous massacre in 1982.
  • One Bullet (UK, director Carol Dysinger): An Afghan mother and US filmmaker, connected through one stray bullet, forge a surprising friendship amidst America’s longest war.
  • All Static & Noise (USA, director David Novack): When Uyghurs and Kazakhs are arbitrarily detained in “re-education” camps by Chinese authorities, camp survivors and their families risk everything to expose the truth.


The festival will also feature international premieres of compelling documentaries, including:

  • Call Me Dancer (USA, directors Leslie Shampaine, Pip Gilmour): A street dancer from Mumbai struggles against his parents’ insistence that he follow a traditional path. Then he meets a curmudgeonly Israeli dance master, who inspires him to follow his dreams.
  • Into the Shaolin (China, director Hongyun Sun): The film follows the lives of several Shaolin monks and a young Serbian anthropologist who came to conduct fieldwork. Can these insiders and outsiders find the Buddhist inner peace and the ending of suffering there?
  • Knowing the Score (Australia, director Janine Hosking): Biopic of Simone Young, an inspiring woman who made it to the top of the classical conducting world in the face of sexism.

In addition to screenings, the festival will feature an exciting XR Exhibition, showcasing 22 cutting-edge virtual reality and augmented reality projects that push the boundaries of storytelling and technology. Among the selected projects is the world premiere of Evoke by Wrestler Studios, a mesmerising New Zealand work that takes audiences on a poetic, embodied, transcendental journey. In Evoke, your body is invited to step into a vast desert landscape and experience yourself as a mystery, guided by fire, light, and universe goddesses. Through movements that awaken energy, fill you with light, relax and free the body, Evoke offers a unique and immersive experience.

Another intriguing XR project featured in the exhibition is Missing Pictures, which will premiere as a 5-part collection. For every movie made, dozens of pictures remain missing forever. Missing Pictures gives renowned directors from the USA, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan the opportunity to tell stories that would otherwise never be told. With Missing Pictures, audiences can expect to delve into untold stories and gain insights from the perspectives of these accomplished directors.

Also, part of this year’s festival, a photo exhibition will pay homage to the renowned documentary photographer Ans Westra, celebrating her influential work capturing the social and cultural landscapes of New Zealand.

Furthermore, the festival will honour the recipient of this year’s Doc Edge Superhero Award, Annie Goldson, for her outstanding contribution to the documentary genre. Goldson is a critically acclaimed filmmaker known for her thought-provoking films that tackle complex social and political issues. The Doc Edge Awards will be held in Auckland on 3 June 2023.

We are thrilled to present the 18th edition of Doc Edge Festival, showcasing an incredible line-up of thought-provoking films, innovative XR projects, and honouring the work of documentary luminaries like Ans Westra and Annie Goldson,” said Alex Lee, Festival Director of Doc Edge. “This year’s festival promises to be a celebration of documentary storytelling at its finest, and we look forward to welcoming audiences to be inspired, challenged, and entertained.

Tickets for the festival are on sale online starting TODAY.   For more information and updates, follow Doc Edge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Images are available here.

For media enquiries contact:Ali Nicol van Leeuwen at Elephant | +64 27 428 5080