Documentary Channel bringing Indie Docs season

Indie Docs is a brand new series of special documentary features including New Zealand documentaries Departure & Return, Kit & Maynie and international features including La Americana, Shambhala, The Wizard Rocumentary and Children of the Migration.

“We are delighted to launch this new programming series that will showcase documentaries from a diverse range of story-tellers. Indie Docs is designed as a platform for low-budget, non-mainstream documentaries. Many of the films viewers will see in this Saturday night slot will be made by emerging, promising or student documentary-makers. But the line-up will also include films from established directors,” comments Richard Driver, Owner and Programme Director of the Documentary Channel (SKY Channel 74).

“What they will all have in common is the they will be individual in style, they will be New Zealand television premieres and the stories told from distinctive points of view – that you will only see on the Documentary Channel and we are also pleased to introduce a new face to the channel with Indie Docs presenter Jonathan Marshall,” adds Driver.

Marshall is a well-known New Zealand journalist. He began his career early – and by the age of 15 he was working on NewstalkZB’s overnight show, compiling and presenting news-stories, and being mentored by Paul Holmes. Jonathan was already shooting and presenting his own documentaries, two of which were screened on Triangle TV.

Marshall also begun a freelance journalistic career – he’d had two features published in Investigate magazine before he was 18 – and he was providing news-footage to both news networks and stills to magazines. He worked for Livingstone Productions as a cameraman, and became one of the co-presenters on the company’s magazine-style ‘Queer Nation’ in 2002. After leaving the company, he continued his photographic career and started the ground breaking NZ tabloid website where his work helped create NZ’s blogosphere and its sometimes rebellious traditions.

After a year studying a Diploma of Journalism in 2005, Jonathan started work at the Herald on Sunday as a reporter, moving to the Sunday News in 2007, then to the Sunday Star Times in 2009. His investigative stories are still breaking news today.

Indie Docs has it New Zealand Television premiere as part of a New Zealand Music Month special – Guitars from The Leafty Suburbs, Saturday 8th May at 9.30pm on Documentary Channel (SKY Channel 74).
Indie Docs Series…NZ Music Month Special

Saturday 8 May, 9.30pm

It all began when a small recording studio opened in an old bus depot in the seaside town of Devonport. Producer Rikki Morris blames a teenaged Finn Andrews who wandered in off the street and asked to record a demo. As soon as he heard that voice, Rikki says he knew that Finn Andrews was going to be a star.

Before long, Finn was signed in the UK with his band, The Veils – but that was just the beginning! News travels fast in small towns they say, and in Devonport, the possibility of becoming a rock star suddenly became an ‘achievable dream’ in the minds of the young locals. At the nearby high schools, lunchtimes were taken up with jamming with whoever was around, and absorbing the lessons of 60s and 70s rock history from mum and dad’s dusty collection. Bands were formed, The Bus studio became the place to be, and the ‘achievable dreams’ started to happen. Filmed over 18 months, the film takes up the stories of three of these bands – The Checks, the Electric Confectionaires, and White Birds & Lemons, who each have their own take on the lessons of ‘the old masters’ of their parents era.

The documentary features recording sessions, impromptu jams, and indoor and outdoor gigs on the journey toward every guitar band’s dream. Amidst the music and impromptu comedy, Rikki Morris and the band members share insights on the inner workings of bands, and the prospects and process of ‘making it’. While there are currently over 40 bands who now use the old bus depot as their practice/recording space, the three featured bands are at the core of the ‘Devonport band phenomenon’ – two of them have been signed to international labels, and all three bands have played at The Big Day Out. Tune into the new Indie Docs series, premiering with Guitars of the Leafy Suburbs and see dreams turn into reality, Saturday 8th May at 9.30pm, only on the Documentary Channel.

Saturday 15 May, 9.30pm

Carmen never planned to go to the United States, but when her daughter Carla was only nine-years-old, tragedy struck. Carmen left her daughter behind and made the dangerous and illegal journey to New York City where she could earn enough to support her ailing daughter, knowing she may never return home. October 2000, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Maria del Carmen Rojas, a young single mother, faces a life-changing catastrophe when her nine-year-old daughter Carla is struck and run over by a bus, leaving Carla in a wheelchair, and Carmen with insurmountable medical expenses. Unable to pay for Carla’s hospital bills and specialized care, Carmen borrows money from friends and family to keep her daughter alive. With no opportunities to earn a sufficient living to support her daughter, Carmen tries in vain to get a visa to go to the United States.

As her desperation grows, Carmen decides to leave Carla behind and make the dangerous journey to the U.S. After nearly suffocating in the trunk of a sedan crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Carmen makes it to New York where she can send money home and give her daughter the chance to live a life with opportunity, despite her disability. Living and working illegally cleaning houses and stores in the U.S, Carmen earns enough to support Carla from afar. Though Carmen is able to provide for her daughter’s medical needs, Carla does not understand why she must grow up without her mother. Carmen cannot visit Carla in Bolivia, as she knows she may not be able to cross back into the United States, on which their lives would depend.

Unable to get any working papers, Carmen watches in frustration as congress defeats a bill granting amnesty to long-term undocumented immigrants. But as six years of separation approaches, so does the date at which Carmen promised her daughter they would be together again: Carla’s quiceañera. After risking her life to come to the United States, Carmen must once again sacrifice what she has come to know as home, and the security of Carla’s future, so that she can keep her word and be at her daughters side.

La Americana is Carmen’s story, and the story of millions of illegal immigrants forced to leave their families behind in order to provide them a better life. It is the story of a continent divided not by values, but by a physical and political barrier that separates families indefinitely, sometimes forever. Indie Docs – La Americana is a riveting New Zealand television premiere – Saturday 15th May at 9.30pm.
Indie Docs Series…

Saturday 22 May, 9.30pm

The final journey of the Rainbow Warrior…Departure and Return, the final journey of the Rainbow Warrior is a fascinating documentary through the eyes of six women activists. On July 10, 1985, in Auckland, two bombs were detonated by French secret service agents, sinking the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior and killing the photographer Fernando Pereira.

This documentary offers a fresh insight into that event through the eye witnss accounts of women crew members and others associated with the anti nuclear movement in New Zealand. The film also traces the history of the ship from the docks of London through the campaigns in the North Atlantic, to preparations for the anti nuclear tour to the Pacific, the evacuation of the people of Rongelap from their radioactive atoll and then to the vessel’s demise at Marsden Wharf in Auckland Harbour. The Rainbow Warrior has become a universal symbol as well as an intrinsic part of our New Zealand modern day history.

Departure and Return relates the life stories of the environmental activists, all of whom now reside in New Zealand, as they reveal their extraordinary histories both here and abroad. Take a final journey with the Rainbow Warrior when Departure and Return screens on Saturday 22nd May at 9.30pm on the Documentary Channel.
Indie Docs Series…

Saturday 29 May, 9.30pm

Kit & Maynie is a fascinating documentary film about two 89 year old peace activists who live on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf in the North Island of New Zealand. New Zealand under the Labour government passed legislation declaring this country Nuclear Free reflecting a strong  grassroots movement from local peace groups. Both Kit and Maynie started their friendship as members of the Waiheke Island Peace group by selling tea and scones at the Saturday market each week and donating the profits to peace activities. Approaching their 90th year, Kit and Maynie relate their extraordinary ventures. 

Maynie participated in the 1984 “Walk for Life On Earth”, a 2 month journey with a group of Waiheke women and children to the steps of Parliament in Wellington to urge the government to go ‘Nuclear Free’. This was followed with the pair of friends travelling to Britain to join the protest at peace camp with thousands of other women at Greenham Common, outside the US Air Force Base that was housing Cruise missiles.  They camped in small tents in the wood, cooking over campfires at the perimeter of the Base with other Waiheke women.

Returning to New Zealand, after taking part in protests at Geneva and in Germany, Maynie travelled to the United States with friend and activist Ann Macfarlane to take part in the “Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament”, a 9 month journey from Los Angeles to New York then to Washington, DC.  On completion Maynie spoke at the November 1986 rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, “her proudest moment”. In 1996, the French government resumed nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific. 

Kit and Maynie relate their experiences travelling “incognito” to join the NZ originated Women’s Peace Flight to Tahiti to appeal to the French government to stop nuclear testing in  French Polynesia. Meet two extraordinary women when Kit & Maynie premieres on New Zealand television on Saturday 29th May at 9.30pm, only on the Documentary Channel’s – Indie Docs series.

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