The first documentary project supported by NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission under the Joint Documentary Fund has gone into production, while funding for two more projects has just been finalised.

The Joint Documentary Fund, established by the two agencies last year, supports one-off feature-length documentaries with an important story to tell New Zealanders for both cinema and television.

Waves of ANZAC Cove, is currently in production, with high-profile New Zealand actor Sam Neill as presenter. It is intended for screening around the Anzac Day centenary next year.

Two further compelling stories will also be produced for both film and television from the Joint Documentary Fund after confirmation by the Boards of both agencies.

The first, to be made by Christchurch-based Paua Productions, is Back From The Death Zone. The programme follows two of New Zealand’s most experienced mountaineers Guy Cotter and Lydia Bradey, on a quest to recover some of the more than 200 bodies of climbers who have perished over the years on Mt Everest. Among those bodies are some of their friends.

The second project will illuminate the tragic story of the death of a woman who was accidentally drowned by her whanau during a four-day mākutu lifting ceremony. Wellington-based KHF Media will produce Too Much Love.

“Selecting informative projects that will engage audiences both on prime time television and in cinemas has provided an interesting challenge for programme-makers. These projects have real potential to engage audiences,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jane Wrightson.

“It’s great to have worked with NZ On Air over the past year to support these three very different documentaries for cinema and television,” says New Zealand Film Commission Chief Executive Dave Gibson.

Funding details

Waves Of Anzac Cove, 1 x 2 hrs, Frame Up Films for Maori Television, $329,000(NZ On Air) $141,000 (NZFC)

Back From The Death Zone, 1 x 1 hr, Paua Productions for Prime, $515,977 (NZ On Air) $221,133 (NZFC)

Too Much Love, 1 x 1hr, KHF Media for TV One, $585,701 (NZ On Air) $251,015(NZFC)