Tagata Pasifika

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Samoan Director launches his documentary in 2019 Loading Docs line-up

Meet Munch Jr. tells the story of 16-year-old Nikau, who doesn’t see anyone who is quite like him.

A new documentary by first-time director Ali Cowley focuses on his love for his autistic son in helping him to bring his cartoon character to life.

The documentary – Meet Munch Jr. – tells the story of 16-year-old Nikau, who doesn’t see anyone who is quite like him. He has a unique view of the world; he also has Asperger Syndrome.  In Meet Munch Jr, we step into Nikau’s colourful world as he turns to his animator dad to help fulfill aspirations of bringing the character Munch Jr to life. Powered by the unconditional bond of father and son, an emotional journey must be taken to realise Nikau’s dreams.

Loading Docs is a unique initiative that produces short documentaries that captivate and inspire audiences locally and internationally, while developing and promoting New Zealand filmmaking talent at home.

The theme for this year’s series is power. Ali says he had been thinking about doing a documentary film on his son for a while now and was inspired by the theme to apply.

“There are very few documentaries on Pacific families who have an autistic child, so I saw this as a great opportunity to combine two of my passions – my family and my creative artistic work.

“I am just so proud of all our collaborations with people who genuinely wanted to help tell this story. I am also proud of what we have produced. It’s a touching story about unconditional love,” says Ali.

Meet Munch Jr is part of a collection of eight Loading Docs short documentaries. The full collection of shorts can be seen here on TVNZ On Demand and https://loadingdocs.net/shorts

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