Director Julia Parnell is an award winning producer, documentary director and recipient of the WIFT Woman to Watch award in 2010.
A strong voice in New Zealand documentary, Julia has a diverse collection of work from real life comedy Wayne Anderson: Singer of Songs, to justice system doco Restoring Hope; settler series Both Worlds to music doco The Exponents. As a producer she can claim a run of award-winning shorts (Dive, Friday Tigers, Hitch Hike), and in 2014 became a digital storytelling trailblazer with the creation of Loading Docs co-founded with Anna Jackson.
During six years as Head of Production at ButoBase, Julia oversaw hundreds of hours of Māori Television content, over 30 series including Ngāti NRL which delved into the ‘Mozzie’ subculture of Māori league players in the tough Australian rugby league competition and culminated in 113 episodes.
In 2008 Julia’s commitment to documentary was cemented when, in collaboration with high profile producer Mathew Metcalfe, she was funded by US international documentary fund ITVS, Japanese Broadcaster NHK, NZOA and Māori Television to travel to Iraq, Syria, and Jordan to capture the dramatic tale of a former refugee traveling back to his place of birth in Kurdistan for the documentary Relocated Mountains.
Since 2010, under the banner of her production company Notable Pictures, Julia has creatively helmed three documentary series for TV3 The Festival, Arranged and Both Worlds, the latter of which is now into its sixth series and includes 50 finished episodes, each a stand alone documentary story about the challenges of being a young migrant New Zealander. She has directed documentaries Drug Court, Restoring Hope and The New Sound Of Country, and produced The Exponents, The Dragon Story and Henare O’Keefe: Te Tuatangata. Her short documentary film, Perfect In My Imperfections premiered at The Pacific Int’l Film Festival in Tahiti in 2011 (where she was a jury member in 2016), before going on to play in transgender film festivals in Melbourne, Seattle and Amsterdam.
As the co-creator and driving force behind Loading Docs, Julia has creatively supported filmmakers to create 30 unique short films that have collectively achieved 1.7 million views worldwide.
“It’s a great privilege for me to tell stores that contribute to our understanding of who we are,
where we’ve been and what we might become”
– Julia Parnell