Lisa Burd

Fight for Time 2019

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"There's something about dragon boating … being on the water … that rhythm … and those pink dragons (the breast cancer teams)… they're braver than the rest of us … when the heavens have opened and the seas are heaving and we're still on the sideline wondering whether to go out or not … then you see them paddling past … and well … you've just gotta join them …" 

Fight for Time documents two stories of immense hardship, trauma and determination.

The first: The Black Dragons, a diverse group with something to prove, fighting for the recognition that only a World Championship medal can bring. Collectively the team have lost 120 kgs of weight, they've trained in the toughest conditions and pushed themselves to breaking point on the dreaded 'erg'. So how will they stack up against their global competitors? This kiwiana story of an underdog team, on a shoestring budget, shows true grit and drive. Our documentary crew has been following their story since October 2018, capturing their relentless determination to succeed 

Our second: A breast cancer team. These women are driven by passion. Beyond role models, the breast cancer paddlers are an absolute inspiration. These paddlers empower women who are fighting breast cancer; they honor and remember those who have gone before them. A cancer diagnosis is never a good thing, but for some, dragon boating has turned out to be the silver lining. Sometimes the end is only the beginning. Our team proves there's life after diagnosis as they paddle their way to victory.

New Zealand probably has the highest ratio of Breast Cancer Dragon Boat teams in the world. Research from Canadian doctor Don McKenzie into Dragon Boating has proven benefits due to both the physical and teamwork aspects of the sport.

Our characters include Yvonne, who we meet shortly after her second breast cancer diagnosis. We follow her journey from surgery to participating in a dragon boat regatta which ignites her competitive spirit to take on the next season. We also have a young person with the BRCA gene, someone in remission and both coaches from the pink and black dragons as they navigate the season.

It is our hope that this film will:

  • Emphasise the importance of having regular mammograms to help with early breast cancer detection, and
  • The value of sport in maintaining mental wellness

On completion, we'll celebrate with private screenings of the film to raise funds for breast cancer charities. Excerpts of the completed documentary will be used by the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation for their educational purposes. 

Award winning film maker and 2019 NZ Black Dragon Boat paddler, Lisa Burd, and her team have been working on the project as a labour of love during the research phase. We've listened to some phenomenal stories from strong women and men determined to be better. We're looking forward to seeing what the next dragon boat season brings to build our story.

This is a mammoth task! The pre-production research has been completed. Now we need your help to raise $45,000 to get us to the next milestone: to develop the storyline and shoot footage.

Beyond that, we hope to seek funding from the NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air to actually finish the documentary (that art ain't cheap!). Our dream is to launch the film on the International Film Festival circuit, and to gain TV exposure.

We hope you'll join us on this journey. 

About the Team: Lisa Burd has teamed up with Director of Photography Rhys Duncan and Editor Rahera Herewini-Mulligan to create this feature length documentary film. You can view highlights of Lisa's previous work in the profile link.