The world is gentrifying skateboarding. Nek Minnit, Levi
Hawken takes back the power with pure high adrenaline freedom of
MEME Me: The Secret Life of Levi Hawken is a
short documentary directed by Auckland street photographer and
videographer Stjohn Milgrew.
He's the face that launched a thousand memes. One of 7000 people
worldwide with a rare genetic condition called Ectodermal
Dysplasia. A New Zealand living legend, role model and icon to
many. He is Levi Hawken, known to some as the 'Nek Minnit
guy'. MEME Me will introduce viewers to
a new side of the Nek Minnit guy they haven't yet seen.
Levi's body works differently and so does the way he sees the
world around him. A solitary vision of the world in which we don't
see. A visceral journey through his personal experiences as an
ageing skateboarder with a tireless drive to perform the most
perilous expressions of downhill street skateboarding.
This is a twisting tale of taming the taniwha of his past
through streets that speak to him in a secret code, hieroglyphs
scrawled on to the pavements in urethane. Filtering this
underground language through his own deeply personal perspectives
that challenge the public's ideas of him - proving there is more to
this man than mere parody.
We are lucky to have a commitment of $5500 from short
documentary initiative Loading Docs and their principal funder NZ
on Air with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Te
Māngai Pāho. The only catch is, we need to raise $2,500 before we
can unlock these funds! Boosted is an "all or nothing" platform,
meaning if we don't reach our target - we don't get any of our
MEME Me is written, directed and filmed by Stjohn
Milgrew. Stjohn has been documenting Auckland's music and
street culture for over two decades as a photographer and
videographer. He is an exhibiting artist and music video maker.
Stjohn also conceived and co-directed Loading Docs 2017s #LOSING
which was selected for the New Zealand International Film Festival
(NZIFF) that year.
"I want to make this story about Levi because he is one of my
oldest and dearest friends. We skateboarded together in Auckland's
downtown area during the early to mid 90s. I have watched Levi live
through many transitions as an artist, but find his latest
incarnation as one of the country's gnarliest downhill street
skateboarders in his 40s one of the most fascinating and inspiring
times of his life. I feel like this is the perfect year to join
with him and present a doco from the perspective of his own very
unique experiences doing what he does, how he does it, and what
keeps him pushing into the face of fear".
MEME Me is produced by Rebecca Lee, founder of Plain Jane PR.
With seven years of professional experience in communications, two
degrees and a passion for storytelling, Bec has dedicated her life
to working with "brands that give a damn".
"I'm really excited to join Stjohn on this project and help tell
Levi Hawken's truth. This story really challenges the way I consume
social media. I often scroll through endless social media pages,
laughing at memes and the people in them. This short-doco will tell
the story of how your laughter can either help, or hinder, the
people behind them".
Jarrod Wright is a story-focussed editor who has been
in the creative industry for more than 18 years. With experience
in feature-length films, television and
TVCs, Jarrod ensures his work elicits an emotional response from
"I've known both Stjohn and Levi for decades. During this time,
human interaction and culture has changed immensely due to
connectivity and social media. Having the opportunity to help
articulate a part of Levi's story through this lens with Stjohn's
vision is tremendously exciting," he says.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Your funds will help us to hire top quality equipment and pay
the people who work on this short doco, but our number one concern
is the safety of everyone involved and this will be costly!
We're looking at council permits, road closures and we will need
to hire well-trained professionals to film the riskier scenes of
this unbounded sport.
We need you to help fund our film, and follow our journey from
street to screen.
We'll keep you updated on our progress as we begin production,
all the way through our shoot, and into the post-production stage.
All donors will receive a thank you in the film credits and a lot
of gratitude from us!
Please note that all New Zealand based donors qualify for a 33%
tax credit on their donations from the IRD. Receipts will be
provided by The Arts Foundation at the close of the campaign.
So please, all we ask is you shout us a coffee ($5), or ten, to
get us to our stretch goal of $3000!
Video stills credit: Richard Doran
Did you catch us on The Project?
4 MONTHS AGO
Last night, Levi caught up with The Project panel - sharing what
it's like to be a viral sensation.
Check out the full video here - be sure to like, comment
QUICK FUNDING UPDATE
We've hit 121% - we are SO thankful to everyone who is
We've reached our target and from now, all donations will ensure
we can hire the best of the best gear, and helps all team members
get a fair koha for their hard work.
We've hit our target!
4 MONTHS AGO
Thanks to YOU, we've reached our initial target and MEME Me is getting made!! Every dollar from here helps us make the best doco we can.
Our director, and Fedora fan, Stjohn has a little message for you:
"I'm very grateful for being selected for a second time by Loading Docs.
"Thanks to everyone who has helped us reach our target. This project is actually happening because of your generosity!
"You can still donate for the next two weeks and this will be my last time asking for help with crowdfunding as "MEME Me" will be my last "film".
4 MONTHS AGO
Team, thank you SO much for your support so
far. Every donation, message and "like" on our social media has
meant huge amounts to us all.
We're almost a week into fundraising and have two updates for
First, we've locked in Jarrod Wright as our
editor! He's got more than 18 years experience in the creative
industry and is the master of emotive storytelling. We're so stoked
to have him on board.
Second, for everyone wanting to see a sneak
peak of the doco - we've listened! Stjohn has
cut together an epic clip so you can get a feel for what MEME Me
will bring. To watch, click that big ol' button on the top left
that says "WATCH THE VIDEO". Video stills credit: Richard Doran
We've also set up a mailing list where we will be sending secret
updates about the doco to our donors. If you want to get in on
that, be sure to share your email address.
That's it from team MEME Me.
Speak soon, Bec