Rebecca Lee / Loading Docs

MEME Me

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The world is gentrifying skateboarding. Nek Minnit, Levi Hawken takes back the power with pure high adrenaline freedom of expression.

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 donations!

THE TEAM

Director

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".

Producer

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".

Editor

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 viewers.

"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

UPDATES

  • 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 and share! 

     

    QUICK FUNDING UPDATE

    We've hit 121% - we are SO thankful to everyone who is donating.

    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.

    Did you catch us on The Project?
  • 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".

     

  • Update #1

    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 you…

    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

    Update #1

Loading Docs

Loading Docs is a unique New Zealand documentary initiative that aims to captivate and inspire audiences as well as develop and promote New Zealand filmmaking talent. Since launching in 2014 Loading Docs has touched audiences all over the world. Our films have been seen online, on TV, in film festivals... even on airplanes!

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