Ygnacio Cervio & Valeria Astudillo / Loading Docs

The Barter Barber

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After losing friends to suicide, a crisis-trained barber packed up his life to travel around the country on a mission to challenge the perception of men's mental health one haircut at a time.

The Story
Sam 'The Barter Barber' Dowdall, is an enthusiastic young man who combines his barbering skills with his crisis training to encourage men to speak up about their issues.

The deal is simple: Sam trades haircuts for as little as a story or a meal, and possibly a place to park his mobile home/barber shop. From his barber's chair, Sam shares prevention strategies with his clients and he explores ways in which the everyday "bloke" can focus on the positives of their lives.

But can one bloke with a mission really get men to break through the walls that have been put up by generations of Kiwi males, or will he be met by stifled emotions or worse: silence?

Our Film

We believe that Sam's inspirational story needs to be told. We're in the process of bringing it to life by making a short documentary that explores Sam's commitment and passion, his highs and lows, and most importantly all his efforts that are making a difference.

We were delighted to hear that our project had been selected to be part of the 2018 Loading Docs initiative. Loading Docs team will support us during the whole process and will financially help us make this happen. Along with principal funder NZ On Air and with support from the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho, they want to see the film get made just as much as we do.

We need your help!

In order to make this story the way we want, we need your help. Loading Docs will provide an additional $4,450 and cover post-production costs, but only as long as we reach our funding goal as of part of the development process. Your contributions will go towards production costs, crew rates and rental gear. As we will follow Sam on his trip, we need to cover accommodation and catering for the crew. Every dollar will help us portray this inspirational film in the cinematic way we envisioned.

Additionally, we're excited to have our good friends from Maloney's Barber Shop onboard as Match Funders for the first $250. Thanks a lot to all the staff at Maloney's!!

Thank you for taking the time to hear us out and watch our pitch video. Every little bit counts and we greatly appreciate your support!

Join us on Sam's journey and be part of this movement!

(Photo courtesy of Bay of Plenty Times)


  • YES!! Initial goal reached!!


    Thank you so much to everyone who helped us reach the initial goal in only 5 days! We're so grateful for the all your support!

    Now we are going for the stretch goal of $4000!  With the extra funds raised we will be able to rent better gear and spend more time on the road with Sam. We will also be able to pay better rates to our awesome crew that at the moment are donating their time and efforts.

    Here's a photo of us celebrating this awesome news with our friends at The Rock.

    Thank you again to everyone who has contributed. We're excited about making the film knowing you've backed us :)

    Ygnacio, Valeria, Sam & Bo


    YES!!  Initial goal reached!!

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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