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When Nobody Was Looking

Nominated for Best Documentary Short

Director: Alex Sutherland

13' • New Zealand • 2021


An entomologist takes on the 1970s New Zealand Government uncovering institutional racism and child abuse. Dr. Oliver Sutherland discovers disturbing cases of abused children in state care, including imprisonment and torture of children as young as nine. Fighting a racist system, the insect scientist stands up to expose abuse in the notorious Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital, but will justice ever be served?

Jury Statement: My favorite doc is 'When Nobody Was Looking'. I think it's a very powerful documentary that highlights a very dark page in New Zealand's history. A history probably not very well-known to people outside of the country. The film combines very impactful archival material with access to characters who experienced the hardships of those dark days.

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