For this short documentary made as part of the Loading Docs series, director Ygnacio Cervio explores mental health awareness from the perspective of someone "who encourages people to make a change, but finds his own struggles on that journey". After losing some close friends to suicide, barber Sam Dowdall decided to take an epic road trip across New Zealand, trading his skills for goods and services and starting conversations with Kiwi men about mental health. With only his dog for company, Dowdall opens up about his own bad days when he has to "eat his own medicine".
The whole process wasn't easy; we found ourselves experiencing what Sam goes through every day; tough conditions, hours of solitude, kilometres and kilometres on the road, loneliness, but also joy, fun and happiness.– Director Ygnacio Cervio on making The Barter Barber
Made with funding from NZ On Air, as well as the NZ Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho