A quick word with Ainsley Gardiner about Night Raiders

Posted Monday 14 Mar 2022

A quick word with Ainsley Gardiner about Night Raiders

How exciting to see the Ainsley Gardiner and Chelsea Winstanley-produced Night Raiders will be released in New Zealand cinemas on 24 March! The film, directed by Canadian Danis Goulet, is a Canadian-New Zealand co-production set in a dystopian North America where Indigenous children are captured by the authoritarian state to be brainwashed in state-run schools. It stars indigenous actor Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (pictured) as Niska, a Cree woman who joins a resistance movement in order to save her daughter. 

Night Raiders has been nominated for 11 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture. Goulet received nominations for both the Original Screenplay and Achievement in Direction categories, as well as the John Dunning Best First Feature Award. The Awards will be presented during Canadian Screen Week in April.

Ainsley answered a few questions for us.

WIFT NZ: How and why did you get involved in this project?

AG: We have known Danis for many years through the film festival circuit and our relationships with Merata Mita and Bird Runningwater (a former executive at the Sundance Institute, a producer of television and film projects for Amazon Prime Video). These friendships in our global indigenous filmmaking community have been a source of inspiration and support and when the opportunity came to work together in a tangible way we jumped at it.

WIFT NZ: What do you like about the film? What affects you most?

AG: Danis was writing about a virus before Covid, it has a prescience that is uncanny, but it also speaks directly to historical issues for indigenous people. I love that she is able to do that in the genre space. I'm affected most by the fact that so little has changed for indigenous people and yet we are also at the forefront of our own industries.

WIFT NZ: What do you hope NZ viewers will take away from it?

AG: I hope first and foremost they enjoy it as a great yarn and an exciting futuristic drama. As always I hope audiences are moved in such a way that they start to look at the world from a different perspective.

Click here to watch the trailer