Issue date: 
Thursday, 17 February 2022

Following critical acclaim at Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals, and most recently at the New Zealand International Film Festival, Night Raiders has today released a local trailer ahead of its nationwide general release on Thursday 24 March.

Set in 2043, the Canadian-New Zealand co-production is a female driven dystopian drama about resilience, courage and love. The nail-biting post-war future thriller follows a mother joining an underground band of vigilantes to try and rescue her daughter from a state-run institution.

Night Raiders is written by Cree-Métis director Danis Goulet (Wapawekka, Barefoot) who describes the film as inspired in part by Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 film Children of Men, as well as by the military response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 2016. Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarock, What We Do in the Shadows) serves as Executive Producer on the film.

Producer Chelsea Winstanley pointed out that colonisation is a shared experience among many Indigenous peoples around the world. “The events in the film depicting despicable acts against children in state care happened in Aotearoa, in Australia among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and with Native Americans." Chelsea adds “What Danis has done through her script, which is so clever, has been to reference the past which we now experience the effects of in the present, to be a warning to our future. And that's the message: if we don't take notice of what we've done in the past, we can, if we're not careful, repeat those same mistakes."

Night Raiders stars Elle-Máijá Apiniskim Tailfeathers (Blood Quantam), newcomer Brooklyn Letexier-Hart (Burden of Truth), Aotearoa actor, Alex Tarrant (Head High, NCIS: Hawai’i) and Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).   

Goulet described making Night Raiders as a genre that North American film has never explored to the same extent as European film. "Lights had gone off about how to express in indigenous life on screen. Filmmaking is a natural and organic extension of the oral tradition. It gives us tools to bring these stories to life in new and imaginative ways."

Night Raiders was released in Canada in late 2021, with the widest opening of any film by an indigenous director in Canadian film history. It was named the winner of the 2021 DGC Discovery Award from the Directors Guild of Canada, and included in TIFF's annual year-end Canada's Top Ten list for 2021. The Toronto Film Critics Association named Night Raiders as a finalist for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2021, with the winner slated to be announced in March 2022. called Night Raiders “A haunting, vibrant, thought-provoking tale” and The L.A. Times commended Goulet on her feature directorial debut: “the world she builds is a remarkably detailed, revealing reflection of our own.”

Night Raiders is produced by Tara Woodbury (Transplant, The Underground), Paul Barkin (The Colony, Amreeka, Firecrackers), Ainsley Gardiner (Boy, Eagle vs Shark, The Breaker Upperers), Georgina Conder (Cousins, The Breaker Upperers, She Shears), co-produced by Chelsea Winstanley (Jojo Rabbit, Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, What We Do in the Shadows). Also executive producing are Lisa Meeches and Kyle Irving for Eagle Vision.

With investment from The New Zealand Film Commission, Night Raiders is distributed in New Zealand by Rialto Distribution.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 17 February 2022