River of Freedom

The unseen groundswell against New Zealand's vaccine mandate

River of Freedom Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacinda Ardern’s government enforce mandatory vaccination on almost the entire New Zealand workforce. In early 2022, thousands of citizens from all walks of life rise in opposition and convoy to Wellington, occupying Parliament grounds in a protest that shocks the nation. Until now, the size and scale of the protest had largely escaped international media attention. River of Freedom shines a light on this under-reported groundswell of dissent, as the world reckons with the aftermath of the pandemic.

Reviews and More

vivid and atmosphericGraham Adams, The Platform

visceral and unflinchingDane Giraud, Plainsight

River of Freedom (2023) on IMDb

The Producers

Gaylene Barnes – Director & Editor

Gaylene Barnes is a filmmaker and artist from Canterbury, New Zealand. Starting her career with a Diploma in Fine Arts, Barnes has crafted an extensive and creative body of work. With a focus on unfolding environmental and humanitarian stories, Barnes has directed and edited documentaries such as The Grand Plan, Project Fiftyone and We Are One: The Mosque Attacks One Year On. Barnes also co-produced a feature documentary in 2017 called Seven Rivers Walking—Haere Mārire which had the largest single-screening at the NZ International Film Festival.

Jared Connon – Producer

With a film career spanning over 30 years, Jared Connon first earned his international reputation as Location Manager on such titles as The Lord of the Rings (trilogy), River Queen, and The Lovely Bones. Extending his portfolio into production in recent years, Connon has credits on Mulan (Disney), Da 5 Bloods (Netflix). All of this paved the way for launching his own production company FIVE FILMS.

Robin Monotti Graziadei – Executive Producer

Robin Monotti Graziadei is the co-founder of Luminous Arts Productions of London. He worked as a producer on Amir Naderi's Mountain, which premiered at the 73rd Venice Film Festival where Naderi received the Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory To The Filmmaker Award 2016. Monotti then worked as UK producer on the Terrence Malick executive produced The Book of Vision (2021), a journey into the history of the doctor-patient relationship starring Charles Dance. This opened the 35th International Critics’ Week of Venice’s 77th Film Festival in 2020 and the Warsaw International Film Festival 2020, and was released in Italy in 2021 and in the UK & Ireland in 2023.

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