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Acclaimed Canadian Film The Northlander Premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, January 28!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 02/01/2017

Acclaimed Canadian Film The Northlander Premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, January 28!

Benjamin Ross Hayden’s The Northlander gets its New Jersey Premiere at the New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, January 28!

Here is my interview with The Northlander Director Benjamin Ross Hayden:

Nigrin: Your first feature film The Northlander is a really well conceived post-apocalyptic film. It reminded me a bit of the new Mad Max film but without the car chases and frenetic pacing.   Please tell us what motivated you to make this film. 

Hayden: Finding a world in The Northlander was about picturing the future where the world has started over. In what way new civilizations rise and fall is the central question on the time and setting for this story. Any reminder we see of Mad Max is Inspiring by the design of Jean Geraud. Northlander takes visual cues from the 1960’s French illustrators vision of vast empty future worlds. 

In terms of narrative, showcasing a new sub-genre of science fiction called "Indigenous Futurism" is important in telling the Métis’ core story of Louis Riel by transforming Canadian history into mythic fantasy. Exploring a future world where humanity has returned to indigenous roots of survival is a more optimistic way of seeing a possible future than one consumed by mechanization. In that way, Mad Max was the anti-thesis for Northlander



 
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Nigrin: After you r showing of The Northlander this January, The New Jersey Film Festival have screened all three of the films you have directed. Your films Pick (2010) and Agophobia (2013) won “Best Experimental” prizes are previous NJFFs. What is it with you and New Jersey?

Hayden: Maybe it should also be asked what is it with New Jersey and me! 

Films speak to certain places, and when visiting New Jersey, I found there is a deep respect for the past, and time, in this part of the world. Up the coast to Maine, there is a feeling I get when I visit New Jersey that the past is still alive some where teaching and informing the waking world. My films are too always set beyond the present, so that common link between time being honored and respected in the region, and making films about future/past times is a distinct and magic feeling I share with your part of the world. And last, being awarded twice before from this part of United States of America is an honor for me as a filmmaker. 

Nigrin: Where did you shoot your film and how long did it take to complete?

Hayden: Northlander was shot all across southern Alberta in the Hoodoo badlands of Drumheller, to the forests of Springbank, and the sacred sit of Writing-on-Stone park. Northlander took exactly one year from script to screen to complete. 

Nigrin: The lead actors are really interesting. Can you tell us more about how you found them and how you came about casting them in lead roles?

Hayden: Casting The Northlander was important because I wanted to do it myself. Each role was very specific and discovering the right Canadian actor’s appearance and demeanour to become each soul of the story was key. In hindsight, every single actor was a stroke of destiny because without my knowing they all had early acting relationships between each other on feature films and TV shows that when I was making decisions did not even cross my mind! 



 
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After the cast was complete, we stepped back, and all the actors said “Whoa! we can’t believe the connection all of us core people actually have to be together like this." That made all the difference on-set when directing them by virtue of their chemistry. 

It pays to do homework. 

Nigrin: What has the response been to your film so far?

Hayden: The response so far has been incredible. 11 International Film Festival selections. Theatrically having over 60 screenings across Canada with sold out crowds in Toronto and Calgary, with more to come in 2017. In the Perspective Canada section of Cannes Film Festival sold at American Film Market on TV & VOD into Middle East & Korea under an international title. Northlander was labeled by Vice I-D Magazine as “One of Indigenous Cinema’s Most Important Films”.  Northlander Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released by EMI Releasing. It landed a Canadian Television deal with May 2017, and my next feature film is already confirmed In-Development with Telefilm Canada and Canada Media Fund, and is growing a key team of returning and new professionals. 

Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can rely to our readers?

Hayden: Northlander is confirmed in-developed as a six-part TV Series in Canada that explores deeper into the story of the characters. 

Here is the The Northlander  trailer:

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The Northlander will be preceded by the short Knights of New Jersey. Here is more info on these films and their screening:

Knights of New Jersey - Michael Hadley (Montclair, New Jersey)

Knights of New Jersey is a comedic, behind-the-scenes look at a troupe of Renaissance Faire actors and the passions, aspirations, and petty humiliations that arise as they attempt to bring their vision to life.  In the unique, make-believe world of the Faire, Game of Thrones cosplay fans, Steampunk divas, and weekend Wizards mingle with Mundanes—aka normal people.  The Faire may well be the only kingdom in New Jersey where virtues like courage and honor are real. 2016; 22 min. With an introduction and Q+A session by Director Michael Hadley!



 
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The Northlander - Benjamin Ross Hayden (Calgary, Canada)

It is the year 2961, a time after humanity, when nature has reclaimed the land. A hunter named Cygnus is called to voyage across the treacherous landscape to defend his people. He provides for the Last Arc, a once-nomadic band of survivors in need of food and water. Nova, the matriarch of the band, guides Cygnus with her visions, as he ventures out to find a seed of hope.  A solution must be found before a group of outlandish Heretics descend upon them all. 2016; 97 min.

Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University


71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey


$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends


Information: (848) 932-8482;
www.njfilmfest.com

Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick will be providing free food prior to all New Jersey Film Festival Screenings!




Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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