River of Freedom is a feature documentary due for release into cinemas this year. Sharing the inside story of the New Zealand Convoy and Parliament protest in February and March 2022 - who the people were, why they were there, and what happened!
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MEET OUR PRODUCER, JARED CONNON
Jared and his family were living in Wellington when New Zealand’s Traffic Light segregation came into effect and, like many of our film crew, he was mandated out of employment.

With a film career spanning over 30 years, Jared first earned his international reputation as Location Manager on such titles as The Lord of the Rings (trilogy), River Queen, King Kong, The Lovely Bones, The Hobbit (trilogy), Ghost in the Shell, and The Light Between Oceans, among many others. In more recent years Jared expanded his skills as Production Manager, with credits on US studio projects Mortal Engines (MRC), Mulan (Disney), Da 5 Bloods (Netflix), and The Rings of Power (Amazon). He then went on to Line Produce back-to-back feature films for A24 - a NYC film distribution company - ‘X’ (2022) and ‘Pearl’ (2022), the Ti West directed horror sequels shot on location in New Zealand.

After actively and openly standing up within the NZ Screen Sector, challenging vaccine mandate policies the film industry were enforcing in the workplace, Jared formed a collective of over 200 screen workers. They supported the open letters he addressed to the numerous guilds, associations, government agencies, and ministers that would not allow unvaccinated individuals to continue working on film sets around the country. The lack of response to his questions and wilful blindness from industry and government leaders required an active and urgent response, which led Jared to public protests on numerous occasions, culminating in the Convoy's arrival in the capital city.
Jared was there at Parliament on Thursday 10 February, 2022, when New Zealand Police used excessive force in arresting 122 peaceful protestors, including Jared! If you want to hear Jared talk about his experience of the mandates, the protest, and his arrest, watch "Melanie Reid: A visit to freedom village" (he's on from 2’50secs). Like most of the people arrested during the protest, Jared's charges were later dropped.

If you’d like to read more about why Jared was at the protest, check out Stuff's “Faces of a protest: Who were the 250 Kiwis arrested at the Parliament occupation?

Several months after the protest, Jared and his partner Leonie May were interviewed by Maajid Nawaz, a British activist, author, and former radio presenter. Have a listen!
31 - On the Covid Tyranny in New Zealand

To this day, Jared is proud to have stood alongside so many others who spoke their truth at Parliament grounds, and continue to pressure the government into acknowledging the harms they have inflicted upon us all. The parliament protest was truly a moment of light that still shines brightly in his heart, and the film he has crafted—along with Director Gaylene Barnes—is a work that he will always remember with gratitude and respect for the contributions everybody has made in bringing this story to the screen.

Jared now has his own slate of screen projects for development as Producer. Now having formed the production company FIVE FILMS, he is focussed on creating locally produced content for international audiences, in collaboration with filmmakers who share a vision for challenging and unique storytelling.

He also loves chopping firewood and staring at the horizon as the sun sets in the Manawatū.

One love / stand strong!

Ngā mihi nui, thank you so much!

We want to thank you all for joining us on this journey. Marketing and distribution is a mammoth job, requiring funds we don't yet have! This is an urgent request for help!

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Ngā mihi nui!

Meagan McNamara
SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT PRODUCER

Gaylene Barnes
DIRECTOR

Jared Connon
PRODUCER

River of Freedom - A Feature Documentary