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RIVER OF FREEDOM is a cinematic documentary feature film about New Zealand's protests against the unethical and illogical government vaccine mandates in February March 2022. It was independently released by the filmmakers in New Zealand in September 2023 and internationally on VOD in December 2023. Here are some great talking points for you!

    • RIVER OF FREEDOM was #1 in the New Zealand Box Office on Thursday 21 September – beating Oppenheimer and Barbie.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM was in the top #10-15 position in the NZ Box Office for 4 weeks.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM is the 3rd most successful release of all New Zealand-made films in 2023, according to Box Office Mojo. The other two were well-funded dramas.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM enjoyed a top-selling position in sales on AppleTV + & YouTube Premium Movies for December '23 and January '24.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM was listed by Stuffed's Graeme Tuckett in his Top 10 movies of 2023.
    • Provincial cinemas reported better sales of RIVER OF FREEDOM than Oppenheimer and even Lord of the Rings.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM was listed by our distributor as one of their Top 10 films of 2023 – after only two weeks of release in December 2023.
    • RIVER OF FREEDOM was crowd-funded, relying on donations from the public to make the film – see our amazing supporters and their encouraging comments here.
    It is worth noting at this point, that despite all our crowd-funding, our box office return (of which we received between 25-30%), and the online success - our total revenue is still much less than the dollop of taxpayer cash handed to, for example, Tutu Productions by Te Māngai Pāho to make a similar quality film (from the inside of a protest) which is currently screening on TVNZOnDemand - Hikoi: Speaking Our Truth. This film was also well marketed by legacy media across various platforms. Many of the filmmakers have yet to be paid anything, including the Director and Producer. The total production market cost of RIVER OF FREEDOM would be twice that of Hikoi.


    These are shipping weekly, and are available to purchase from our website, and via the links below. We hope that everyone who pre-ordered has received a copy by now? If not, please contact us. The Blu-ray is $40 +shipping. The DVD is $25 +shipping. Check the website for double deals.


    The RIVER OF FREEDOM DVD and Blu-ray are now listed in the catalogue at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington - just across the road from Parliament! :) It’s also in the Alexander Turnbull Library Heritage Video Collection. Search “River of Freedom : a feature documentary film from New Zealand” on their website.
    The DVD and Blu-ray has also been formally requested by university libraries in Otago and Auckland. Here are the links!
    BORROW River of Freedom from the University of Otago library
    BORROW River of Freedom from the University of Auckland library
    We are aware of some interesting academic studies underway — researchers have reached out to request their personal copy. RIVER OF FREEDOM is under international license with a large and significant UK distributor, Journeyman Pictures. Educational institutions need to seek a license to make copies available to their students, or have the DVD or Blu-ray in their library for private viewing. We are aware of our film being used in other universities without seeking our permission. This is a message to them: it’s just good form to ask, eh, especially in courses about 'ethical storytelling'?! LOL


    In an exciting update, the DVD and Blu-ray discs are now listed with Wheelers who are the main supplier for ALL schools & libraries! Please let your local library know they can easily purchase directly from Wheelers to make the film available for your community to borrow.
    RIVER OF FREEDOM - Link for libraries to buy DVD from Wheelers
    RIVER OF FREEDOM - Link for libraries to buy Blu-ray from Wheelers


    We believe that for genuine media pluralism under current New Zealand conditions of content creation (where taxpayer money is the primary source of funds), that the funders need to be arms length, content neutral and that production funds are fairly available to all across the divides. The current criteria for getting a dollop of government cash out of NZonAir is that a programme has to have a mainstream free-to-air platform to broadcast it — part of their investment goals of ‘Discoverable Content’ along with 'Quality Content' and 'Diverse Content'. They are still under the impression that legacy media is the best place to present content, despite their own surveys reporting that the audience has shifted considerably, ie. over 60% of NZers get their main content from YouTube. They have recently opened up a youth audience fund to make programmes that will be broadcast direct to YouTube in light of this. And we are aware of other general projects that receive funding without the obligatory ‘mainstream media’ platform. So, we wanted to try and see how far we would get...
    We proposed a documentary about the many New Zealanders affected by the high incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis following the Pfizer injection roll-out. We think many New Zealanders would be interested in these stories and want gain a better understanding of the condition. We had faith (misplaced) that some of the mainstream channels would like to support New Zealanders wish to hear these stories... Not so. Every mainstream media channel, except one, refused to even look at the proposal. Some responded immediately and rudely. Only Sky Open agreed to look at it, but they subsequently rejected it.

    Nevertheless, we submitted Heartache to NZonAir to play on our own free-to-air YouTube 'platform'; and we offered investment, independent executive oversight and the numbers. But the NZonAir funding advisors immediately ‘triaged’ our documentary - it didn't even make it to the desk of the Funding Team. We were instantly rejected (without looking at the proposal) because we did not have one of their preferred 'platforms'.
    Thus, what we have in the funded documentary landscape in NZ is 5-6 media platforms and their commissioning editors determining what content New Zealanders are allowed to easily see (made with government funding via NZonAir). Watch this evolving space, I suppose!

    NB. Our distributors have not been contacted by any of the legacy media to license RIVER OF FREEDOM for free-to-air.


    New Zealand’s negotiating mandate has been updated by the new government. Check out the proactive release. The proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations 2005 which was renewed by Cabinet on 19 February 2024.
    Cabinet agreed "that the technical amendments (section 59 - reduced timeframe) would be considered together with the National Interest Analysis for the additional and more substantive amendments to the IHR. These substantive IHR negotiations are ongoing, and no additional amendments have been finalised." ...??
    While this new mandate goes some way towards ensuring NZ examines our sovereignty and financial implications in relation to this new and the amended international treaty, we still need to keep the pressure on. They are supposed to sign it end of May - but obviously the people of New Zealand have not had a chance to evaluate these binding international treaties as part of our democratic process.
    Thanks to Kirsten Murfitt who is keeping us abreast of these developments. And RCR - watch their live video from today. Also have a listen to Micheal Laws discussing this issue on The Platform - where he ... now please sit down ... THANKS the Parliament protestors! We're getting there, slowly. Thankful for our patience!
    RIVER OF FREEDOM can still be accessed online as pay-per-view. x
    Ngā mihi
    Gaylene and the Team
    River of Freedom
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