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The New Hollywood North: Danis Goulet

The Night Raiders director on her big break, her favourite films and what movie she’d make with $1 billion

The New Hollywood North: Danis Goulet

Known for: Night Raiders, an Indigenous sci-fi thriller

First filmmaking experience: “In 2003, I went down to New York and shot a black-and-white short film called Spin. It was about a DJ in a cool indie music store who is too afraid to buy the record he truly wants because of how it’ll make him look.”

Why you decided to become a director: “I was working in casting on a US TV pilot, and the only roles written for Native actresses were Pocahontas-type characters. I thought, Somebody needs to do a better job telling our stories.”

Your big break: “Getting the funding for Night Raiders. It was the first long-form script I had ever written.”

Something every young director should know: “Surround yourself with like-minded people.”

Desert island movie:The Matrix. I love stories of uprising and rebellion, especially against all-encompassing forces.”

Movie you’ve watched the most times:Children of Men. It’s the pinnacle of science-fiction films.”

Favourite director: “Alanis Obomsawin. She’s the grandmother of Indigenous film.”

Hollywood star you most want to work with: “Daniel Kaluuya. I think he’s a stellar actor and an absolute chameleon in every role that he does.”

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Most memorable celebrity interaction: “George Clooney held the door for me at the Windsor Arms during TIFF in 2001. He was a total gentleman.”

Favourite cinema snack: “Popcorn. It’s got that nostalgia factor—I’ve associated popcorn with movie theatres ever since I was a kid.”

Toughest part about directing: “Making the actors feel comfortable on camera.”

One simple fix that would improve the film industry in Canada: “Putting more underrepresented voices on screen and in positions of power.”

Someone gives you a $1-billion budget. What movie do you make? “An Indigenous Dune.”

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Would you rather win an Oscar for best director or direct the highest grossing film of all time? “I guess win an Oscar. But, if I were going to receive a bunch of money for directing a high-grossing film, it would be impossible to turn down.”

Your next project:Ivy. It’s a Netflix thriller about a smart home that turns on a family.”

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