February 1, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Starting Wednesday, February 1, Anjali Nayar’s feature-length documentary Gun Runners will be available in download-to-own (DTO) and video-on-demand (VOD) formats at NFB.ca and for streaming on Netflix. The film can also be purchased on DVD at NFB.ca or by phone at 1-800-267-7710. This first feature documentary from Montreal-born, Nairobi-based Anjali Nayar—one of cinema’s rising young stars—was released in theatres across Canada in fall 2016. Gun Runners is produced by Kat Baulu and Annette Clarke of the NFB.
The story follows two Kenyan cattle rustlers, Julius Arile and Robert Matanda, who trade their rifles for running shoes to compete against the world’s best marathon runners. Filmed over a 10-year period in Kenya and New York City and told entirely by its main characters, Gun Runners takes us from life in the North Kenyan bush to the mean streets of the New York Marathon. A story about the American Dream, African-style, that’s sure to inspire amateur runners and armchair athletes alike.
Lured by the possibility of promising futures as professional runners, Arile and Matanda escape furtive, hard lives on the run with rogue warrior bands. Nayar intimately captures their successes and setbacks as they transition from outlaws to athletes who commit to a highly structured training schedule.
Their experiences may have prepared them for the agonies of the long-distance runner, but can they outrace the corruption, mistrust and jealousy that threaten to derail their careers? Nayar’s all-too-human drama makes it clear that, as Arile succinctly puts it, “If I win, my life will be changed.”
About the filmmaker
Anjali Nayar is one of the top up-and-coming talents in the world of film. Her award-winning work has explored a myriad of topics, from climate change to political activism to pop culture. In the fiction/documentary hybrid Just a Band (co-directed with Wanuri Kahiu), she chronicles the ambitious plans of an Afro-electric pop group that dreams of travelling to space. Her short film, Kenya Rising, about a controversial political activist in Nairobi, was broadcast under a pseudonym on Al Jazeera in 2012. In Gun Runners, her first documentary feature film for the NFB, Nayar establishes herself as an important emerging auteur filmmaker. Nayar is currently directing and producing Logs of War, a cross-platform documentary about activists using smart phones to expose land grabs and corruption in West Africa. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca