We present the red carpet interviews from the Midnight Madness TIFF premiere of Blood Quantum, a zombie movie with a difference. The film premiered at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, and those attending were director Jeff Barnaby, and actors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Michael Greyeyes, Forrest Goodluck, Kiowa Gordon, Stonehorse Lone Goeman, Olivia Scriven, Brandon Oakes.
The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gMaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague. The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial blood measurement system that is used to determine an individual’s Indigenous status, and is criticized as a tool of control and erasure of Indigenous peoples. The words take on even more provocative implications as the title of Jeff Barnaby’s sophomore feature, which grimly depicts an apocalyptic scenario where in an isolated “Mi’gmaq” community discover they are the only humans immune to a zombie plague. As the citizens of surrounding cities flee to the “Mi’gmaq” reserve in search of refuge from the outbreak, the community must reckon with whether to let the outsiders in – and thus risk not just the extinction of their tribe but of humanity, period. The severe and scathing portrait of post-colonial Indigenous life and culture that Barnaby previously captured in the acclaimed Rhymes for Young Ghouls here deftly collides with the iconography and violent hyperbole typical of the zombie genre.