The success of Scottish director, Steven Lewis Simpson’s movie adaptation of the best-selling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, defies logic – Hollywood logic that is.
It was audience- financed, shot in 18-days in the USA’s poorest region with an average
crew of 2 and a 95-year-old Lakota Elder as the star. It has become one of the widest
released, truly self-distributed movies in years. Simpson flipped the Hollywood model
upside-down by launching in small towns. With the major markets ahead, it has already
outperformed 99 of the 106, 2017 & 2018 releases from prolific indie film distributors IFC &
Kino Lorber, who release many of the world’s great films. It is the most culturally important
non-Hollywood Aboriginal film in years. It has the longest theatrical first-run of any movie in at least a decade: 131 weeks so far.
By efforts between Sault Community Theatre and TD Bank, the movie will play at Sault
Community Theatre on September 18th, 19th, and 30th at 7:00 PM. The Sept. 30th show will be closed to the public for an educational screening sponsored by TD Bank. Tickets are
available at www.saultctc.ca or the Sault Community Theatre Box Office in the Station Mall.
Neither Wolf Nor Dog takes audiences on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary
Lakota life. Its humor is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant
vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world differently.
The film’s opening week at the Landmark Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis had more
admissions than the film with the top screen average in the entire US that week. In
Vancouver, WA it was a theatre’s second-best performing film in a year. With only 6
showings, it beat 11 of the 12 summer blockbusters at a multiplex nearby. In a South Dakota cinema, it beat every blockbuster in 15-months. In addition, film critic Louis Fowler named Neither Wolf Nor Dog his top film of the year. It has a Rotten tomatoes audience score of 96%.
In real-life, Lakota actor, soldier, stuntman and musician, David Vale Eagle was left for dead
during D-Day and Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War. Yet it
was the film’s other star, Yuchi-Muscogee Creek multidisciplinary visual artist, poet, and
actor, Richard Ray Whitman, who was never in the service, who spent the most days under
fire during the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 where the government fired
hundreds of thousands of bullets at American Indian Movement activists.
The film’s climax was filmed at Wounded Knee where Dave Bald Eagle had relatives at the
infamous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, sacred ground for the stars. Because of this,
Simpson threw away the script so Dave could improvise the scene and speak from his heart.
At the end of the take, Dave said, “I’ve been holding that in for 95-years.” David Bald Eagle
died in 2016.