The success of British director, Steven Lewis Simpson’s adaptation of the bestselling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog defies logic—Hollywood logic that is.
Produced and financed by his UK company, with 18 shoot days in the US’s poorest region, a crew of two and a 95-year-old lead actor, the US self-distributed release was launched in small towns and outperformed Hollywood blockbusters in numerous multiplexes.
Without a booker or publicist, the film has run in over 200 cinemas and 200 other venues so far in the US, and yet it has barely left the Northern Plains and Northwest.
It is now the most successful non-Hollywood US Native American themed film in years and has the longest US first-run theatrical release of any movie in over a decade.
Simpson outlined his unique release strategies in the first-ever film distribution TEDx Talk. Its Rottentomatoes audience score is 4.7/5 95%.
The Parkway Cinema in Beverley will be screening Neither Wolf Nor Dog on the 13 January 2020. The film has been packing cinemas and two community cinemas in Scotland. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, got the novel’s UK Edition published.
Neither Wolf Nor Dog takes the audience on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary Lakota life.
Its humour is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world a bit differently.
It is thematically like Green Book, but with true cultural depth, unlike Green Book’s “racism by the numbers” approach. The film’s star, Dave Bald Eagle, died at 97.
For a time his obituary was the BBC’s most-read story. NPR debated whether he was “the world’s most interesting man.” It’s Simpson’s third Pine Ridge Indian Reservation film.
Natives regard his work so highly, he was asked to make the first series for a 24/7 US Native station.
Dave Bald Eagle was left for dead on D-Day. Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War.
Yet it was the film’s other star, Richard Ray Whitman, that spent the most days under fire during the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, where the US government fired hundreds of thousands of bullets at American Indian Movement activists.
Dave Bald Eagle had relatives at the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and improvised the film’s climax at Wounded Knee. He said after, “I’ve been holding that in for 95-years” This wasn’t your average movie shoot.