The success of Scottish director, Steven Lewis Simpson’s adaptation of the best-selling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, defies logic—Hollywood logic that is. It was audience-financed within 18 shoot days, a tiny crew, a 95-year-old star, and a self-distributed release
that started in small towns and is outperforming Hollywood blockbusters in numerous multiplexes. It has a higher audience score on Rotten Tomatoes than any big Hollywood movie out at the moment; 4.7/5 – 95%, which is wonderful to see as the important American film is about two cultures learning to communicate in a deep, respectful way, something that people in wider society seem to be struggling
with these days.
Its had the longest first-run theatrical release of any movie in US cinemas in the past decade (almost 4 years) and has become the most successful non-Hollywood Native American themed film in years. It packed Prescott Valley Cinema during its 2-week run in 2017. Harkins has it in more cinemas than the first time around. It opens on October 23rd for at least one week. The film’s rolled-out regionally into well over 200 theaters and over 400 specialty theatres/other venues mostly within a handful of states. Its massive opening week in Minneapolis had more admissions than the film with the top screen average in the entire U.S. Only big studio releases play more theatres than NWND in the likes of Arizona, South Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wyoming.
Based on the best-selling Native American novel by Kent Nerburn, Neither Wolf Nor Dog takes audiences on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary and historical Lakota life and culture. Its humor is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world a bit differently. The star, Dave Bald Eagle, died before the film’s release at 97. For a time his obituary was the most-read feature in the world on the BBC. NPR’s All Things Considered team debated whether Bald Eagle was “the world’s most interesting man.”
Both of the film’s stars are veterans. Dave Bald Eagle was left for dead during D-Day. Co-star Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War. Dave Bald Eagle had relatives at the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. When the film’s climax was filmed at Wounded Knee the script was thrown away and Dave spoke from his heart. At the end of filming, he said “I’ve
been holding that in for 95-years”. This wasn’t your average movie shoot.