Animas City Theater presents ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’

The late Dave Bald Eagle, Minneconjou Sioux Tribe, on set during filming of ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’
Christopher Sweeney, portraying Kent Nerburn, on the film set for “Neither Wolf Nor Dog.”
courtesy | Steven Lewis Simpson
courtesy | Steven Lewis Simpson

The Animas City Theatre in Durango, Colo. is hosting a screening for a new movie, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” based on the novel “Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder” which takes the reader to the heart of the Native American experience.

According to the Entertainment Film Distribution Press Release it goes on to say that in Hollywood, producers described it as “the great unmade Native American novel” because of the constant trial and error when trying to produce the movie. Until Kent Nerburn, the author and editor of the groundbreaking trilogy, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder” approached co-writer, director, and producer of the featured film, Steven Lewis Simpson at the screening of his movie “Rez Bomb” with the opportunity to make it into a movie.

The films that caught Nerburn’s eye of Simpson’s potential were the love story feature, “Rez Bomb” and the documentary, “A Thunder-Bieng Nation” about the Oglala Lakota people. Both films were captured on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, showing raw aspects of life on the reservation, while leaving out the Hollywood portrayal of Native Americans. Nerburn felt comfortable with someone who knows the reservation and will make it happen by any means necessary.

Following some financial fallout, they turned to social media marketing, which produced two successful Kickstarter campaigns. Thanks to the incredible amount of passionate fans of the novel, along with Director, Steven L. Simpson followers, the movie was able to get the head start it needed.

The films press release states, “The book has become a standard part of the multi-cultural curriculum in high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States, Europe, and Australia.”

The film features Christopher Sweeny, portraying Kent Nerburn’s experience when receiving a call from a concerned member of the Lakota Indian Reservation about his oral history book with Red Lake Ojibwe reservation students in northern Minnesota. Questioned about Nerburn’s motives with Indian people, Dan the grandfather of the mysterious caller Nerburn received, encourages him to write a book without the American “tom tom BS” as he referred to Nerburn’s previous efforts. Along his journey to learn the way of the Indian life he seems to find himself enlightened.

Dan, the rough-edged and earthy Lakota elder is played by the late Chief Dave Bald Eagle, a member of the Minneconjou Sioux Tribe, born and raised on the Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Dave Bald Eagle is known for being in 40 movies and training many western actors, including western film icon John Wayne, on the techniques of horse and gun handling. His ancestors were among the millions of his people that were killed in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890; which makes the moment more real-life during the movie when the sacred grounds make an appearance.

With author Kent Nerburn’s original ideas, the film’s director, Steven Lewis Simpson’s execution, 11 major cast members, and only an average of two crewmembers that did sound and music, worked throughout the short 18-day shooting schedule and pulled off something inspiring. Paving the way for more stories in the future, showing the raw aspects of the Native American experience.

The showing is Friday, June 9 at 12:15 pm, tickets are available on the Animas City Theatre website as well as at the door. The cost will be $9 for general admission and $8 for students, seniors, and military.

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