'Neither Wolf Nor Dog': The story of contemporary Native American life shows this weekend in New London
NEW LONDON — An independent film adapted from an award-winning novel by Minnesota author Kent Nerburn will be shown Saturday and Sunday at The Little Theatre in New London.
"Neither Wolf Nor Dog" has been heralded as a landmark Native American film and has garnered broad support from audiences across the country.
The film portrays a white author on a road trip through contemporary and historical Native American life in the Dakotas after befriending a 95-year-old Lakota elder and his sidekick, according to a news release promoting the self-distributed independent film.
"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," according to the news release from InYo Entertainment.
The movie features a performance by elder Dave Bald Eagle, who was 95 years old during the time of filming but died at the age of 97 before the film was released.
The audience-funded movie was shot in 18 days with a crew of just two people by Scottish director Steven Lewis Simpson.
But since it was released in 2016 to theaters — including in small towns and large markets — "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" has broken records by being in U.S. theaters longer than any other movie released in over a decade and has become the most popular non-Hollywood, Native American film in years, according to the news release.
It's been shown in at least 200 theaters so far.
The owner of a South Dakota theater described it as "the best-performing South Dakota film since 'Dances with Wolves'" and film critic Louis Fowler named "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" the number one film of 2017, according to the news release.
The movie has had strong audience reviews and strong showing at the box office, including Minnesota towns like Mankato where 12 of the 15 shows were sold out in advance before the opening weekend. At the Landmark Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis, it was extended for four weeks and amassed around 3,500 admissions.
The film, which is 1 hour and 10 minutes, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at The Little Theatre in New London.
The ticket cost is $7.50 for all ages.
Ginny Lief, president of The Little Theatre, said showing the film here will help launch the theater's new goal of showing movies throughout the year on a new 10-by-17-foot screen using a rear projector recently purchased with the help of grants from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council and New London-Spicer Community Fund.
"We're just getting underway starting to show some movies," Lief said. "We're excited about doing some movies."
Watching movies at the historic Little Theatre isn't new. People in their 80s and 90s likely went to the theater to see flicks there when they were kids.
A number of movies are planned throughout the summer, including some fairly new releases like "Paddington" and "Wonder," starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. A two-day comedy film festival is on the schedule for July during New London Waterdays and on May 4 movies will be showing from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. during a "pajama party" geared for parents whose kids are going to the New London-Spicer prom that night.
Licensing fees for showing movies that aren't in the public domain can be expensive, Lief said.
Because "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" is an independent film, there were no licensing fees.
Lief said the topic of the movie was a "really good fit" for the audience here and the fact that the author of the novel lives in Bemidji brings the story even closer to home.
"Neither Wolf Nor Dog"
Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Saturday & 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Little Theatre in New London
Cost: $7.50 per ticket