Steven Lewis Simpson took his crowd-sourced indie-film Neither Wolf Nor Dog on a guerilla campaign self-distributed national tour, using the internet and Facebook as a ticketing agent and scheduling guide. As a result of his efforts, the film's opening in Minneapolis at The Lagoon Theatre on May 26 had a higher admissions that the screen average for any other movie in the US on Memorial Day Weekend.
“The Lagoon’s opening weekend of Neither Wolf Nor Dog was the best weekend gross in the entire country. It’s nice to see that beautifully told stories can still find an audience.” Landmark Theatre’s PR executive, Hugh Wronksi.
“It’s an incredible thing,” said Simpson to ICMN. “As we headed into week two at the Lagoon in Minneapolis, we gave thanks to the amazing people online that have helped get the word out.”
Due to the film’s success, it garnered bookings in Minneapolis, Denver, Tacoma, Aberdeen, South Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska all the Goen theaters on the Navajo Nation, Tulsa, Bellingham, Billings and there is currently more to follow.
Director Steven Lewis Simpson was encouraged by the guerilla marketing campaign. "We are very happy that it looks like the self distribution of Neither Wolf Nor Dog is really working. Looks like we should hit at least 100 cinemas -- each with an average 2-week run.
“Thanks belongs to our amazing audience and a great cast [that includes] Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman, Zahn McClarnon, Roseanne Supernault, Tatanka Means, Harlen D. Standing Bear Sr., Josee Bald Eagle and most importantly, the incredible Dave Bald Eagle," he said.
David Cournoyer, a Rosebud Sioux tribal member, and Scott Russell (of Healing Minnesota Stories) wrote a meaningful Opinion piece in the May 30 Minneapolis “Star Tribune”.
“The film adaptation of the book ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’ chronicles how a white Minnesota man answers an Indian elder’s long-distance call for help. The request is difficult, involving the same wrongs uncovered at Walker: abuse, genocide and no systemic acknowledgment of the history or the trauma. The white man initially fights the calling: he has other things to do and there are huge cultural divides. He struggles to come to terms with his own great-grandparents’ role in the history. But chugging along together in an old Buick across reservation land and other boundaries, the white man and the Indian elder do find their way in helping each other.”
The film has received rave reviews since it debuted at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
English reviewer Dylan Matthews wrote “Neither Wolf Nor Dog is an impressive achievement and feels like an important story made with passion and deserves to be seen by audiences beyond the festival circuit.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune offered this succinct review. “By the time the end credits arrive, the characters of this modest, crowdfunded feature are practically unforgettable.”
As Neither Wolf Nor Dog continues into Colorado, Washington, Montana and more, Simpson is also having one-off screenings in major markets if the audience purchases tickets in advance at www.tugg.com for theaters in Cincinnati, OH and Pittsburgh, PA and Kansas City, MO.
For further information, check the National Screening Schedule on Facebook.