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A Conversation with 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog' Director and Writer Steven Lewis Simpson

Steven Lewis Simspon, director and writer of 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog' talks about his creative process as a writer and filmmaker.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog (Roaring Fire Films), is the most recent film based on author Kent Nerburn’s award-winning autobiographical novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder.

As reported by ICMN, Steven Lewis Simpson took his crowd-sourced indie-film Neither Wolf Nor Dog on a national tour this year, using the internet and social media for promotions. As a result of his efforts, the film’s opening in Minneapolis at The Lagoon Theatre on May 26 was a big success.

“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” said Landmark Theatre’s PR executive, Hugh Wronksi.

See Related Article about Neither Wolf Nor Dog: Indie Native Film Beats Hollywood Stats at Box Office

The film is by Scottish writer, director and producer Steven Lewis Simpson. During a rare break in a bumper-to-bumper schedule, here is what he had to say about the film and his creative process as a writer and filmmaker.

What was it about Kent Nerburn’s novel that compelled you to put this story on film?

For me, any story that takes an audience deep into an elder’s reality, and especially into the continuing echoes of the massacre at Wounded Knee, will forever be an important one.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog is doing well in a way my other films haven’t, and I’ve had others that were seen by more people. But film is a business that will chew you up if you invest too much energy in success or failure. The danger then is that creatively you don’t take enough risks. Neither Wolf Nor Dog was creatively a very easy project. The hard part was from the logistics standpoint.

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I have spent 18 years filming three features and a TV show and hanging out in many parts of the Indigenous world of North America. I can’t even express how much I have grown through all those friendships and experiences.

What’s your favorite project thus far?

All my projects were different, so it’s hard to judge a favorite. Neither Wolf Nor Dog cannot be eclipsed in terms of the four people I worked with each day—they are immense human beings. A Thunder-Being Nation was my most epic project, so I [will] always carry a deep satisfaction about that. My film Retribution is the one I enjoy watching the most.

If you could collaborate with any artist from any time and place in history, who would you choose and why?

I would collaborate with Marlon Brando. It would be a great challenge to experience his genius first-hand. And I would love sharing stories, as we had mutual friends.

What do you hope your creative legacy will be?

I hope creatively my legacy will be a body of work that will have opened people’s hearts and minds and [removed] barriers by pushing the artform in new [directions].

What’s next on the creative horizon?

My next film will most likely be a very edgy, raw character film set mostly in Eastern Europe. It couldn’t be more different than Neither Wolf Nor Dog.