Neither Wolf Nor Dog Celebrates Record Breaking Year for 2017

Courtesy InYo Entertainment Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, and Richard Ray Whitman on the road in 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog.'

Vincent Schilling

Native Feature Film: Neither Wolf Nor Dog Celebrates Record Breaking Year for 2017

‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’ celebrates most successful self-distributed feature film of 2017 including the longest theatrical run in U.S.

With a theatrical run of 49 weeks, Steven Lewis Simpson’s adaptation of the bestselling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, which opened in January 2017, is celebrating the longest theatrical run of any movie released in 2017.

The main boasting point for Neither Wolf Nor Dog is that the film is an independent audience-financed and self-distributed release. The film was launched in small towns and went on to outperform Hollywood blockbusters in numerous multiplexes.

According to the film’s producer and director, Simpson, ‘No other filmmaker distributed movie has performed anywhere near as well in 2017.”

Courtesy Roaring Fire Films

Steven Lewis Simspon — director of ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’ — on the set with Native actor Dave Bald Eagle. Novelist Kent Nerburn observes from the background.

Hugh Wronski, Senior Publicist for Lagoon theaters in Minneapolis, MN said, “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.”

In addition to the outpouring of support for the film in theaters, the Rotten Tomatoes movie site scored the film 4.7 out of 5 stars, which Simpson says is “a higher number than any Hollywood blockbuster in 2017.”

Courtesy Roaring Fire Films

Movie Poster of ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’

The filmmakers of Neither Wolf Nor Dog also cited a higher proportion of Native-owned cinemas playing the film than any film before. “Around 10% of theaters were owned by tribes, or tribal members, including the Ak-Chin in Maricopa,” said Simpson.

“Hollywood has a simplistic view of the U.S. audience,” said Simpson. “I flipped the usual model of major cities first to first land the film in the heart of its audience. I knew we could be a big fish in a small pond rather than a minnow in an ocean. Thanks to a remarkable groundswell of audience support, we’re no longer perceived as a minnow.”

Simpson also says Neither Wolf Nor Dog has been a big hit with schools, particularly the Bureau of Indian Education schools that have taken up to 200-300 pupils to see the film in a day.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog is a film based on the best-selling Native American novel by Kent Nerburn that takes audiences on a road trip through contemporary and historical Lakota life and culture. The film is worth noting for its simplicity and attention paid to Native culture. The film had 18 shooting days on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a crew of 2 and a 95-year-old lead Native American actor, Dave Bald Eagle.

Courtesy InYo Entertainment

Native American actor, Dave Bald Eagle in the film ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’

Bald Eagle, died at the age of 97 in 2016. For a time, his obituary was the most-read story in the world on the BBC. NPR’s All Things Considered team debated whether Bald Eagle was “the world’s most interesting man.”