Tribal indie film screened in Madras
The successful Native American indie film "Neither Wolf Nor Dog," based on Portland author Ken Nerburn's award-winning novel, will be shown at Madras Cinema Sept. 1-7.
The film stars Lakota elder David Bald Eagle, a D-Day survivor, who was 95 at the time of shooting, Christopher Sweeney, who received a Silver Star medal during service in the Gulf War, and Richard Ray Whitman, who was at the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee for 71 days.
Scottish filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson's brought Nerburn's novel to the big screen, and production was financed by fans of the book through Kickstarter.
Because of the age of its star, David Bald Eagle, the movie had to be shot in just 18 days, and it was filmed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. (Bald Eagle passed away in July 2016, at the age of 97.)
The film shows the beauty, tragedy, humor and power of Lakota Country. In the story, a Lakota elder and his friend take a white author into the heart of Lakota Country to encourage him to see their reality, so it can be recorded into a book the old man can leave future generations.
Bald Eagle had relatives who were killed in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. So, when it came time for the climax scene, shot at the site of Wounded Knee, the script was thrown away and Bald Eagle improvised the whole dialogue.
"He had lived the history even more than the character, so no writer could improve on what he could say about the tragedy," the movie's press release said.
"Neither Wolf Nor Dog" has played in 15 theaters in Washington, and is slated to be shown in 12 Oregon theaters, including ones in Madras, Sisters, Bend and Pendleton -- far beyond what it typical for an independent film.