Neither Wolf Nor Dog

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Neither Wolf Nor Dog is a feature film from Scottish director Steven Lewis Simpson adapted from a novel by Kent Nerburn which won a Minnesota Book Awards in 1995.[1] The film's film festival premiere was at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2016. Simpson released it himself directly into US cinemas in 2017 and it is still in first-run cinemas in 2019, which makes it the longest first-run theatrical release in the US in over a decade. [2]Due to the success of his self-distributed release, Simpson was asked to give a TEDx Talk on his innovative distribution model.[3] The film stars Chief Dave Bald Eagle in the lead role as a Lakota elder. He was 95-years-old at the time of filming and it was his first starring role in a film.[4]

The film also stars Christopher Sweeney as Nerburn, Richard Ray Whitman as Grover, Roseanne Supernault as the twins Wenonah and Danelle, Tatanka Means as Delvin, Zahn McClarnon as Billy and Harlen Standing Bear Sr as Jumbo.

The film was primarily shot on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which borders South Dakota and Nebraska as well as having scenes shot in Los Angeles and Rushville, Nebraska. One scene was shot in the same remote trailer house as a scene in the acclaimed film The Rider.

The film is notable for a climactic scene shot at Wounded Knee where the script and the novel was thrown away and Dave Bald Eagle improvised the whole scene from his heart, as his family had a closer connection to the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 than even the character he was playing. At the end of filming the scene he turned to Christopher Sweeney who was acting opposite him and said "I've been holding that in for 95-years"[5]. Dave Bald Eagle saw the film before he passed away and he said "it's the only film I've been in about my people that told the truth."

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 90% based on reviews from 10 critics.[6]

Simpson has also self-distributed the film into other markets like Canada, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria[7] so far.

Box Office Magazine profiled for the cinema industry in the US the success of the film's innovative release strategy. [1]


  1. ^ Hertzel, Laurie (31 October 2009), "Nerburn updates 'Wolf' travel tale", Minneapolis Star Tribune, archived from the original on 28 March 2015 Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ "Two Years and Counting: Lakota Drama 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog' Attracts a Small-Town Following". BoxOffice Pro. 2019-02-11. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  3. ^ TEDx Talks, How I created the most successful self-distributed US theatrical film | Steven Simpson | TEDxPlovdiv, retrieved 2019-01-02
  4. ^ Dylan Matthew (7 July 2016), "Film Review: Neither Wolf Nor Dog", Edinburgh Guide
  5. ^ Kennah, Olivia (2018-10-26). "Native American Film 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog' Opens at Star Stadium 11 in Rock Springs". SweetwaterNOW. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  6. ^ "Neither Wolf Nor Dog (2016)". Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  7. ^ "Шотландският режисьор Стивън Симпсън превзема салоните с "Нито вълк, нито куче" |". BGONAIR. Retrieved 2019-01-02.