Friday, 27 October 2017 05:08

Powerful film adaptation of Neither Wolf nor Dog takes Alberta by storm

Written by  Demi Knight
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A landmark aboriginal film has come to southern Alberta to share its remarkably emotional story, and audiences are loving it. After a week in Lethbridge this phenomenal story moved southeast to Medicine Hat’s Monarch Theatre to start on Oct. 27 to share its message and leave viewers feeling moved.

 From the adaptation of the best-selling novel, Neither Wolf nor Dog the film was brought to the big screen this year to tell the story of a journey through contemporary and historical Lakota life and Culture.
Director of the movie adaptation of Neither Wolf nor Dog, Steven Lewis Simpson says this was an inspiring process that he was proud to be a part of, not just because of the story, but because of his actor’s real ties to the journey that the novel turned film explores.
“This film provided an extraordinary opportunity, I saw the film as an opportunity to step into a cultural space where it wasn’t my telling of the story but allowing this elder (Dave Bald Eagle) to take charge of the story and seeing where he would take it.”
The story that this landmark Aboriginal film works to tell, takes audiences on a venture of a white writer (Kent) with good intentions who travels to a distant Indian reservation and becomes sucked into the Native American Life with a 95-year old elder (Dan) by his side.
Over the course of the story, a bridge is created over the gap between white America and the Native American world as Kent embarks on a journey of Native American culture and perspective and the truth behind his people’s treatment of them.
With the story telling a tale that truly explores the unique perspective of an outsider getting introduced into the heart of Lakota County, and by paying homage to a devastating reality that many had experienced, Simpson says there was a truth to making the film he didn’t expect to find through his actors. 
“A lot of the time you end up doing things out of instinct,” says Simpson. “The film climaxes at wounded knee and goes into a lot of events that happened with the massacre and this film provided an extraordinary opportunity in that we had Dave bald Eagle playing Dan. Dave who was a 95-year old elder at the time of shooting has his own connections to wounded knee were even deeper than the character he was playing and that’s what made it so special.”
As the film adaptation of the novel came together, with actors so invested in the story through their own and their family’s experiences, an emotionally moving picture was created that since it’s release has left audiences throughout North America stunned.
“I think it’s a very solid film but the reason its getting astonishingly good reviews is Bald Eagle and his performance as something you’ve never seen on screen before… There’s a part at wounded knee when we were filming and he turned and said he had been holding that in for 95 years and it was so powerful for him and all the while you as the audience is experiencing this cultural moment. It really captures a powerful moment in time”
However, as the film makes its way across north America, beating out Hollywood hits as it goes, it’s time in Alberta has seen an extra special response.
With its rich First Nations culture and East Albertan-born actress Rosanne Supernault of Métis of Cree descent displaying a superior performance as two twin characters within the film, bringing the movie to her home has been an experience for both the province and her, says Simpson as he highlighted the cities want to bring the movie into their communities for everyone to see.
“The Lethbridge theatre owner actually reached out to us and pursued the film as well as Medicine Hat and we’re also in communication with Calgary and Edmonton right now to further this film’s reach. It’s been great that we’ve had the opportunity to be in these places and once the film proves itself it just snowballs through the region and that’s what’s happening in Alberta,” says Simpson of the decision to bring the movie to Alberta and tell this extra-ordinary story as it goes.

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