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.

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.

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

Film based on Kent Nerburn’s award-winning autobiographical novel, ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder’

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.

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.

  • You can let the director know that his film hasn’t been seen by many people because it the advertising and the website they made for the film were completely botched. After much searching, I found the film’s website, but once there, I found the dates and locations to see the film, but there was NO TIME displayed. When I called the theatre to find out the time, they knew nothing about it because it was a ‘private’ screening. Even the theatre manager couldn’t tell me what time the movie was being shown. All I can say it, what a stupid way to promote a movie … don’t let people know what time you’re showing it. If your web developers and promoters don’t have the sense to let people know what time they’re showing their own movie, then how do they expect people to watch it? Absolutely stupid.
    Oh, and I did email the contact address on the website to try to find out what time the movie was showing …. no one ever responded. Again, more stupidity when it comes to promoting their own movie.
    In the end, I never saw the movie. Will wait until I can see it for free at some point ’cause I don’t support stupidity.

  • First L.

    I saw this film and it was very well made and powerful! We sold out for the showing in Sacramento and everyone I spoke to said they loved it.

  • Reader L.

    Gosh, what a terrible shame & what a waste! I love to support indie films, artists & writers. Makes me crazy when the support structure falls apart–or was never there in the first place.

  • Sherlynn M.

    It viewed at 1 or 2 theaters, that were too far for me to travel for a very limited time. It was never advertised, so I’m sure many like me, missed the opportunity to see the movie. I found out about its showing the last day it was showing, on Facebook, by a Native friend, I had to work so I missed the opperotunity. I personally think it needs to be shown again in all theater locations. I’m hoping Netflix will pick it up, since I see many of Native movies through them, or at least come out on DVD. But I worry once again, how much advertising will be released and if I will be able to receive release information to finally get to see the movie.
    (Wado),Thank You,
    Sherlynn, Arizona

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