My name is Steven Lewis Simpson and have been a feature film director for 20 years. In the last 15 years much of the work I have produced has been in Native American communities. For the last three and a half years I have been working with the author Kent Nerburn to bring his acclaimed novel Neither Wolf Nor Dog to the big screen as a movie after he approached me with the novel after we met on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after a screening of my movie Rez Bomb that was shot there.
“This is one of those rare works that once you've read it, you can never look at the world, or at people, the same way again. It is quiet and forceful and powerful.” — American Indian College Fund
We have much in place and in part because our dream actor for the crucial role of Dan is elderly we feel it is essential we shoot the film before the weather in South Dakota starts to turn at the end of October. Because the story is a simple one of a road trip between three men through the stunning landscapes of Lakota Country it is actually a story we can film on a micro-budget without compromising much on production value since we hope to use the same cast and locations regardless of budget. Apart from Kent and I all the majority of key figures around the project are from Indian Country.
The novel has been immensely popular within Indian Country and beyond and for a number of years it has had the reputation with many in Hollywood of being the great unmade contemporary Indian Country script. Kent Nerburn has published 16 books of creative non-fiction and essays, focusing on Native American and American culture and general spirituality including two sequel novels to Neither Wolf Nor Dog.
We are still looking to raise money also from investors and we would love to hear from anyone with industry contacts or know of anyone who might be interested in a bigger scale. We are seeking just enough funds here to get the film shot in the most simple way but more resources would make a huge difference in the resources at our disposal during production.
Our producing team includes the greatly experienced producer Larry Pourier who lives on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and whose credits include Skins and Imprint, both feature films shot on Pine Ridge.Lakota actor Zahn McClarnon and the veteran actor/producer Tom Bower are at the core of our producing team. We are looking for the majority of our support team to be drawn from a talented group of people we know on and around Pine Ridge.
Our perfect actor for the lead role of the elder Dan is Lakota actor Dave Bald Eagle who is 95 but in amazing health. Everyone who know Dave and the novel feels there is no more perfect Dan out there. For Grover we have the extraordinary John Trudell lined up. For Kent we have Chris Sweeney, a highly regarded actor from the stage as well as screen who I first saw on stage in a Native Voices at The Autry play. He has a rare ability to enter that vigilant, compassionate space that personifies Kent as a character.
All three of our leads are Veterans. Dave was in the 82nd Airborne in WW2 including Anzio and D-Day, John served in the Navy during Vietnam and Chris was awarded the Silver Star (one of the military's highest honors) during the Gulf War.
We will be announcing more cast soon and anticipate having a some of the best native actors in our cast.
DAVE BALD EAGLE - DAN
Born in a tipi in 1919, Dave Bald Eagle lived with his grandfather, White Feather, and spoke only Lakota until he went to school when he was 12 years old. When World War II broke out, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. He and his unit jumped behind the lines at Anzio and fought their way to the beachhead. On D-Day the 82nd Airborne, including Dave, were mistakenly dropped over German lines. "We were just like clay pigeons, coming down," Dave recalls. "Most of my outfit was wiped out." Before he even hit the ground, Bald Eagle was riddled with bullets. He survived but he was so badly shot up that the Army refused to let him re-enlist.
Afterward the war Dave became a race car driver, played semi-pro baseball in Minneapolis-St. Paul and went into pro rodeo, riding bareback broncs and bulls. Dave also acted in several movies in the 40s and 50s, including "River of No Return" with Marilyn Monroe and also with Errol Flynn. He said he and Monroe went out dancing during one break in filming. He traveled to Europe to rodeo with Casey Tibbs' Wild West Show in 1958 and met a young Belgian actress, Josee Kesteman, in Brussels during the world's fair. They married, moved back to the reservation and started raising horses and children.
In the 90's he was made First Chief of the United Indigenous Nations, a society of chiefs from various reservations. He has ridden in the Days of '76 Parade at Deadwood for more than 70 years and still appears occasionally in films, most recently in "Into the West" and "Imprint."
CHRISTOPHER SWEENEY - KENT
Christopher was born in an Indian Health Service (IHS) Hospital and raised in Yakima, WA. After graduating from high school he served a four year enlistment in the US Marine Corps. It was his military experiences; traveling extensively abroad and fighting in the first Gulf war (receiving a Silver Star for gallantry in action) that so profoundly shaped who he is as an artist today.
It wasn't until his early thirties, after completing a four year enlistment in the Marine Corp and graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Political Science, that he realized where his passions lie, finding himself compelled to pick up the brush. With no formal training to speak of, he has relied artistically on his aesthetic instincts and obedience to what he refers to as the “creative imperative”. His fine art paintings have recently shown work at The Fremont Gallery in South Pasadena, CA and Pilates and Arts gallery in Echo Park, CA.
In the early part of 2012 Christopher received a grant through the United States Veterans Artists Alliance for a proposed multi media art project aimed at illuminating the plight of veteran homelessness in Los Angeles. He is engaged with projects utilizing the arts to help veterans. Christopher is also currently an actor in film, theater and commercials.
TATANKA MEANS - DELVIN
Tatanka Means is an award-winning actor, stand-up comedian and motivational speaker from Chinle, Arizona. He represents the Oglala Lakota, Omaha and Navajo Nations. His most recent movie credits include feature films The Host, A Million Ways to Die in The West, Tiger Eyes and guest starring in Banshee on Cinemax, NBC's The Night Shift and ABC's new drama, Killer Women by executive producer Sofia Vegara.
Aside from acting Tatanka has been performing comedy internationally. Means has also developed and launched his own screen printing company, Tatanka Clothing. Apparel designed and created to uplift and inspire cultural awareness. Tatanka was recently recognized and awarded for his dedicated efforts with the Entrepreneur of The Year Award by the American Indian Business Leaders. He has become a much-needed role model for all American Indian youth.
We have tried to create a broad range of incentives. Many of them are available at the end of this campaign. We are open to create other incentives that may fit peoples needs. For example doing screenings events for youth, or talks or other kinds of screenings. Message us with suggestions. Take as many as the incentives as you would like. The more the better.
Our target is the minimum we are looking to raise but the more we raise the better we can do things like afford to fly in more great actors from further away or can afford more time in the schedule to get things perfect or afford better camera equipment so we hope we can raise a lot more than this small target.
Our rewards include DVDs of my previous films in Indian Country.
Rez Bomb is a love story thriller starring Tamara Feldman, Trent Ford, Russell Means, and Chris Robinson.
A Thunder-Being Nation was made over 13 years and is the most comprehensive documentary looking at the past and present of an Indian Reservation (Pine Ridge). The Ultimate Edition DVD included 10 hours of extras with interviews with elders that have passed on and many other things.
The Hub is a fun 13 part TV series celebrating the best of Indian Countries arts and entertainment scene and has many of its biggest stars as guests.
The Ticking Man is an action thriller set in Scotland and is Steven Lewis Simpson's most widely distributed feature film having sold to around 70 countries.
Retribution is the stand alone sequel to The Ticking Man and is also a thriller set in Scotland. It is Simpson's favorite of all the features he has directed.
We shall mostly be filming at stunning locations on Standing Rock, Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations. The film shows the incredible beauty and humbling nature of the landscapes of he region. Dave Bald Eagle lives in the heart of where we shall be filming and personifies the level of authenticity that is at the heart of our approach.
Our budget may be small by film standards but we are still very pleased that we shall be employing as well as providing experience for local talent as well as bringing money into the local economies of the reservations we shall be filming on with accommodation, food, location fees, prop hire and many other things. To me the most exciting way of helping the economic development of these impoverished areas (Pine Ridge with 80+% unemployment) is through hiring people to be involved in such a wonderful creative journey. My previous work has also been sold by stores all around Lakota country so the end product helps add to the local economies to.
PLEASE SHARE AND HELP US GET THE WORD OUT. THANKS
Customer Votes of novel on Amazon.com
“Realists wanting a truthful, fiery, and ultimately cleansing dialogue between Indian and white will definitely want [this book].”
“An imaginative leap that encompasses several genres in its successful attempt to convey some aspects of American Indian life and truth to American readers.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A chronicle extraordinary for its difficult truths and its stunning depths. . . . This is a sobering, humbling, cleansing, loving book, one that every American should read.”
— Yoga Journal
“I expected to find Black Elk between these covers. What I found instead was more modern, more alive, and every bit as poignant and moving.”
— NAPRA Review
Risks and challenges
Any film is a hard thing to get off the ground. But with Neither Wolf Nor Dog we have a team that knows the area well and between us have been involved in four feature length productions shot on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the surrounding area. The director has years of experience in making features with limited resources while still achieving a significant production value on screen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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