Yakima actor Christopher Sweeney, left, stars in a Native American film adaptation of Neither Wolf Nor Dog, which opens tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Yakama Heritage Theater in Toppenish. Also pictured is Steven Lewis Simpson, the film’s director.
As of Thursday, March 2, 2017
TOPPENISH A new film, based on the acclaimed novel, Neither Wolf nor Dog, will premiere at 7 p.m. tomorrow in at the Yakama Heritage Theater, 100 Spiel Yi Loop, in a special screening.
What makes this a special event is that the movie adaptation of author Kent Nerburn’s novel is that it features Christopher Sweeney, who grew up in Yakima.
Sweeney is likely best known in the region for being awarded the Silver Star as a U.S. Marine in the Gulf War.
The film is directed by British director Steven Lewis Simpson, who said the film’s narrative begins in Bemidji, Minn., but is mostly set in western South Dakota.
The cast also includes the late Lakota elder, Dave Bald Eagle, 97, who died last July, as well as Richard Ray Whitman, Roseanne Supernault, Tatanka Means, Zahn McClarnon, best known from the television series Fargo and Longmire, and newcomer, Harlen Standing Bear Sr.
“Only Dave Bald Eagle could have played (the character) Dan,” Simpson said.
“He is beyond perfect. Audiences are falling in love with him on-screen. He saw it before he passed and said it’s the only film he’s been in about his people that told the truth,” Simpson said.
This is Simpson’s third feature film made in South Dakota.
All three of the main actors in this film encountered gunfire at some point in their lives.
Simpson said the late Dave Bald Eagle was left for dead during D-Day. Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War; the highest U.S. military medal of any established Hollywood actor today.
“Yet, Richard Ray Whitman spent more days under fire than these noted veterans, as an activist during the 71-day Siege of Wounded Knee in 1973, when the U.S. government fired up to half a million bullets at him and the other American Indian Movement activists,” Simpson said.
Dave Bald Eagle had relatives at the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Simpson said the film’s climax was shot at Wounded Knee, “…a sacred ground for our stars.”
Neither Wolf nor Dog, will play at the Toppenish theater through the weekend with showings at 2, 4 and 7 p.m. and on Thursday at 7 p.m.