I am not much for begging, and that is how this seems. But you must know that this is the moment that the film of Neither Wolf nor Dog can be made, and this moment will not come again.
Why? Because there is something intangible in the spirit of a Native elder, raised in the old ways with the old language, that cannot be faked, manufactured, created, or approximated. It is something that has to do with a fundamental and prior relationship to a world view and experience that even the most caring and spiritually attuned Native person raised in the modern era speaking English as a first language cannot fully understand. This is just part of the sad cultural reality of what the dominant culture has done to the people who first inhabited this land. I laud and honor and admire the Native people who fight to keep alive a past that America has tried to destroy, but the true elders — those whose very beings are inhabited by the old ways, who see through old eyes and live through the old beliefs and the old language — are passing quickly and will be soon gone.
We have such an elder in 95 year old Dave Bald Eagle, who has graciously agreed to play the role of Dan in the film of Neither Wolf nor Dog. But he will do more than “play” Dan. He will embody him. For he has lived him. He has known his heart and his sorrows. He has witnessed the passing of the ways and carries in his eyes the sadness and quiet acceptance, as well as the twinkle, of the untouchable peace that is at the heart of the Lakota spirit.
Director Steven Lewis Simpson and I, in our various ways and with the help of our Native friends, had spoken with and seen and considered every possible Native actor who could portray Dan. As I said in the last post, many have passed, and none has been right. But through good fortune and hard work and, we would like to believe, a bit of providence, we were lead to Dave.
Now we must make this film while he is still with us. It is that simple.
Please help us get this done. Filming, even at its most stripped down and efficent, is not cheap. Actors must be brought to the location, fed and housed and paid enough to survive. Cameras must be secured, film must be purchased, editing must be paid for. Forget payment for those of us who have given our heart to this project: we are operating on your donations and a dream.
But we believe in this film, just as you have believed in the book. Now we all need to work together to make this happen. Please go to Steven’s kickstarter and be part of this. This project is balancing on a knife edge. Without you, it does not happen. If it does not happen now, it may not happen at all.