After almost a year of festival screenings (Mannheim, Chicago, Belgrade, Filmex, Denver, Cannes (where it received “Best First Feature Award”), Melbourne, Moscow, Portugal) and rave reviews, John Hanson and Rob Nilsson's first feature comes home to the Bay Area: its production company is San Francisco-based Cine Manifest. Northern Lights will begin its Bay Area theatrical run on September 28 at the Surf Theatre in San Francisco.
The Chicago Film Festival, which gave Northern Lights its American Premiere last November, described the low-budgeted independent feature as follows:
“The sweep of the Great Plains, the intimacy of a family dinner, the passion of angry farmers demanding their rights... all these are recreated in this documentary-style narrative of life in North Dakota in 1915. Filmed in high-contrast black and white, this film is already gaining a reputation as a new Grapes of Wrath. There are echoes of Dreyer in the stark landscapes, and a touch of Flaherty in the searching close-ups. The movie's jubilant climax is one of the great moments in cinema.”
Hanson and Nilsson drew on the recollections of their own grandfathers who lived in North Dakota, and except for three professional actors, the cast consists largely of North Dakota farmers, who also participated in every phase of production and provided scene ideas.
Either John Hanson or Rob Nilsson will be present for discussion following this sneak preview.