This past Friday, the 2014 HIFF SummerDocs season wound down with Jesse Moss‘s latest film The Overnighters, which explores the ramifications of the hydraulic fracturing boom in Williston, North Dakota:
In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck when hydraulic fracturing in that region unlocks a vast oil field in the nearby Bakken shale. Upon arrival, however, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep – the town lacks the infrastructure to house even those who do find gainful employment. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is Hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” – as he calls them – to stay for a night, a week or sometimes even longer, sleeping on the floor, in the pews, and in their cars in the Church parking lot.
A modern-day “Grapes of Wrath,” The Overnighters premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking. The film will be released theatrically by Drafthouse Films in Fall 2014.
After the screening at Guild Hall, the audience enjoyed an insightful and entertaining conversation among the director, Jesse Moss, HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent, and Alec Baldwin, the SummerDocs series host.
We’d like to thank everyone for joining us at our SummerDocs screenings over the past couple of months. We hope to see you at the 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival in October, and then right back here next summer!