WITH a 95-year-old lead actor, a limited budget and tiny crew, Neither Wolf Nor Dog is far from the customary box-office smash.

Aberdonian director Steven Lewis Simpson’s adaptation of the best-selling novel has defied Hollywood logic in an unorthodox and captivating manner.

The film, which was shot over 18 days and self-distributed in small towns, features Lakota elder Dave Bald Eagle and follows the story of a white author sucked into the heart of contemporary Native American life in the sparse lands of the Dakotas.

It will be screened at The Tower Digital Arts Centre this month, along with a special Q&A with the director, in the latest stop of a Scotland-wide tour as it continues to attract widespread critical acclaim.

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For director Steven, the key to its success is simple.

“Dave is one of the most unique characters anyone has ever seen and is truly a remarkable person,” he said.

“The audience fall in love with him.

“It was essential to get the tone right. People in Hollywood have been trying to get the novel made into a film for years, but if it was made in Hollywood, you wouldn’t have got Dave.

“The low budget meant we had the most important element, which was him.”

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Lead actor Dave’s emotional connection to the tales told in Neither Wolf Nor Dog ensure the film’s poignant moments are not lost in Hollywood-style dramatisation.

He lost several members of his family in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890 when US army troops killed between 250 and 300 Natives.

Returning to the site to shoot the film’s closing scene provided a fitting finale for the epic narrative.

“Dave improvised the whole final scene and by the time we were finished he said he had been holding it in for 95 years,” Steven said.

“That was extremely powerful and it said something about the trust between us all. The Hollywood version would have paled in comparison.

“I think the reason it’s doing so well is not because of the filmmaking. People are voting with their hearts.

"Some people, when they hear it’s independent, think it’s kind of ‘art-housey’, but my film isn’t that, it’s much more than that.

“The audience feels like they have gone through an extraordinary journey. Hollywood used to be like that but now they’re not satisfying that need within the audience.

“There are issues with me being a white guy telling a Native American story, but my work has always been received beautifully by the communities.

“I knew that going in, I’m not imposing any fictions on it. I am going to the heart of it.

“It would take a brave person to question a single word out of Dave’s mouth because he has lived it. It wasn’t worth doing without him.”

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Another Scottish link comes in the form of Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, from which the sacred Ghost Shirt was repatriated to the Lakota people almost 20 years ago, after being taken as a trophy from the 19th century massacre.

Steven added: “I’m convinced the film is going to do better in the UK, as people in Europe are much more knowledgeable about contemporary films than in the US.

“It’s still a sort of dirty little secret in America and swept under the carpet over there.

“It’s so touching to know that you can create a work that is changing how people feel about things or look at the world in a different way.

“When you put as much work into it as we have then it is immensely pleasing.”

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Steven will be in attendance at the Helensburgh showing for a special Q and A session.

The film and Q&A are on Sunday, May 26 at 7.30pm at the Tower. Visit helensburghboxoffice.com.