Chalk up this year's Sundance Film Festival as overall "pretty good" for Drafthouse Films! First, they snapped up Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard's doc on Nick Cave, 20,000 Days On Earth, and, today, they've announced the acquisition of Jesse Moss' immensely powerful doc The Overnighters.
Filmmaker Moss spent 18 months in North Dakota as a one-man-documentary-crew intimately capturing extraordinary portraits of broken men and examining the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor,” and the response of one small town congregation and community when confronted by an influx of desperate strangers.
In the midst of the struggling economic climate of the United States, the oil business in small town Williston, North Dakota is booming. Thousands of desperate men and women are flocking to the region in search of work with little more than the clothes on their backs or the cars they arrived in. The great demand for housing has overwhelmed the community with many of those who have found employment without a place to live. Pastor Jay Reinke of Concordia Lutheran Church is under fire from the City Council, his community and the local newspapers for his heartfelt desire to open 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. When the town learns that Reinke is housing men with criminal records, and a mounting controversy peaks within the pastor’s personal life, even his diehard quest for humanity can’t stop things from spiraling vastly out of control.
Winner of the Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking at this year's Sundance Film Festival, The Overnighters has been called “one of the most remarkable examples of layered non-fiction storytelling to come along in some time” by Indiewire, who have also tapped Drafthouse Films as the ideal distributor for the title.
The Overnighters will hit theaters this winter, and a portion of all box office receipts will be donated to local affordable housing charities.