2014 MSPIFF Official Selection!
The Tuesday, November 25 at 4:15 screening of The Overnighters will be followed by a discussion and Q&A, with brief remarks about the film given by:
- Pastor Michael Laidlaw, Overcomers International Fellowship of St. Cloud
- Mikkel Beckmen, Director of Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness
- Mark Bliven, Director of Department of Corrections Risk Assessment and Community Notification Unit
Hosted by MNSORP
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 under the lure of the oil boom. However, busloads of newcomers chasing a broken American Dream step into the stark reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. The town lacks the infrastructure to house the overflow of migrants, even for those who do find gainful employment.
Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is driven to deliver 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 longer. They sleep on the floor, in the pews and in their cars in the church parking lot. Many who take shelter with Reinke are living on society’s fringes and with checkered pasts, and their presence starts affecting the dynamics of the small community. The congregants begin slinging criticism and the City Council threatens to shut the controversial Overnighters program down, forcing the pastor to make a decision which leads to profound consequences that he never imagined.
A modern-day Grapes of Wrath, award-winning documentary The Overnighters engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor” and the resistance that one small community feels when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers.
Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
"An onion of a movie. Composed of multiple layers — more than one of which might bring tears to your eyes — this shape-shifting documentary begins as one thing and ends as quite another." - The New York Times