Northern Lights, winner of the Camera d’Or for Best First Feature at the Cannes International Film Festival and many other prizes around the world, is a classic American independent film. Against a backdrop of a bitter winter on the Dakota prairie and the equally brutal economic forces of 1915, a story unfolds which pits small Midwestern farmers against “the powers that be” - bankers, railroad men, big grain dealers and an entrenched political machine. Based on the fictional diary of farmer Ray Sorenson, Northern Lights chronicles the struggle of these small farmers as they fight to save their farms, their families and their very way of life. By banding together in a grassroots movement - the little known Nonpartisan League - Ray and his cohorts confront great odds and Ray’s own personal doubts and dilemmas in his love for the beautiful Inga.
Using beautifully spare means, directors John Hanson and Rob Nilsson have fashioned a film abundantly rich in human emotion, drama and intimacy. And through their heartfelt tale, they have produced an enduring anthem to both the strength and the triumph of the human spirit.
Produced, Written, Directed and Edited
by John Hanson and Rob Nilsson
A Production of Cine Manifest/San Francisco
A New Front Films/Minneapolis Release
Starring Robert Behling (Ray), Joe Spano (John)
and Susan Lynch (Inga)
Release Date: 1978
SISTERS: PORTRAIT OF A BENEDICTINE COMMUNITY
Shot over two years, SISTERS follows the lives of the women of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. The story is told by the Sisters themselves—at work, prayer and leisure—as they pursue a balanced life based on the Rule of St. Benedict and face an uncertain future with spirit, conviction and wit.
Selected for national broadcast on the PBS series, Independent Lens.
Producers/John Hanson, Jack Lind and Tom Livingston
In the moving and courageous tradition of Norma Rae and North Country, Wildrose tells the very special story of a strong-willed woman’s fight for her own identity and independence. June Lorich (Lisa Eichhorn) works at the Mesabi Mine on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. After an emotionally and physically abusive marriage, June is determined to make it on her own. Hard work and good pay give her the first financial independence she’s ever known, but the worsening steel industry economy forces major cutbacks and June is bumped down to an all-male pit. She becomes the brunt of harassment and hostilities while romantically pursued by Rick (Tom Bower), one of the men on her crew. When layoffs come and Rick returns to his former life as a commercial fisherman on Lake Superior, Billy (Steve Yoakam), June’s abusive ex-husband reappears and June is forced to fight for her job, her life and her love for Rick. And, finally, to make the most difficult decision she has ever faced. Set against the backdrop of the dramatic landscapes of the Iron Range and Lake Superior, Wildrose is visually rich, emotionally compelling and a unique American independent film.
Wildrose was screened at film festivals around the world, including London, Berlin, Toronto and Venice, where it was a finalist for the International Critic’s Prize, and was broadcast nationally on HBO after its theatrical release.
Director / John Hanson
Screenplay / John Hanson and Eugene Corr
Producer / Sandra Schulberg
A Producion of New Front Films
Sisters: Portrait of a Benedictine Community