USA – 2013 – 100 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY JESSE MOSS
“The world has arrived on my doorstep.” – Pastor Jay Reinke
Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.
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.
"A sobering must-see, THE OVERNIGHTERS speaks to the eternal dilemma of doing the right thing in a community beset by suspicion and fear."
- THE TORONTO STAR
“There’s more than enough desperation — beautiful at times, crushing at others — to be found in just about every other corner of his America.”
- THE NATIONAL POST
NNNN! "Moss is an incredibly sympathetic filmmaker, and his master stroke is to structure THE OVERNIGHTERS as a portrait of both an individual and a community.”
- NOW MAGAZINE
- NOW MAGAZINE (Interview with filmmaker Jesse Moss)
- DORK SHELF (Interview with filmmaker Jesse Moss)
"A strong documentary with an important story and countless layers to dissect and reflect upon, THE OVERNIGHTERS should be on your radar."
- THE TORONTO FILM SCENE
"THE OVERNIGHTERS feels like one of those rare, lightning in a bottle stories caught in a documentary.”
- WAY TOO INDIE
- WAY TOO INDIE (Interview with Jesse Moss)
"An undeniably powerful documentary about sacrifice, atonement, and humanity, THE OVERNIGHTERS is both intimate and universal and ultimately unforgettable."
- SCENE CREEK
“...a riveting film…”
- POST CITY NEWS
“...everything in this story of shattered dreams and an embattled community feels as though it could have come from the imagination of John Steinbeck.”
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
- THE NATIONAL POST (feature on doc filmmaking, THE OVERNIGHTERS, Interview with filmmaker Jesse Moss)
Rating: 9/10 - "Jesse Moss' THE OVERNIGHTERS is one of the best films of the year and an instant masterpiece of the documentary form."
- DIGITAL JOURNAL
- TORONTO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION (Interview with filmmaker Jesse Moss)