NORTHERN LIGHTS won the 1979 Camera d’Or and was hailed worldwide as a classic of American independent cinema. Directors John Hanson and Rob Nilsson used beautifully spare B&W images of the Dakota prairie to dramatize the battle that small wheat farmers waged against the bankers, railroad magnates and grain monopolists who were pushing them into bankruptcy. Their movement caught fire and their party – the Nonpartisan League – won the elections of 1916, but at great personal cost. In the words of the lead organizer, Ray Sorenson, “You struggle for a good life, but you never get to live it.”

July 13, 2023