Hot Docs 2014: The Overnighters

Overnighters A booming oil industry results in flocks of people migrating to the town of Williston, North Dakota, in the search for work. With many of these people having no place to stay, Jay Reinke, Pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church, begins an “overnighters” program, where he allows outsiders to either sleep inside the church or park their cars or RVs in the parking lot.  However, as the number of overnighters grow, the rest of the community begin to become wary of these outsiders.  When some revelations about some of the people Reinke has been sheltering becomes public, it endangers both the overnighters program and Reinke’s career as Pastor. Pastor Jay Reinke is man that tries to live by the Christian rule of “love thy neighbour.”  Despite opposition from the community and his own parishioners, Reinke is determined to give these outsiders looking for work shelter.  However, Reinke’s problem is that he doesn’t say “no” very well and is willing to shelter people, even if they have a somewhat checkered past, which may get him into trouble if made public. While The Overnighters does focus on some of the individuals that came to Williston to find work, the main subject of the film is undoubtedly Reinke.  In fact, the film progressively moves from being solely about the overnighters program to being about Reinke and how he fits within the town’s community. In many ways, Reinke is becoming an outsider himself, especially as the town, and even some of the people he’s been sheltering, begin to turn against him.  Then comes a revelation towards the end, which turns everything else on its head. Overall, The Overnighters is a very well done documentary about a man who risks everything to help those in need.  9 | REALLY LIKED IT Screenings:

  • Fri, April 25, 9:00 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
  • Sat, April 26, 1:00 PM – ROM Theatre
  • Fri, May 2, 7:00 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).