In June 2015, POV asked The Overnighters filmmaker Jesse Moss what's happened since the cameras stopped rolling.
What are some of the main subjects of The Overnighters doing now?
Jay Reinke still lives in Williston, North Dakota with his wife Andrea, and his two youngest children. He works full time for an oil field supply company specializing in pipeline products. He no longer worships at Concordia Lutheran Church. Watch a video update with Jay Reinke »
Michael Batten returned home to Georgia and separated from his wife. He now has custody of his daughter Taaler. He found work retrofitting coal-fired power plants in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. While he's on the road working, his mother and brother's wife care for Taaler. He recently purchased his first laptop computer so he can better communicate with his daughter when he's away from home.
After recuperating from his accident, Keegan Edwards left Wisconsin and travelled to Phoenix and found a job at a fast food restaurant. He lost his job, and was homeless for a month. With the help of his parents, he returned home to Antigo, Wisconsin. Keegan's second child, daughter Aria, was born in December 2015. He is planning to move to Merrill, Wisconsin with his wife Sabrina and children, and intends to go to school to study culinary arts, and eventually buy a food truck and travel across the United States. He currently spends his time caring for his children.
Has The Overnighters been screened in Williston or in North Dakota? What was the reaction like there?
We screened the film for the community in November, at the Grand Theater, in downtown Williston. The Williston Herald helped us to promote the screening, and we invited the editor of the newspaper and the former mayor, Ward Koeser, to join us for a discussion after the screening. It was incredible. A big audience turned out, and a vigorous conversation followed the screening, including both members of the congregation in the audience and former Overnighters. The audience received the film positively. The film went on to screen for two weeks in Williston.
You can read an article I wrote about the screening for Indiewire »
What is life like in Williston today, now that the rush for jobs and the oil boom has slowed down?
Since I made the film, the price of oil has dropped precipitously. As a result, the rate of growth has slowed — the boom has leveled out. Although people continue to come, it's much harder to find work. There have been layoffs. And affordable housing is still hard to find, despite the volume of new construction.
You've talked about the impact the film had on you, from confronting angry citizens in Williston, to sleeping in the church for six months. What have you taken away from those experiences that's stuck with you since the end of the film?
I think mostly about Jay's compassion, and his willingness to risk so much for a cause and a community he believed in helping. Jay would be the first to admit he made mistakes, but he did the right thing, the brave thing. I value our continued friendship, and consider the experience of making the film to be a profound education about the economic reality of America today.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on a film about Burt Reynolds in the 1970s. It's a very different kind of movie.