Lecturer Jesse Moss' 'Overnighters': More Dramatic, Gripping Than Most Fiction

Monday, December 22, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- At the Dolby Screening Room last Monday, December 15, sound designer, editor and professor at San Francisco State’s department of Cinema Pat Jackson introduced filmmaker Jesse Moss, and said that after his movie was shown, there would be time for the vigorous Q&A she was expecting. That was an understatement. The documentary “The Overnighters” is set in booming Williston, North Dakota, where fracking has transformed the economy if not the desolate and depressed mood of the town. Would-be workers from all over the country, hoping to land high-paying jobs in oil extraction, are arriving. There’s not enough housing; prices are inflated. Many are disappointed and homeless. The pastor of a local church allows these “overnighters” to sleep in his church, which is where the story starts. The documentary describes the mood of the place and its people, in particular the pastor. But the story that unfolds is more dramatic and gripping than most fiction.