The film was presented by The Emily Dickinson Museum for Amherst College Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 2019. The film also has screened at Harvard College, Brown University, Yale University, Bryn Mawr College, The Folger Shakespeare Library in DC/ Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration, and at The Society for the Study of American Women Writers. It was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in support of its historical research.
A packet on the history behind the film is available for classes.
"A powerful film that so eloquently disrupts the traditional narrative of one of the best American poets of all time. Your movie made me re-think, re-consider, and re-evaluate the way that I have read, analyzed and taught Emily's work in my eleven years of being an English teacher. I will never read her poetry the same way again, and I think the film should be mandatory viewing for any teacher, student, reader or lover of poetry.
The students in attendance were drawn to so many aspects of the film. In particular, they were very troubled by the way that Emily's poetry was treated by publishers...They also loved the haunting sequence of poetic dialogue between Emily and the fallen black soldier -- truth / beauty. I had several students tell me that they want their parents to see the film, and they can't wait to read more of Emily's poetry."
-- Josh Adler (Educator); screened for grades 6-9; Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, LA
“See this film! It’s Emily at last! How long has this genius been shut up within a hardened shell of created story and myth? “Wild Nights With Emily” takes an axe to that myth, and the warm living woman steps out...joy abounding”
-- Marie Howe, Poet and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
"Wild Nights With Emily is a wonderful film to show in schools, for students young and old! I loved this film-- it's essential viewing for all students of literature."
-- Natalie Goldberg, world renowned writing teacher, author of “Writing Down The Bones”
"Wild Nights With Emily is the best and most historically faithful way to teach Emily Dickinson to my students. The film is a fresh, funny, alive and also heartbreaking depiction of Dickinson informed by painstaking scholarship. Based on Dickinson's own writings more than others' writings about Dickinson, the film has an accuracy that other on screen depictions have lacked. "Wild Nights.." piques students' interest in a woman who was funny, deep-feeling, serious, bold, and determined in her writing and in her loving. The film contains Dickinson's poetry and letters from beginning to end. Every audience to whom I've shown the movie (including some in elementary school and some seniors) has wanted to read more of Dickinson's poetry, and many write poems in response to the movie. Wild Nights With Emily brings to life Emily's poetry in ways that no other filmed version does. I am thrilled to have it as part of my teaching materials."
-- Professor Martha Nell Smith, curator of the online Dickinson Electronic Archives, and co-author of "Open Me Carefully"
“Wild Nights with Emily feels at once revelatory and a total delight, a surprise for both for literature geeks and those who didn’t do their required reading in school. This might even inspire both groups to return to her writing, going beyond “Because I could not stop for Death.” With this comedy, Olnek has brought the beloved, if often misunderstood, genius to life."
-- Film critic Kimber Myers, on Wild Nights With Emily for The Playlist and CBS.com's "Best Films of 2019"