Deia Scholsberg is a self-described “filmmaker, photographer, graphic artist, expeditioner, conservationist, idealist-realist” currently living in Bozeman. Backyard, her new 30 minute film, is screening today at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California.
The themes of the film are similar to the ones we saw in the video created by the Dakota Resource Council. Backyard tells the stories of five people in four states. They all have very different backgrounds and perspectives, but all are at odds with the extraction occurring around them. Despite their differences, unnerving similarities emerge from their shared experiences with the massive unseen entity that is “the industry.” Brief, animated interludes remind us to ask the bigger picture questions as well.
Two of the characters are in Montana and North Dakota. Here’s Schlosberg’s descripton of their stories:
Dick is in eastern Montana. Their family has been in the area for generations farming the whole time. They have surface rights and water rights, but no mineral rights. So they got…drilling right out their windows, which is affecting their cows and livelihoods. The cows have fallen in the trenches from the pipelines. There are constant dust clouds from the road. But the [industry] also treats the road with chemicals to reduce the dust, but it all gets kicked up anyways.
And that’s where Jacki is too. She’s also on the Bakken, but in North Dakota. She’s a rancher, certified organic, very mindful of the inputs cows were getting, and she farmed as well. Surrounding her property they drilled, her stream became contaminated; they found that it didn’t freeze in the winter anymore – and we’re talking like –30 degrees. Her cows starting getting sick and died. Her dogs got sick and died. Barn cats got sick and died.
I’ve sent her a note asking if there might be an opportunity to screen the entire film in Red Lodge. I’ll let you know if she responds. In the meantime, here’s more video from Backyard. My guess is that this section is about the two people described above.