Thousands of souls flock to America’s Northern Plains seeking work in the oil fields. "White Earth" is the tale of an oil boom seen through unexpected eyes. Three children and an immigrant mother brave a cruel winter and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of life in the nation's biggest oil rush.
“A lyrically edited snapshot of a complicated, rapidly changing landscape”
James (13) lives in the remote, oil-boom town of White Earth, ND with his father. Unable to enroll in the local school, he spends his days wandering the town and playing video games while his father works long hours for an oil service company. Leevi (11) is a 5th-grader from nearby Stanley. Her family has lived in North Dakota for generations and while they benefitting economically from the boom by leasing land rights to oil companies, they have strong reservations about the changes it is bringing to their beloved home. Elena (11) is a new arrival in Leevi’s 5th grade class. She and her family are Mexican immigrants that fled economic hardship in California’s central valley so Elena’s father could seek oil work. Rather than separate the family, Elena’s mother, Flor, insisted that they all move to North Dakota where the family of five shares cramped living quarters in an RV with a single bedroom.
Each story intertwines with the others intimately exploring themes of childhood, family, immigration, community, the environment, and the price of the American Dream
“Achieves an ineffible sense of poetry…”
“Echews irony and skepticism… captivating audiences through deeply felt sincerity”
“In 20 minutes, White Earth brought home everything I'd been struggling to teach my students the entire course. It showed them how a short film can both educate and entertain with impact and power... and it gave them living proof that filmmakers can do exceptional work with limited resources.
"By taking a charged front-page issue and reframing it through the refreshingly candid and accessible point of view of young people, the film becomes a powerful teaching tool."