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Crude Independence (2009)

7.1
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Crude Independence is a documentary film about the heartland in the process of transplanting itself, and the new heart is pumping oil. In 2006, the United States Geological Survey estimated... See full summary »

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Crude Independence is a documentary film about the heartland in the process of transplanting itself, and the new heart is pumping oil. In 2006, the United States Geological Survey estimated there to be more than 200 billion barrels of crude oil resting in a previously unreachable formation beneath western North Dakota. With the advent of new drilling technologies, oil companies from far and wide are descending on small rural towns across America with men and machinery in tow. Director Noah Hutton takes us to the town of Stanley (population 1300), sitting atop the largest oil discovery in the history of the North American continent, and captures the change wrought by the unprecedented boom. Through revealing interviews and breathtaking imagery of the northern plains, Crude Independence is a rumination on the future of small town America-a tale of change at the hands of the global energy market and America's unyielding thirst for oil. Written by Couple 3 Films

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6 February 2009 (USA)  »

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An Insightful Film about a North Dakota Oil Boom Town
18 March 2009 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

Crude Independence screened at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. This film provides a fascinating look at the boom town phenomenon in Stanley, ND where recent oil discoveries have transformed the dying agricultural town. The people of the town are learning to deal with new wealth and new people - mostly roughnecks - who are pouring in. Still, they remain suspicious that it is too good to be true and that the boom won't last. The film makers managed to film just as oil prices were peeking in the summer of 2008. The townspeople were learning to deal with the social consequences such as crime and the arrival of lots of new people. The film makers do a good job of interviewing both the locals and roughnecks and getting to know the town. The film also explores the interesting phenomenon that some of the farmers own the surface rights to their land, but not the underground mineral rights; thus some of the residents are able to becoming wealthy while others are being left behind. The town which has been protected from modernity is now placed in its bright spotlight, which is both good and bad. The film is beautifully and quite objectively made. The film makers allow the townspeople and the roughnecks to speak for themselves without trying to impose their own agenda on them. They don't really touch on the environmental consequences or explore whether or not the continued exploration of fossil fuels is good for the larger society, but that wasn't really their intention. Overall, they highlight that there are few places left to hide from the modern world and the global international economy.


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