http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-background.jpg
  • Tait Salzer (right) grew up on a South Dakota cattle ranch.

    Tait Salzer (right) grew up on a South Dakota cattle ranch.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-01.jpg
  • Richard Karpe grew up working the oilfields in Oklahoma.

    Richard Karpe grew up working the oilfields in Oklahoma.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-02.jpg
  • Geoff Swenson returned to his hometown, Williston, N.D., to get a high-paying oilfield job.

    Geoff Swenson returned to his hometown, Williston, N.D., to get a high-paying oilfield job.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-03.jpg
  • Nathina St. Pierre came to North Dakota for a good job, but found lots of sexual harassment instead.

    Nathina St. Pierre came to North Dakota for a good job, but found lots of sexual harassment instead.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-04.jpg
  • Restaurants are rare in North Dakota's oil patch, people like Adelle bring food trucks to workers.

    Restaurants are rare in North Dakota's oil patch, people like Adelle bring food trucks to workers.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-05.jpg
  • Thousands of trucks rumble on roads in North Dakota's oil patch.

    Thousands of trucks rumble on roads in North Dakota's oil patch.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-06.jpg
  • Oil wells produce natural gas which pollutes North Dakota's air.

    Oil wells produce natural gas which pollutes North Dakota's air.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_gold_boom-07.jpg

The Film

In a modern-day gold rush, people have flocked to previously underpopulated regions of western North Dakota in an effort to capitalize off of the lucrative oil boom. Some ranchers are millionaires, a few oil bosses are billionaires, and a lot of working people have more money in their pockets than ever before. But it hasn't come without a cost. One of the most serene places in America has become a brash, noisy place full of drilling rigs, massive trucks, and bright orange gas flares that pollute the skies.

Black Gold Boom is a journalistic exploration of the region, providing individual portraits of local residents and oil workers, along with the environmental and social consequences associated with the boom from western towns to members of the Three Affiliated Tribes at Fort Berthold reservation. Using a combination of traditional documentary video and online storytelling tools, Black Gold Boom showcases how the world’s thirst for oil has frazzled towns, dazzled politicians, and changed the state forever.

The Filmmaker

  1. Todd MelbyDirector