The must-see documentary that the New York Times called "Heartbreaking!"
Winner -- Best Documentary -- Red Nation Film Festival Los Angeles
Margaret Mead Film Festival New York
Thessaloniki Film Festival
Reykjavik Film Festival
American Indian Film Festival San Francisco
In the magical Badlands of North Dakota, the Fort Berthold Indian reservation sits right in the middle of the largest shale field in North America. Members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation find themselves locked in a Faustian struggle: accept the potential financial enrichment of the tribe from oil extraction at the cost of the future health of their ancestral homelands.
A Different American Dream explores their dilemma through the eyes of tribal members as they pursue what turn out to be few options. Surrounded by the chaos and frenzy of fracking, Dr. Biron Baker is distrustful of the oil industry and sees the boom as the latest in a series of grave injustices against his people. Dave Williams spearheads a tribally owned oil company, hopeful that profits will flow directly to the tribe and that the newfound wealth will solve many of the its problems. Chairman Mark Fox welcomes the influx of wealth but fears for its impact on his young family. All the while, Edmund Baker, Environmental Director of the tribe, and his colleagues at the tribal environmental protection agency spend their days in a Sisyphean effort to monitor the damage done and protect their ancient homelands. Running throughout the story is a young girl, JayLi, who is using her spiritual powers to enlist the help of their ancestors in their struggle.
A Different American Dream is an elegy of the magnificent landscape as it is being decimated by oil extraction and a people, victims of economic imprisonment, struggling to defend their culture, their history and their future.