|Photographer Wayne Rainey on Location in North Dakota|
New documentary explores the relationships between energy boom towns, emergency services, and the community.Robin Behl, in partnership with Wayne Rainey of Rainey Studios, artist Steven Yazzie, and the nonprofit group Shade Projects in Phoenix, Arizona have combined forces to begin production on an independent documentary film illustrating the pressures of rapid population expansion on local emergency services and healthcare providers in a small North Dakota farming community at the epicenter of the Bakken Oil Reserve energy boom. This will be the first in a series of documentaries profiling communities around North America that have experienced similar boom and bust resource challenges, not just in the oilfield, but in mining, agricultural and tourist centers historically and presently. What works and what doesn’t? How do we find ways to adapt to rapidly changing needs? How can we access and utilize our resources in a more sustainable fashion?
The film, "Price Per Barrel" focuses on Watford City, North Dakota, in the northwestern part of the state, 40 miles south of Williston, in the heart of one of the largest oil and gas reserves in North America. It will also compare Watford City to Artesia, New Mexico, an example of a sustainable oil and gas community.
The men and women of public safety and healthcare in Watford City have struggled to keep up with a town population and resulting call volume that have tripled in the past five years. They have risen far above and beyond the call of duty but they still do the job with altruism, professionalism and a dedication to service that is increasingly rare today. What’s happening in Watford City is both an important moment in history to document and a vehicle for illustrating the human story behind a boom or bust economy. Artesia, however, has formed personal relationships with the major oil corporations drilling in their community and has put their money to good use, supporting public safety, education, healthcare, the arts and local infrastructure. It could be the model industrial city for many others like it.
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Robin Behl is a firefighter/paramedic turned Physician Assistant turned storyteller who has left the practice of medicine and set off on a 15,000 mile journey around the United States writing about the practice of medicine in North American boom towns.
Steven Yazzie is a multidisciplinary Native American artist and visual storyteller as well as a producer who is passionate about recording cultural history through the context of land as a source of identity, conflict and explicit resource.
Wayne Rainey is a local cinematographer, commercial and art photographer and urban pioneer who has played a major role in the revitalization of downtown phoenix. He has been an advocate for the arts, artists, environmental stewardship and sustainable communities.