MY COUNTRY NO MORE documents the oil boom in North Dakota that sets off a crisis in a rural community as residents are forced to confront the meaning of progress as they fight for a disappearing way of life.
Between 2011 and 2016, drilling for oil in America reached an unprecedented peak, setting off a modern day gold rush in one of the most rural communities in the country: Trenton, North Dakota. Kalie Rider and her older brother Jed are both striving to rebuild farming in their family, having suffered the foreclosure of their parents' farm during the traumatic 1980s farm crisis.
When their uncle Roger makes a decision to sell a piece of his land, it sets off a domino effect of industrialization in Trenton. Now, with the church being eyed for a diesel refinery, the community becomes riven by competing interests. While Jed faces the possibility of having to uproot his young family and move away, Kalie learns to organize and resist.
Through its lyrical core, the film challenges the notion of "progress" as it questions the long term human consequences of short term approaches to land use, decisions that ultimately affect all Americans, rural and urban alike.
Directed by Rita Baghdadi, Jeremiah Hammerling
Produced by Rita Baghdadi, Jeremiah Hammerling
Executive Producer: Alexandra Johnes
Co-producer: Jeff Consiglio
Editors: Jeff Consiglio, Rita Baghdadi
Cinematography: Jeremiah Hammerling, Rita Baghdadi
Original Music: BC Campbell
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
A Co-Production of Endless Eye LLC and Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
"The human cost of our reliance on fossil fuels is measured not only in the looming horrors of climate change and threats to physical health from pollution, but also from the destruction of community and sense of place that comes as land is devoured by every new refinery and pipeline. MY COUNTRY NO MORE tells a deeply moving story...This compassionate film shows that along with the sadness of loss there is also hope as courageous people fight to protect their homes, families, and way of life."
Richard York, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, Co-author, The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's War on the Earth
"MY COUNTRY NO MORE is a unique, inspiring look at a community's struggle to keep a grip on its valued way of life. But it is also an awakening tale of the perpetual exploitation of our land and people - from the demise of family farming at the hands of corporate agriculture to the pollution wrought by fossil fuel profiteers. This film is a text book on the injustice playing out in rural America, and how people come together to fight back."
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food and Water Action, Author, Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment
"Our need for 'tough' energy transforms outlying locations such as Trenton, ND into the new frontline to determine how desperate we are to maintain our addiction to fossil fueled energy. The soul of the countryside is at stake with the advancement of fracking and the refineries and pipelines that it enables. MY COUNTRY NO MORE is a perceptive and passionate portrait of our energy frontier and the very human stories that are tangled with the difficult choices that face us all."
Brian Black, Professor, History and Environmental Studies, Pennsylvania State University - Altoona, Author, Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History
"Home. Land. Family. Friends. A little church on the prairie. MY COUNTRY NO MORE must be seen by any community where that organic mix is forced to confront oil, big oil. Should an energy blip permanently upset the attachments built through generations?"
Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Professor Emeritus of Engineering, Cornell University, Senior Fellow, Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy
"An absorbing, mannered modern range war."
Michael Berkowitz, People's World
"Hardly any people anywhere are opposed to progress until one day they see progress up close and notice the price tag...MY COUNTRY NO MORE will feel familiar to communities everywhere."
David Hinckley, TV Worth Watching
"Thoughtful...Personalizes serious issues...Despite concentrating on North Dakota, the program speaks to a wider audience concerned with rural issues, land ownership, energy resources, and corporate interests."
Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist
"A wonderful documentary about issues that extend far beyond the oil patch of North Dakota. It describes the interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts that emerge when the costs of development are not fully borne by developers, which creates 'winners' and' losers' among community residents. Under these circumstances, decisions can lead to change but not to true progress. MY COUNTRY NO MORE shows that patient, persistent, and respectful engagement by community residents can be helpful, if not always completely successful, in improving public decisions."
Thomas Johnson, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Missouri
"Raw, intense, and beautiful filmed, MY COUNTRY NO MORE captures the highly personalized and heartbreaking costs of the shale oil boom on one rural community in America's heartland. At once a eulogy and a fierce protest, the film returns us to the beauty of human persistence - to the belief in homeland and community - that contrasts so sharply with this hurried world that sees empty spaces and vacant maps only as possibilities for economic development. Baghdadi's film reminds us that when we frack for oil we not only disturb the soil but drill into the memories, the histories, and the lives of the people attached to it."
Bob Johnson, Chair of Social Sciences, Professor of History, National University, Author, Carbon Nation: Fossil Fuels in the Making of American Culture
"This documentary is a good reminder that communities are made up of diverse people with diverse experiences and opinions, and that even small, rural communities can be torn apart by issues like an oil boom. I highly recommend this documentary for undergraduate and graduate courses that examine the discourses surrounding energy development, sustainable futures, and nature-society dependencies."
Elyzabeth W. Engle, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, McDaniel College
"An excellent storytelling of how leaders in a small American community repeatedly held privileged corporate interests over those of their residents. It effectively highlights how these leaders' actions ravaged longstanding relationships and a sense of community in the area...I can imagine the story captured in MY COUNTRY NO MORE plays out in many other communities across the United States."
Lazarus Adua, Assistant Professor of Sociology, The University of Utah