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Crude Independence

Byron Dorgan , John Warberg , Noah Hutton  |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Byron Dorgan, John Warberg
  • Directors: Noah Hutton
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Couple 3 Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ONG4KQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,459 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Crude Independence is a documentary about Stanley, a small town in North Dakota that receives a complete transformation when it is discovered that 200 billion barrels of oil lie underneath it. The film is told only from the perspective of the residents and the roughnecks who came to the town to drill.

I was anticipating there to be some kind of slant, likely against the giant oil companies coming in and harvesting oil. And when I didn't get that, I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. However, first time director Noah Hutton explained that he purposefully didn't use narration and let the town tell its own story. Once I realized this was the case and that it wasn't his intention to make anyone look like the bad guy, it actually changed my perspective of the film.

I began to appreciate the story that was woven from footage and interviews taken last summer. The glimpses of Americana in this film are very touching. This film gets the chance to answer a very interesting question- what happens in the modern age when someone strikes oil on their property? The results range from one gentleman that is thinking of going elk hunting, a childhood dream, to another interviewee who has hand built his own mansion, complete with an indoor waterfall.

In a day and age when every documentary that releases has some sort of slant, it is refreshing to see one borne only out of its subjects. I know that with any editing process there is an argument being made. But Crude Independence manages to straddle that line better than any film in recent memory. I am confident that of all the independent features and documentaries I have seen at SXSW 2009, you are likely to have the best chance of seeing this one at a theater near you. --Media Breach 2009 SXSW Review

Product Description

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 descended on small towns across the state 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 in the years since the discovery. 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.

The film was an official selection at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2009 Oxford Film Festival.

DVD includes a twenty minute behind-the-scenes piece featuring interviews with director Noah Hutton and co-editor Alex Footman, as well as director's commentary and the original theatrical trailer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...pretty accurate........ September 5, 2013
By peggy
Format:Amazon Instant Video
.....I wouldn't say I "love it", as I live in the center of this oil boom and have watched our beautiful prairie become something from a science fiction movie. Yes, we need the oil, but the unconsciencionable waste of the natural gas is nothing short of criminal. This peaceful way of life we have enjoyed is now over.........just so we can all drive our cars........needlessly most of the time.
This video does portray the situation about as accurately for a "short view" really must be experienced to be believed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crude Independence April 24, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Engaging personalities and a lifestyle that is threatened by the invasion of petroleum drilling into their tranquil farmland. I would like to see an updated version as this was made in 2009.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stanley, North Dakota Modern Day Oil Boom December 5, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I like documentaries and found this one informative.
And it's interesting to see real people, some with mineral rights and some not,
and how they view their situation.​
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The price for Independence. October 3, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is said that you should never judge someone until you walk in their shoes. Crude Independence lets you walk in many of shoes and see that there is always a hidden price to pay for fame and fortune. Hard working farmers have oil on their land. Local businesses thrive from the oil boom. When we fill up our cars and trucks, you have just done the easy part. See what newly discovered oil can do to a small town in North Dakota. This small town could just as well be any small town. It's filled with good people that like their simple hard working life. What would happen to your town if big money can in looking for and found millions of barrels of oil. You have to watch this film to see. You get to see all sides of this story and then you are left to decide for yourself. What is the real price for this Crude Independence. If you haven't seen this film yet, get it. I look forward to other films by Couple3films and director Noah Hutton.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Slice of Life September 21, 2009
This film really takes you to a place in time and shows a side of our quest to move away from energy dependence. The cost, although still a story unravelling is eloquently told and unobtrusively shot in this even-handed drama about a small town named Stanley. There is a lightness to it as well, that reminded me of how close we all are to an imminent change if we continue on the road we are on. I really dug the music too!
Even years later, it remains prescient...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Portrait September 17, 2009
Lucky enough to catch this film before it's release and really enjoyed it. Hutton's effort to reveal rather than instruct is effective in creating what turns out to be a complex and deeply moving portrait. Rather than take up a political agenda, the film, with it's long careful gaze, meditates on the plight facing the small town of Stanley. Hutton's steady hand is able to illuminate the subtle tropes of abandonment and loss and is a welcome guide for a subject that feels so delicate at points that it could vanish without more than a whisper. The result is poignant and deeply heartbreaking, and perhaps a far stronger call to action than could have been achieved by a more didactic approach.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the cost. Wanting to see the next one... February 26, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Interesting documentary. I would have liked to have heard some information on the numbers and thresholds that are critical to this boom.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It could have been done better.
I don't thing this documentary did a very good job of what it set out to do, which I believe was to show the social effects of (shale? Read more
Published 3 months ago by pontiac1965
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, about Stanley North Dakota and the Oil Boom there.
The biggest thing I learned is that if you buy land to live on or own, make sure you buy the mineral rights if there is a high probability that there is something of substantial... Read more
Published 3 months ago by AtomBomb
5.0 out of 5 stars Witness to an oil boom
A class picture of a town as it struggles with the effects of winning or losing a lottery it never bargained for. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jenns
4.0 out of 5 stars Lived in this area of North Dakota until I was a grown man. Good movie...
My Family on my Father's side grew up in and around Stanley, ND. We lived in and around this area for many years. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sarah Shreeves
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
It's a very insightful. It gives you a lot of detail information about some of the oil and gas companies in United States and their development in the past several decades.
Published 4 months ago by Weilin Cai
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and insightful
"Crude Independence" is a short, simple documentary by Noah Hutton. He, and two other friends/producers, spent 5 weeks in ND filming the changes in a small town hit by the oil... Read more
Published on July 10, 2010 by M. Devlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Solid Film
I was lucky enough to see this film at SXSW. Noah Hutton (DIR) really made an incredible film that stood out from the pack. Read more
Published on October 30, 2009 by E. Mims
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