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Ex-bounty hunter Indian woman searches for the abandoned body of an oil worker who was murdered on her own tribal land.
Ex-bounty hunter Indian woman searches for the abandoned body of an oil worker who was murdered on her own tribal land.
102 backers pledged $15,757 to help bring this project to life.
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Blood Oil - A documentary film by Forrest and Kalen Goodluck

$15,757

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Just under two days left on the campaign, you all are making this happen! Thank You all so much!

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We have three days left! Thank you all for the amazing support! We couldn't have done it with out all of you!

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We are 100% funded! Wow, thank you all for your support! THIS FILM IS GOING TO HAPPEN! 

We would like to thank you all and introduce our new goal of 15,000 dollars as our "stretch budget." With this new budget, we can make this film as great as possible. Watch our new video explaining what we could do with this new budget! Again, thank you all, this film is happening! Much love. 

Blood Oil - A Feature Length Documentary

Blood Oil follows the story of an ex-bounty hunter, Lissa Yellow-Bird, who is searching for the mutilated body of a white oil worker, Kristopher "KC" Clarke, who was murdered on her Indian tribal land as a result of the oil boom.

Lissa Yellow-Bird on her search for KC
Lissa Yellow-Bird on her search for KC

Who is Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase anyways?

Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase searches for the missing and murdered on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and the surrounding North Dakota area. This story follows her investigation of the murder of Kristopher “KC” Clarke, a truck driver for Blackstone, owned by James Henrickson, and business partner of former Tribal Chairman Tex Hall’s company, Maheshu Energy.

Lissa is a full-time welder, mother and grandmother who searches on her own free-time and dime. The thousands of transient oil workers that came for the oil boom left Fort Berthold’s emergency services unequipped and overstretched to handle the magnitude of crime a big city would even struggle with. Lissa works to fill those gaps. She has returned many missing to their loved ones who wanted answers.

“I think I’ve been gifted and chosen to do this—to settle people’s heartbeat or settle their souls, because their loved one is missing,” Lissa told us.

Lissa Yellow-Bird on her search for KC - Lissa Inspects a man-made looking mound of dirt
Lissa Yellow-Bird on her search for KC - Lissa Inspects a man-made looking mound of dirt

And Who is "KC"?

Kristopher “KC” Clarke travelled to Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota to pursue the oil boom’s gushing wages, but after quitting his job at Blackstone to form his own trucking business—taking with him hefty business investments—on February 22, 2012, after returning to Blackstone to turn in a company credit card, he vanished. With his cell phone left in his truck, it was the last time anyone heard from KC.

Lissa has been on the KC case for almost 5 years, even searching the badlands with KC’s mother. “There is no worse time for any human in this world that should know than you have a loved one that is out there unaccounted for and there is nothing you can do about it and you don’t have any resources,” Lissa told us.

Timothy Suckow was hired for murder. With the help of James Henrickson and a few of other associates, the two carried KC’s body out into the badlands in a toilet box and buried him as Lissa describes, in her tribal way, in the “Arikara way”—in fetal position.

Still from "Blood Oil" Trailer
Still from "Blood Oil" Trailer

Who Are the Filmmakers?

Well first off...

My name is Forrest Goodluck. I am a filmmaker and actor. I have been directing since the age of 14. My films have been screened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and Santa Fe Indian Market. I have also been on film sets since the age of 16 when I appeared opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar winning epic, The Revenant. The beauty of acting on professional film sets means that I have had an in-depth look at how the greats have made movies. From working with the Oscar Winning director Alejandro Inaritu, to the three time Oscar winning Cinematographer Chivo Lubezki, to Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon, I learned to how to make movies from the greats. I am also a member of the Diné, Mandan, Hidatsa and Tsimshian tribes and my art is a reflection of my culture and identity.     

Forrest Goodluck Shooting in North Dakota - Summer 2015
Forrest Goodluck Shooting in North Dakota - Summer 2015

And...

My name is Kalen Goodluck. I am a documentary photographer, photojournalist, and journalist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. My work has explored indigenous human rights issues on my tribal home in Fort Berthold, ND, food scarcity and justice in the Hudson Valley, cultural identity, and landscapes in my home of New Mexico and New York.

I attended Bard College and earned a B.A. degree in Human Rights with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies. I am a member of the Native American Journalist Association (NAJA) and will be attending the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism this Fall of 2017.

I come from the Diné (Navajo), Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian tribes and am a tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Kalen and Lissa in a boat - Searching for the murdered and missing that may be in the lake
Kalen and Lissa in a boat - Searching for the murdered and missing that may be in the lake

 

Kalen (Left) and Forrest (Right) ready to get this film done!
Kalen (Left) and Forrest (Right) ready to get this film done!

Our Story With Blood Oil

Kalen: My college research project led me back to my ancestral home on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, amidst the prairie and badlands of central North Dakota. I arrived with my brother, Forrest, to photograph and conduct fieldwork, exploring the oil boom that altered almost every aspect of the reservation since its encroachment in 2005. Besides the near constant flow of noisy oil trucks, the notorious worker camps (or “man-camps”), gas flaring and oil pads as far as the eye can see, crime was booming just as the oil was gushing.

We first met Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase in June 2016. I was parked in front of Maheshu Energy, the company of former tribal chairman Tex Hall, at the intersection of highway 73 and 22 waiting for her to arrive. Lissa rolled up in her dusty black SUV. “Come follow me!” she yelled rolling down her window, “we’ll talk after!” After a long stretch of road at the heart of the badlands, we came to a stop beside mountains of mined red-scoria, a rock used to create roads and well-pads for oil development. Using her GPS, we checked out potential sites to begin the dirty work: digging.

The first day Forrest and I searched for KC, Lissa told us that she is a Sundancer in a traditional 3-day ceremony with no food or water, and dances every year for her search work. “I give flesh for this [search work]. Now my kids dance, too. They dance to support me.”

What started out as two separate projects—my research about the boom, and Forrest's film about the reservation—turned into a documentary project about Lissa's work. Even though this story wasn't our main focus, when we returned to our home in New Mexico and looked back at all of our research, photographs and footage, we realized something: Lissa's story needed to be told. 

 

Where the Money Goes

The toughest challenge in making this film is travel expenses, and that's where the majority of the funding for this film is going. The fact is, to get the shots necessary to complete this film, we have to go to very remote locations with a very minimal crew, and that is not always the cheapest way to shoot, but necessary to tell this story. Your money will not be going toward a new camera or lenses; however there are a few production costs that are necessary to complete this movie. But with such a minimal crew, we are able to keep costs at a bare minimum. And lastly, there are festival fees which can get as high as $80. It will take $7,500 to execute this film and get ready for screening. The story is there to be told, it only waits to be captured!

Thank You!

Risks and challenges

The nature of this film is a challenge in itself. Dealing with death this closely means that this story must be told as authentically and delicately as possible. This isn't an easy task, but with the support of our good friend Lissa and her permission to let us get this close to this story, we can capture these moments that have rarely if ever been seen on film before.

The investigation into KC's final resting place has been complicated for years. Those charged with murder do not remember where he was buried except James Henrickson--who will die before he reveals his location. Lissa is certain she knows his location within 75 feet.

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Funding period

- (23 days)