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To create a video documentary based on the lives of six brothers born to homesteading parents in McKenzie County, ND. Read more

Bismarck, ND Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on April 30, 2012.

To create a video documentary based on the lives of six brothers born to homesteading parents in McKenzie County, ND.

Bismarck, ND Documentary
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About this project

6 Brothers

                               None of them grew up to be famous;
                                 None of them grew up to be felons;
                      And some of them didn’t get a chance to grow up;
           Though they have all since passed, their stories live on in others.

Project idea: Create a video documentary based on the lives of six brothers who were born to homesteading parents in rural McKenzie County, North Dakota.

A little bit about the brothers:The 6 Stenberg brothers came of age in the Great Depression. One died during military service during World War II, another died at age nine due to appendicitis.  The remaining brothers spent their years in, and around, McKenzie County with professions such as a brand inspector, a gas station owner, a farmer/rancher, and a handyman. This isn’t a story of “rags to riches” or “the rest of the story” of someone famous, but rather it would document the lives of those whose experiences would be similar to many other North Dakotan families who grew up at this time.

Documentary content:   Through interviews with the brothers’ relatives and neighbors, documentary viewers would get to know the personal side of a North Dakotan family. Through interviews with humanities scholars and current community leaders, the documentary viewer will learn of the larger historical context surrounding their stories. As the personal stories and scholarly facts are intertwined with family pictures, period pictures, informative statistics and background footage, the goal is to create a piece that is compelling, interesting and informative. Dr. David B. Danbom (retired NDSU Professor of Agricultural History) and Richard Stenberg (Williston State College Assistant Professor of History and son of one of the six brothers) have agreed to participate as humanities scholars for the project.

Audience: The North Dakota premiere and encore broadcasts should reach approximately 50% of North Dakota’s adult population according to Neilson ratings information. The program is expected to reach similar audiences on public television stations across the Midwest.

Discussion questions that the viewer could ask after watching:

  • How did federal/state/local government policy affect the lives of these brothers?

  • How has North Dakota’s economy changed over the century?

  • In general, is North Dakota community better off now?

  • Have technological advancements bettered our lives (e.g. decrease of the chances of death due to health advances, changes in wartime strategies, communications, transportation, etc.)?

Proposed Budget and Funding: The cost of production is budgeted at approximately $75,000. Provided that requisite financing is raised, Prairie Public Broadcasting has agreed to provide approximately $35,000 worth of that in in-kind services. The North Dakota Humanities Council recently awarded the project a $15,000 grant. If this Kickstarter campaign is successful that will get us $5,000 or so more towards the goal.

A total of four Major Contributor slots are available. The North Dakota Humanties Council has claimed one of these, leaving three slots currently available. These are geared towards businesses/organizations but individuals can definitely contribute at this level as well. The four Major Contributors will receive spoken name and business/organization logo recognition at the beginning and end of the documentary. Contact Daniel Stenberg if you are interested in more information.This Major Contributor opportunity is separate from this Kickstarter campaign.

The McKenzie County Pioneer Museum has agreed to serve as fiscal agent for this project, meaning they will collect the funds for this project and then distribute them as the expenses are incurred.

Complete proposed budget is available upon request.

Timeline:This project is estimated to take between 12-18 months to complete after it is started. It is hoped that sufficient funding will be raised by April 30, 2012 to begin production soon thereafter.

For the latest project news, visit:                                                         

Let's do this! An expression my grandpa would say at a time like this: One, twooo, threeeee and a hooieeee!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    Pledge $10 or more

    5 backers

    A thank you note and/or a thank you shout out on Facebook!

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    16 backers

    The above and your name will appear in the documentary's ending credits. You are helping to preserve history!

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    Pledge $75 or more

    24 backers

    The above, a DVD of the completed documentary and your name will appear in the documentary's ending credits.
    Mange takk!! (Norwegian for "many thanks")

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    Pledge $250 or more

    3 backers

    All of the above as well as a jar of homemade rhubarb jam, made with rhubarb grown on the Stenberg farm. Enjoy on your toast or top off your ice cream with this cross-generational favorite!

    Fun fact: According to the June 18, 1942 edition of the McKenzie County Farmer rhubarb was reclassified from a vegetable to a fruit. Rationing rules at the time forbade the use of sugar when canning vegetables, so with this ruling home canners could have access to sugar--they still had to buy it but previously they couldn't buy it even if they had the money. Sweet!

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    Pledge $500 or more

    4 backers

    All of the above as well as a Heritage Basket of 8 Stenberg-made Krumkake and 8 lefse from Stenberg garden potatoes to be delivered in November/December 2012. Enhance your holiday experience with some lefse and krumkake just like they used to make it!

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Funding period

- (30 days)