Sat Mar 3, 2018 – 2:30 pm | Bushel & Peck’s
Directed by Mark Street
USA | 41 min | 2016
Oiltowns traces boom and bust cycles in and around the town of Williston, North Dakota. Interviews with oil workers, longtime residents, ranchers and the homeless focus on changes that have animated the small town. Pump jacks dig rhythmically on desolate highways, trucks lumber on small roads, gas flares in the distance, new homes are built at breakneck speed, abandoned RVs seem to rust before our eyes.
A Turtle Mountain Native American talks about the rampant prostitution and drug use that has burgeoned as a result of itinerant workers arriving with lots of money to spend. Three drunk men banter in front of a trailer they share as the sun goes down. A former Chicago policeman sells hot dogs from a stand from 10AM to 10 PM every day alongside a highway teeming with oil trucks.
Oiltowns offers a microscopic view of unbridled capitalism in which expectations are exceeded and dashed. In the Bakken formation, oil is THE game in town, and its discovery and extraction brings unexpected consequences and environmental blight.
Mark Street has been making films, videos and installations for 30 years. His work has moved from tactile, abstract explorations of 16mm film to essays on the urban experience to improvised feature length narratives. He has shown at places like the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as venues such as a former strip club in New Orleans called the Pussycat Cavern.
He graduated from Bard College (B.A, 1986) and the San Francisco Art Institute (MFA 1992). He has shown work in the New York Museum of Modern Art Cineprobe series (1991, 1994), at Anthology Film Archives (1993, 2006, 2009), Millennium (1990,1996), and the San Francisco Cinematheque (1986, 1992, 2009). His work has appeared at the Tribeca (5 times), Sundance, Rotterdam, New York, London, San Francisco, New York Underground, Sarajevo, Viennale, Ourense (Spain), Mill Valley, South by Southwest, and other film festivals.