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UM News
February 05, 2013


A television documentary produced by students in The University of Montana School of Journalism is a finalist in the 2013 New York Festivals International Television and Film Awards. “Boom! Behind the Bakken” is one of seven student films nominated for a medal in the awards, which honor the world’s best TV and films.

Last spring, 13 UM students traveled to the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana and western North Dakota to document the impact of oil exploration on people, the economy and the environment. The resulting documentary premiered in May on MontanaPBS and also aired on North Dakota’s Prairie Public Television.

“We knew this subject had great potential, and everyone in the class worked hard to tell a compelling story,” said student producer Beth Beechie. “We are so pleased to see our documentary take flight. Being nominated for this prestigious award is an honor to me and my teammates.”

School of Journalism Interim Dean Denise Dowling and Adjunct Professor Kagan Yochim taught the course that resulted in the documentary.

"This production was unusual in that students had to travel a great distance to an area known for being unsettled,” Dowling said. “They did a tremendous job finding interesting people to tell the story of change and challenge going on in the Bakken.”

The New York Festivals accepts entries from more than 50 countries in dozens of categories designed to mirror global trends and encourage the next generation of storytellers. Along with “Boom! Behind the Bakken,” student film finalists this year are from India, South Africa, Taiwan and the U.S.

“What impressed me most was the group’s ability to come together as a team,” Yochim said. “They each had a job to do and a story to tell, but they put the pieces together in a cohesive program.”

The festival awards ceremony will be held in April in Las Vegas. “Boom! Behind the Bakken” can be viewed online or is available for purchase on DVD at The student documentary is funded by The Greater Montana Foundation, which has supported its production and other UM student work for more than two decades. 

For more information call Dowling at 406-243-4143 or email


Note to media: Photos are available by contacting Dowling.




Contact: Denise Dowling, interim dean, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-4143,