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Western North Dakota Native Seeking To Co-produce Documentary


Daniel Stenberg, in cooperation with Prairie Public Broadcasting, is seeking to create a video documentary based on the lives of six brothers

Daniel Stenberg, in cooperation with Prairie Public Broadcasting, is seeking to create a video documentary based on the lives of six brothers, one of whom is his grandfather, who were born to homesteading parents in rural McKenzie County, North Dakota.

“This isn’t a story of ‘rags to riches’ or ‘the rest of the story’ of someone famous,” says Daniel Stenberg, “but rather it would document the lives of those whose experiences would be similar to many other North Dakotan families who grew up around the same time.” The brothers came of age in the Great Depression. One died during military service during World War II, another died at age nine from a burst appendix. 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.

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 placed together among 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 a son of one of the six brothers) have agreed to participate as humanities scholars.

As the landscape and economy of western North Dakota is undergoing some drastic changes, Stenberg sees this documentary as an important opportunity to help us reflect on “North Dakota’s past, not to dwell on it, but to be cognizant of the changes that have taken place over the past 80-100 years.” Stenberg grew up in Western North Dakota, and then moved out of state for about five years. While away, he came to realize that stories of North Dakota are unique, and deserve to be preserved more. Since moving back, he began working on this idea to create the 6 Brothers documentary. He first approached Bob Dambach, Director of Television for Prairie Public Broadcasting, about a year ago with his idea, and since that time with some more iterations of the draft, Prairie Public has agreed to help produce the documentary provided that sufficient funding is raised. In a letter of support for the project, Dambach says, “Prairie Public is excited about the prospect of working with Daniel Stenberg… [He] is an extremely organized and motivated person with a passion for getting this story told.”

Stenberg Brothers Top left is Raymond, Selmer and Henry. Bottom (L to R): Christian, Casper and Arnold.

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 McKenzie County Pioneer Museum has agreed to serve as fiscal agent for this project. The project was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council. Additionally the project will be seeking funding from businesses (there are three “Major Contributor” slots available), and is currently running an online “crowd-funding” campaign, allowing anyone to contribute between $10-$500 and in return get various project related rewards. This crowd-funding opportunity is available from now through April 29. For the latest project news, and to find out ways for you to support the project visit: There is also a Facebook fan page available at: Contact: Daniel Stenberg [email protected], 701-204-1554| 711 N 6th St, Bismarck, ND 58501.


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