William G. Gilroy | March 16, 2017
Opposition to the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has been ongoing for nearly a year. Beginning last August, opponents occupied federal land near the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations in North Dakota in an effort to halt the construction.
Concerned about safety due to spring flooding, North Dakota state officials cleared the camp in late February. However, opponents have insisted that they will continue their efforts to stop the project. Following four days of protests on the National Mall, opponents of the pipeline marched on the White House on Friday (March 10).
A pair of University of Notre Dame student filmmakers gained in-depth knowledge into the mindset of the pipeline’s opponents while filming a documentary that first aired during the recent 28th annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival. Seniors in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, Ryan Leen and Erin Lattimer were in search of a topic for their festival entry when they first learned about the pipeline camp.
“We had been struggling to commit to a subject when my cousin shared a post on Facebook about the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Lattimer said. “I read the article as well as other posts without even realizing that this topic could be a potential subject for our documentary. It was not until a classmate mentioned they were hoping to pursue a documentary about standup comedy on Native American reservations that I had a mini-epiphany in class and immediately turned to Ryan and told him we should look into the DAPL.”