Minot, North Dakota

A monotonous landscape unrolls before the stranger´s eyes. Uniform single-family houses line up next to depressing trailer parks, extending into brown plains. The camera rarely comes to rest, as no one would want to stay here longer than necessary. In long tracking shots it glides through the empty streets of Minot, North Dakota, a small town in America´s no man´s land.

From off screen a young person explains emotionlessly that everybody there is for the war while the camera lingers briefly to show a sign with the inscription Support Our Troops.
Then a man´s voice can be heard talking about the speaker´s job for the Air Force. If the US president gave the order, he would launch the nuclear missiles, he states and laughs. In fact, it sounds almost amusing when he describes himself as a babysitter of 150 such missiles that were stationed in underground silos around Minot during the Cold War, and are still waiting in readiness.

The documentary film Minot, North Dakota , by filmmakers Angelika Brudniak and Cynthia Madansky, is about a life lived directly over a depot of nuclear weapons which is stuck in the Cold War. The local residents´ voices - teenagers, housewives, employees of the Air Force - tell us about a daily life characterized by paranoia, surveillance cameras, racism and false alarms, while the camera continues its forays, merely taking in what there is to see. Like a mushroom cloud over the plain, Zeena Parkins´ ambient sound hovers above it all.

At first she was glad to have moved there, says a young girl, but now she wants to live somewhere else. In the last shot in Minot, North Dakota we see a small bus with McHenry Express stenciled on the side race from the picture. Anything to get away from here.

(Alexandra Seibel)

Translation: Steve Wilder

How do people get along with the knowledge that they live on an enormous bomb? A penetrating portrait of a closed community.
Minot, nicknamed ´Magic City´, is the proud home of a U.S. Air Force base guarding 150 nuclear missiles buried underneath the ground in North Dakota. These weapons of mass destruction were placed here almost fifty years ago and are still targeted to Russia. Minot, North Dakota shows this nuclear landscape and how Minotians deal with living on top of these bombs in their backyards.

(production note)

"To live on top of 150 nuclear bombs sounds crazy and it is. Minot seems stuck in the cold war, paranoia and surveillance are everywhere. It was quite an experience to spend time there!
And it inspired us to explore the nuclear topic further; our next film complex 2030 is shot in New Mexico and will dispel the lie of "clean" nuclear energy as well as inform about the insane U.S.project to design a new generation of nuclear missiles."

(director´s statement)

--> Minot Wikipedia entry

Orig. Title
Minot, North Dakota
Austria, USA
18 min
Orig. Language
Cynthia Madansky, Angelika Brudniak
Cynthia Madansky, Angelika Brudniak
Cynthia Madansky, Angelika Brudniak
Supported by
Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Paris - Cinéma du Réel (main award.)
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Ghent - COURTisane Festival
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Milano International Film Festival
Uppsala - Int. Short Film Festival
Victoria - Antimatter Underground Film Festival
Kassel - Dokumentarfilm- & Videofest
Wiesbaden - exground on screen
München - UnderDox, Festival für Dokument und Experiment
Grand Rapids (USA) - Bearded Child Film Festival
Teheran - Iran Documentary Film Festival
Melbourne - Int. Film Festival
Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival
Berlin - Transmediale (Festival for digital art)
Oslo - Eurodoc Documentary Film Festival
Nashville Film Festival
Dortmund / Köln - Internationales Frauenfilmfestival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival