In 2012, the Big Sky Documentary film festival hosted a special high school screening of our Vision Maker Media-funded, PBS documentary "The Thick Dark Fog," about the legacy of the American Indian boarding school system. Retired University of Montana English professor Rhea Ashmore approached us after the screening to suggest we make a film about a Blackfeet high school senior named Michael Momberg, whom she had met while volunteering at Heart Butte High School on the Blackfeet reservation in northwestern Montana. Michael, she told us, was a gifted and artistic student who excelled at school, spoke his Native lanaguage and came from a close-knit and loving extended family.
After speaking to Michael via Skype and communicating with his parents over email, we agreed that Michael's traditional, successful and loving native family living on the Rez would make great subjects for a film about contemporary Native resilience. However, we lived far from Montana, and documentary films are expensive. So, Rhea came on board as executive producer and provided us with seed funding for an exploratory trip to film with the Mombergs. When we arrived, we met members of all three generations of the Momberg family living together in a cozy and beautiful house in the midst of wondrous natural beauty next to Badger Creek.