The Blackfeet Flood

Documentary Short | Ben Shors & Torsten Kjellstrand

On June 8, 1964, a driving rain buckled dams and flooded vehicles on the Blackfeet Reservation, sweeping crying children from mothers’ arms, and ferrying homes and bodies across the prairie. By the time it ended, more than two-dozen Blackfeet Indians had drowned in the worst natural disaster in Montana history. More than a half-century after the worst disaster in Montana history, two Blackfeet families struggle to come to terms with the 1964 flood. While one family held onto their rural lifestyle, the flood scattered the other family across the U.S.

27 minutes

Release: November 25, 2019

Expiration: November 25, 2023

Distributor: WORLD

Rights: Six (6) releases over four (4) years beginning 11/25/2019;

SCH/1YR (for K‐12); and non‐commercial cable rights.

Ben Shors

Benjamin Shors is a writer and documentary filmmaker who grew up on the northern plains of Montana. In 2013, he began to collect oral histories of the 1964 flood on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, archiving more than 20 interviews with survivors of the worst natural disaster in Montana history. Those interviews led to six documentary shorts for PBS Indies, and led him to produce and co-direct The Blackfeet Flood, which tracks the lives of two families struggling to reconcile with the flood’s lasting trauma.

Torsten Kjellstrand

MELISSA LANGER is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer based in Oakland. She holds an M.F.A. in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University and a B.A. in History from Carleton College. Her short films include Treasure Island, Hauled Out, and Terms of Intimacy. Her most recent film, My Aleppo, tells the story of a young Syrian family in South Africa as they struggle to retain ties to the ancient city of Aleppo.

Brooke Pepion Swaney

Consulting Producer
Brooke Pepion Swaney, (Blackfeet/Salish) is an emerging filmmaker and presently a Time Warner Fellow through the Sundance Institute. Since her undergraduate work at Stanford University, Brooke has researched the portrayal of American Indians in the Media and has worked to add dimension to otherwise stereotypical representations of American Indians through her films. “OK Breathe Auralee,” her NYU graduate thesis film, screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  It also was finalist in NBC/Universal’s Short Cuts Film Festival, wherein the lead actress won Best Actor.

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.


Project Coordinator​

(Hataža Mani Winga)​

"Cinema Aficionado"

Role: Jordana is excited to engage with different Native/Indigenous communities. Her passion for working with youth will help develop the Native Youth Media Project. She will also assist with the Creative Shorts Fellowship (CSF) to help organize deliverables for filmmakers.