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North Dakota Gold: Boyd Holbrook & Rachel Brosnahan Strike it Rich in Sabyn Mayfield’s “Boomtown”

Before the North Dakota oil boom (as witnessed in Jesse Moss’ The Overnighters), a good century back, there was the another type of boom. Commonly associated with the West, North Dakota was home to a short lived gold rush. Sabyn Mayfield will tap into the reserves of two up-and-comer players for what will be his directorial debut as THR reports that Boyd Holbrook and Rachel Brosnahan will topline Boomtown alongside  Jocelin Donahue and newcomer Tyler Riggs. Holbrook is set to play JT’s childhood best friend and Brosnahan plays a local bartender in the oil town.

Gist: Co-written by Mayfield and David Newbert, this follows JT Turner’s (Riggs) journey across the country to Williston, North Dakota, home of the modern day Gold Rush. In an effort to make ends meet, the main character leaves his family behind to pursue a grueling, yet highly coveted, job in a now booming oil industry. Along the way, he encounters the trials and tribulations shared by thousands of Americans every year as they stake their claim on the American Dream.

Worth Noting: One of Mayfield’s early film creds is as a best boy grip on Goran Dukic’s 2006 Sundance preemed Wristcutters: A Love Story.

Do We Care?: The backdrop and historical assets alone could provide for a downbeat working man’s riff in the veins of Days of Heaven (worth noting…Holbrook recently worked with Malick). Look for production start date to determine whether this is a late 2016 or 2017 fest release.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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