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A gripping journey through the volatile 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation and its aftermath, exploring identity, fear, and the nature of protest, while reimagining democracy across a politically and culturally divided national landscape.

Harney County, centered in Oregon’s rugged High Desert, remains a frontier community steeped in Western mythos, while pioneering grassroots social and ecological change. This remote community is caught in the crossfire when self-styled “patriots” seize a federal facility, awakening disputes around Western public lands and revealing corrosive ideological divides. Employing rare access earned through the filmmakers’ established local roots, Refuge gathers divergent voices in a nuanced, yet often paradoxical story, of a resilient community countering extremism and incivility with renewed trust and integration.

For more background on the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, please refer to our About page and our Directors’ Statement, in the Filmmakers section.


Our mission is to stir conversation, challenge stereotypes, forge connections, and deepen our understanding of a complex world.

We envision a world in which diverse neighbors come together on common ground to exchange ideas and craft a life with purpose and dignity.


Highway 205, near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, in Harney County, Oregon

Highway 205, near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, in Harney County, Oregon

Donate to Refuge

Our target date for completing Refuge is winter 2019. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us put the final, technical pieces together, including an original score, audio engineering, and color correction. Our fiscal sponsor, Portland Oregon’s historic Hollywood Theatre, receives and tracks all contributions. Aside from a 6% administrative fee for the Hollywood, your contribution goes directly toward the film. Thank you for your support! Contribute here: Hollywood Theatre—Refuge

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