Necessity traces the fight in Minnesota against the expansion of pipelines carrying toxic tar sands oil through North America. Home to much of the world’s precious freshwater resources, the state is also the site of expanding oil industry infrastructure. The film follows indigenous activists and non-indigenous allies in their resistance to the pipelines traversing native lands and essential waterways.
Director Jan Haaken is professor emeritus of psychology at Portland State University, a clinical and community psychologist, and documentary filmmaker. From refugee camps, shelters, war zones, and mental hospitals to drag bars and hip-hop clubs, Haaken’s documentary films focus on people and places on the social margins, drawing out their insights on the world around them. As a psychologist and documentarian, Haaken weaves research and historical analyses into rich and vividly drawn landscapes that represent the perspectives of her subjects. Through the lens of psychology, she takes intimate conversations with people in crisis into wider social vistas, bringing forces on the periphery of the action into focus.
Co-director Samantha Praus is a queer, Latinx filmmaker who has worked with Haaken on previous films, including “Our Bodies Our Doctors,” Milk Men,” and” Mind Zone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines.”