Producer of ND pioneer movie hopes film inspires audience across the state

A Heart Like Water
A Heart Like Water(Station)
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:34 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When you think of a movie set, your mind might take you to Hollywood: bright lights, fancy studios and modern sets.

But the scene on set of “A Heart Like Water” used the elements around the cast to capture the essence of the earliest settlers in the what we know today as the state of North Dakota.

Frontier life wasn’t easy for any of America’s early pioneers. The men and women who settled in North Dakota experienced lots of adversity but persevered to make a living off the land.

“I found these firsthand accounts of early Dakota settlers in the state archives of North Dakota. These very gripping and moving accounts of these brave men and women that came from around the world,” said Daniel Bielinski, Founder of Canticle Productions and Writer and Producer of “A Heart Like Water.”

Dan Bielinski turned those stories into “A Heart Like Water.” It’s a frontier survival story set in 1887 in Dakota Territory.

“It’s about a husband and wife who are isolated in this unsettled wilderness and their struggle to keep their family together and their hopes alive as they fight the bitter cold and disease and wild animals,” said Bielinski.

The cast experienced similar hardships while shooting the film, all in an effort to capture the hardships the settlers overcame.

“There was a seen where Dan, who plays my husband in the film, was driving the wagon. I was sitting in the back of it. Our first take, we did not realize how bumpy and authentic an 1890s wagon would be,” said Tiffany Cornwall, “A Heart Like Water” Lead Actress.

Before filming, the cast had to get into character. They spent months studying up to portray their characters in roles seemingly far removed from life today.

“I walk like a modern woman. I talk like a modern woman. I think like someone who grew up with technology. Someone in the 1800s-- there’s a difference in the way they hold their body in the way that they prepare themselves and what their body has endured,” said Cornwall.

As for the takeaway? Bielinski and Cornwall say they hope the attitude of the early arrivers is something that inspires.

“There seems to have been this ongoing belief deep within their bones that there was something worth continuing for and working for and striving for.

They say they hope the movie hits home and resonates with its North Dakota audience.

The movie will premier for the first time Friday in Minot at the Oak Park theatre at 7 p.m.

But if you miss it, don’t fret. There will be more show times across the state.

For information on tickets and when you can watch, visit

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