Governor's daughter, Jessamine Burgum, returns home from L.A. to work on movie close to her heart

Fargo native Jessamine Burgum will play Ashley in "Tankhouse." She also serves as an executive producer of the film. Chris Flynn / The Forum
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FARGO — The stars may have aligned perfectly for one of the actors and producers on the film "Tankhouse."

From early performances for her parents, Gov. Doug Burgum and Karen Stoker, on makeshift stages to beginning her career in Los Angeles, Jessamine Burgum, actress and executive producer for the movie now filming in Fargo, is no stranger to the lights and sounds of the stage. She's also no stranger to the area.

"This has been a wonderful experience for me because it's my first time producing on a film," says Burgum. "I got involved because I am a Fargo native, but also from my acting background."

From a young age, Burgum says she knew she wanted to be an actress.


"I am one of those lucky souls who has known what she wanted to do for her entire life," she says. "When I was 3 years old and my parents were asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I was like, 'I am an actress, currently.' You know how kids are, putting on little plays in the basement. I'd be cutting out tickets, my brothers would put together a set, I'd throw on a Halloween costume and we'd have a show."

Her during her senior year of high school, she was accepted into the Guthrie Theater Bachelor of Fine Arts actor training program in Minneapolis, and she says her love of the business grew even larger. She graduated in May 2018 and moved to Los Angeles to "have a go at it" in the acting world.

She never expected her first role of note would bring her back to where it all began.

"I have so much gratitude in my heart," Burgum says. "How many people get to start off in this industry and have their first real big gig be one that they get to do in their hometown and get to show off the community that raised me and has given so much to me? The opportunity to give back and celebrate Fargo and the amazing place this is and have it be paired with my first big project is something that I could never really have imagined. I just feel like the universe is smiling on me with this one."


Jesse Burgum has a laugh with actors Rachel Matthews and Spencer Roberts during the filming of the movie "Tankhouse" at the former Goodyear building in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

In the film, Burgum will play Ashley, a member of the Red River Players — the competitive local theater troupe that goes head to head with the movie's protagonists.

"I have an easy job because I can pull from a lot of personal experience on this one, which you can't on every job," says Burgum. "I grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead community theater scene, so Ashley is going to be an amalgamation of the people that I interacted with in that part of the community."

Sound engineer Benjamin Roembach-Clark helps Jesse Burgum get wired up before filming a scene at the Fargo Theatre for the movie "Tankhouse." David Samson / The Forum

"Tankhouse," a comedy about two New York City theater industry exiles who leave the Big Apple to start a theatrical revolution in Fargo, is being produced by Los Angeles-based Momentum Studios and Click Content Studios, a video production company owned by Fargo-based Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum.

The film also stars Richard Kind, Christopher Lloyd, Joe Adler, Tara Holt and Stephen Friedrich.


Emma Vatnsdal is a digital producer for InForum and other Forum Communications-owned properties. She earned her degree in multimedia journalism from Minnesota State University Moorhead and joined the Forum Communications team as a features reporter in May 2018.
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