Film Premiere “Over the Bridge”

Good evening dear readers!

I don’t even know where to start this post, so much have happened over the last week that it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

In my last post I wrote that I had just finished the first cut of the documentary, and after some feedback from our official “film watchers” a.k.a Rachel Johnston and the Lavelle’s back in Norway, we decided to add five more minutes to the film. That meant some extra late nights in the editing room, but the end result improved significantly, so it was definitely worth it.

On Wednesday the newspaper here in Sioux Falls wanted to write a story about us. Over the past two years I’ve become pretty comfortable with interviewing and writing about other people, but it felt a little weird being in the subject’s shoes — answering instead of asking, but thanks to the Argus’ journalist, Megan Raposa, things went pretty smoothly.
Click HERE to read the story and watch a preview of the film.


Over the next couple of days Sarah and I got so many texts, e-mails, phone calls and messages we didn’t know what to do with them all. After breakfast on Friday I actually had to specifically devote time in my schedule to answering e-mails.

What surprised me the most was that so many people were talking about a student-produced amateur zero-budget documentary short they had not even seen yet.

When I skyped with my parents last week, I told them I was hoping I would get around 12-20 people to come for the premiere. In December, when Karen, Elin and I arranged a Christmas workshop here on campus we planned everything carefully, booked the location, put up posters and had about 20 people show up — so my expectations for the premiere seemed reasonable at the time. Besides, the screening was set to Friday at 4 p.m., which is an awkward time for most people, so to even get 20 would be pretty amazing in my opinion!


But when the Back Alley, which is the “theater” we booked for the event, was starting to fill up 30 minutes before showtime, I realized that my estimations had been ridiculously poor. We actually ran out of chairs, so people ended up sitting on the floor and many were standing in the back. The guy who works in the Back Alley even wanted us to close the doors because we had exceeded the “maximum occupancy,” and by the time the film started there were almost 200 people packed together in front of the screen, to watch a film I directed. Haha, that’s a first.


After the screening Sarah and I lead a discussion about homelessness where the audience got the opportunity to ask questions to the people featured in the film or and to us.

Sarah Kocher, me, Stacey Tieszen, Robert “Bob” Eggers, Dr. Sue Bunger and Jennifer Jurgens during the Q&A after the screening. Photo: Jill Johnson.
Photo: Jill Johnson.

Our goal with this project was to raise awareness and start a conversation around an issue that doesn’t get the attention it needs, so to see that so many members of the community show up on a Friday afternoon is just incredible!

The whole event was covered by TV, and you can see our interview HERE!

After the screening we got lots of nice feedback from the audience, but the highlight was probably when we took Bob, our main guy from the homeless community, out to eat at his favorite restaurant later at night. When you ask a person to share his deepest and most personal thoughts in front of your camera for then to show it to the public, you feel a certain responsibility, so I was a little nervous to hear his opinion. But he said it was “UN-FRICKIN-BELIEVEABLE” so we took that as a compliment, haha 😉


I want to give a big thanks to my amazing partner in crime, Sarah Kocher, for her amazing talent as a journalist, and for putting up with all of my artsy demands and ideas through these three months. This film would not have been possible without her, and it’s been a true joy and an incredible adventure working with her on this.

I also want to give a huge thanks to Rachel Johnston, who did the graphic design and was in charge of the premiere event. To Naras Prameswari, for holding that boompole and ensuring we got our audio despite the terrible weather conditions at 4:30 in the morning, and to Matthew Housiaux who somehow managed to carry all of our equipment around for hours on end (while on the verge of hypothermia) without complaining. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with a bunch of such amazing people. Love you all <3

2 thoughts on “Film Premiere “Over the Bridge””

  1. Unfortunately I just seen this in a online post by the Argus leader. I would of loved to see the premier. Will there be another viewing or how can a person see the video?

    1. Hi Brenda,
      Thank you for your interest in the documentary! We might end up having another screening because we’ve recieved so many requests, but we haven’t decided on a specific date yet. I can let you know once I have more information.

      Bless you,
      Maria Lavelle

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