Reflection: 2016 in pictures

With the exception of my occasional “personal disclosures,” this blog has mostly revolved around film work, so I wanted to take a moment and reflect over the past year as an aspiring film director, so, here we go!

The Sioux Empire Film Festival (2016) Photo: Rachel Johnston

I can’t talk about 2016 without mentioning Over the Bridge, and now it’s been precisely a year since Sarah Kocher and I started the production process inside the Edda office at Augustana. Little did we know then, that our little zero-budget amateur film would still be screened across the US a full year later!


Like I’ve said before; we just wanted to make a documentary for fun, and if it turned out somewhat decent, we would show it to our professors for some constructive criticism. And maybe — just maybe — we’d do a screening at Augustana. You know, for our really close friends and stuff … But, well, 200 people showed up, and there was no turning back.


After the premiere we took Bob, our homeless friend, out to eat at his favorite restaurant to symbolize the ending of the Over the Bridge-chapter.


We thought that was it, and I was ready to move on to new projects, but God wanted it differently.

And we got invited to an actual film festival! Woooohoo!

Sold out screening of #OverTheBridgeFilm at @cinemafalls tonight! It was awesome🙏🏼 @kocher_sarah

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on

Photo: @johnstonrach_ #CinemaFalls #OverTheBridgeFilm

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on


We certainly never expected we’d ever get to screen it at the opposite side of the Atlantic! Even if the Norwegian premiere was less “packed,” it was still a nice experience.

Tune in to #KSFY tomorrow night to watch me talk about the #OvertheBridgeFilm and the Awareness Fest in LA🎬

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on


Then, the highlight: I got to travel from coast to coast of America!


Red carpets and cocktail parties in downtown LA suddenly became words I could use in sentences formed in first person. Even if it was only for six days it was an experience that made me hungry to learn everything about the film industry. Read more about it HERE and HERE.


The following week I flew to Washington DC with a bunch of awesome journalism majors from Augustana. Read more HERE.

#LincolnMemorial #WashingtonDC ◾️◽️

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on


Two days later I headed to New York City (Read about it HERE) I visited the NYU Tisch School of the Arts (the university of my dreams) and did some film-related errands in the beautiful city of New York. I’ll tell you more about all that when it’s settled.

This City😍 #NYC #NewYork #TimesSquare

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on


Even if I didn’t find time to make another film this year, I learned a lot from directing my first play. Read HERE.

▪️Ladies in Black▪️Two shows down, one to go! #backstage #theatre #7x7plus1 #director #stagemanager

A post shared by marialavelle1 (@marialavelle1) on


And during the last weeks of the semester my photojournalism group and I made a short video about the Augustana Theatre, which was a nice way to tie both film and theatre together.


Throughout the year, Sarah and I have been invited to universities, churches, organisations and Homeless Advisory Board meetings to speak and show the film, we’ve done several TV- radio- and newspaper interviews, and we’ve had the chance to raise awareness around an issue we’re both passionate about.


Only God can spread a tiny documentary with jumpy sound and blurry footage to eight states and two continents without even publishing the film online!

So my conclusion is that God is good, and all honor goes to Him. I’m so thankful for the doors He’s opening, and I want to continue honoring him with my work. Let’s see what He has in store next. I choose to trust him.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this a good year. Bless you all!


Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2017

Privacy & cookies | Terms & conditions | Copyright