Film - TENDER

Happy New Year!

I made it back to Norway shortly after a successful semester-ending at Tisch, where all of us 1st year students got to show our work at an open screening. I could not be happier with the reaction from the audience, but more importantly, as I sat in my seat and watched 35 other black and white MOS-films, I was almost touched to tears by the feeling of absolute gratitude. The opportunity to learn the craft of filmmaking at one of the world’s most preeminent film schools is enough to bring out that feeling in itself, but I realized that none of that would’ve been the same without the amazing bunch I now have the privilege of calling my classmates and friends.

To see the films they’ve all worked so hard on these past few months just added another layer to our bond as a class, and I think we all left the screening room with different perspectives on both ourselves and each other.

From our first week together. This is not even half of us, but you get the idea. Photo: Flynn Yang.

The day was completed with a premiere party and dinner with my dear Crew 7.

Now, after about a week of doing nothing at all, I’m ready to bring this blog back to life.

You see, this is actually the first real vacation I’ve had in years, so I wanted to make the most of it. By “real” I mean no working or reporting, no intense training sessions in preparation to half-marathons or other extra curriculars, no social media, and no pressure from anywhere or anyone. It’s been pure bliss and very necessary, but now I’m ready to get back to work.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from the Lavelles! Photo: Gerd Dagsland.

I have to produce and shoot a short documentary before school starts in mid-January, so I better get that started asap, but I just wanted to stop by and say hello.

Have a blessed New Year.

Much Love,
Maria

Beach

As you know, I’m incredibly proud and thankful to collaborate with Skjaeraasen Jewelry, and since a hint of autumn just hit the city, I wanted to share some of these photos before the summer fades too far into the past.

Please check out their website:
www.skjaeraasen.no

The designer, Kristin Skjæraasen, worked around my otherwise minimalistic style to find jewelry that I don’t just like, but LOVE — and that’s an accomplishment in itself!

Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.

 

PS!
If you, after looking at these photos, think that I’m even close to this elegant in real life, let me remind you of who I really am …

Most of the pictures ended up looking like this:

Or this:
(Because I’m always cold and had to warm up between every shot).

But I like running, so it was fine.

This post Part 2 out of many more. Click to see Part 1 HERE.

 

Until next time.

www.skjaeraasen.no

 

Jewelry

In my mind, things that involve cameras are rarely a waste of time. So, when the opportunity to try out “jewelry modeling” came my way, I decided to go for it.

Stepping in front of the camera — as opposed to hitting the shutter myself — really forces me to punch my comfort zone in the face, but I keep telling myself that I’ll be better behind the lens if I know what it feels like to be in front of it.

The jewelry is from Skjæraasen, a Norwegian brand that designs and produces jewelry and interior articles. I’m so honored to collaborate with them — even if they’re based at the opposite side of the country, and we had to shoot the photos here in Haugesund.

My friend Rannveig is a great photographer, and effortlessly filled the geographical gap between two corners of Norway.

I’ve never been big on jewelry, but the designer, Kristin Skjæraasen, somehow managed to figure out what works with my otherwise minimalistic style, and I love it.

I’m excited to show you more of the collection in another post, but please check out the Skjaeraasen website in the meantime.

Skjaeraasen. Photos by Rannveig Froestad.

As you already know, I can be pretty goofy –especially when I’m uncomfortable– so don’t you dare think I kept up that RBF (Resting Bitch Face) the whole day — it cracked rather quickly. Big creds to Rannveig who captured the very few moments in between where I looked decent.

Also, before I get any questions about the tattoo: No, it’s not new, and yes, I could write a whole post about it. Maybe someday. Those of you who are close to me know why that’s a topic for another post.

To see the photoshoot I did with the talented Mike Shafer earlier this year, CLICK HERE.

Have a blessed Friday!

Maria

A different kind of finals week

First, thanks so much for the response on my previous post “Everybody’s Grown up. Then there’s me.

It’s been a while since one of my posts has generated this many messages and uplifting words — thank you!


After I finished my last shift at the newspaper on Thursday, I thought I’d have plenty of time to be bored, but the amount of stuff I have to get done in the next six days reminds me more of finals week at Augustana than anything else.

I won’t put you through my whole to-do list, but the most important thing is that I’m applying to all the grants possible so that I’ll — hopefully — have enough money fund my second year at NYU. The process, however, turns out to be slightly more time-consuming than I expected.

I’m also looking for housing in NYC — which is a draining and entertaining adventure in itself, so please let me know if you know someone who can fit two students into their apartment in East- West- or Greenwich Village, haha.

With just two weeks left until school starts, I’m trying to master a new film editing software that we’ll use at Tisch, while also attempting to plow through a list of 100 movies assigned by the faculty. Okay, okay, I started the viewing-list months ago, so I have that one under total and complete control, but the rest is a handful right now.

However, I have allowed myself some time outdoors, I promise. I can’t use any tan lines as proof, but here’s a picture for ya. The green stuff in the background is real nature.

Photo: Mirjam Lavelle.

Well, anyway, I wrote this post for the sole purpose of telling you to stay tuned for my next post. So I better get to it — STAY TUNED!

Who knew I’d ever do jewelry modeling?! I’ll tell you all about it later this week.

Have a blessed day,
Maria

Eveybody’s grown up, and then there’s me.

Seeing how many of my former classmates are all “grown up” with boyfriends, fiancés, husbands, kids, houses, cars and down-paid student loans have made me think thoughts that felt distant when I was at Augustana, but suddenly very close now that I’m here in Norway.

I’ve felt a combination of relief and gratitude for the freedom of not having to “grow up” yet; of not having to worry about buying a station wagon, finding a job, planning family vacations or weddings, arguing about how to raise the kids, and about making secure, logical and reasonable life choices.

But in between that relief and gratitude, there’s doubt. Logical doubt. Tempting shortcuts rooted inside comfort-zones. So many easier options, secure options, reasonable options.

“Am I making the right decisions with my life? Is my dream worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Am I the only one in the world not wanting to settle? Should I settle?”

Photo: Mirjam Lavelle.

You see, Norway is a paradise for secure, logical and reasonable life choices. I’m surrounded by people who’ve done it all the “right way.” You know, the way banks, parents, teachers, coaches and neighbors have advised you to do things from the day you were born.

The Utopia for comfortable and predictable lifestyles is right here in Norway — everywhere I turn I see logic screaming for attention.

Still, I choose not to listen.

Please don’t get me wrong; my heart bubbles of joy when I see people who found their way, their job and their loved one. I’m thrilled to see that their relationships are thriving, that their coffeemaker was on sale, that their station wagon runs well, that their honeymoon-tickets were cheap, that their baby said a word, that the lawn is recovering from the winter and that their student loans are paid down. I’m happy for them, I really am.

But I also know that behind my occasional moments of doubt and temptation for “the comfortable,” I have to continue working towards my dream; the dream that won’t be satisfied by having a house, a car, a coffee-maker and a nine-to-five job.

In the midst of all the noise, I need to follow my heart and trust God.

Photo: Mirjam Lavelle.

So, what am I trying to say?

– In my head there’s nothing logical about NYU Tisch, or even attempting to apply to the program. Less than two percent gets accepted, and it’s so expensive that regardless of how fast I say the number, it still takes a great deal of syllables to pronounce the cost in its entirety. Meanwhile, I could have studied for free at a Norwegian university, settled with my journalism degree, gotten a normal job and started saving up for that station wagon — but once again I ignored logic and went with my heart.

Sometimes I feel confident in the decision, and sometimes I ask myself what in the world I’m doing.

Yesterday fit the latter description. I felt freaked out when I thought about the tremendous amounts of money that goes into my dream, and about the things I sacrifice.

But I tell myself that even if I’m not close to buying a house or a car, and probably can’t afford anything big enough to earn the name “apartment” for quite some time, I’m at least fueling my dream the best I can.

I don’t need a perfect lawn or a nice coffee-maker for now, I need to make films.

The rest is up to God.

Maria

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