Archive for Month: May 2016

A Great Ending to a Great Semester

If you read my previous post you might remember that we were invited to show our film at a Cinema Falls event on Wednesday! After a long and busy day it was great to be able to show up to such an incredibly well-organized event. The host, Julie Andersen Friesen, made sure we felt truly appreciated as filmmakers, and for the first time, Sarah and I were able to focus solely on talking about the film — without worrying about the logistics of pulling off an event, like we had to do for the Augustana premiere.

Actually, the screening was close to sold-out an hour before the doors opened, so I think we can say that it was a success!


Photo: Robert Kolbe

Photo: Cinema Falls


Even if this was our third screening of “Over the Bridge” I was almost more nervous this time. Because, like I said at the Sioux Empire Film Festival, showing your work to people who knows what good filmmaking is supposed to look like is much more intimidating than showing it to your college friends (who will tell you it’s great no matter what) But the response from the audience was great!

Photo: Rachel Johnston

After the event we went out to eat, and then I had to do the final touches of my packing before I flew to Norway.


I don’t think I can describe how wonderful it felt to see my parents in the waiting hall at the airport after almost six months of (terribly blurred and glitchy) communication through Skype.

I truly enjoyed the first couple of days, but then I caught a cold the following day and ended up sleeping 12-13 hours several nights in a row! Isn’t it weird how you feel great when you’re busy, but as soon as you slow down you suddenly realize how absolutely exhausted you’ve been?

I guess being a fulltime student, section editor in the yearbook, director of a documentary while also training for a half marathon was a little draining after all.

But since I won’t start my internship until next month, I’ll force myself to actually relax for a couple of weeks first — and I’ll also try to keep this blog somewhat alive.

Bless you all,

Dakota Midday Radio Show

Like I mentioned in my last post, Sarah and I did an interview for the Dakota Midday Show on Wednesday. If you have any interest in knowing what we talked about, CLICK HERE to listen.

I’ll tell you all about the Cinema Falls screening later today, but now I have a plane to catch. However, I do want to tell you that it was awesome! So stay tuned.

Photo by: Cinema Falls #Cinemafalls

Talk to you later,

Radio Interview, Cinema Falls and Packing

I’m officially done with all finals for the semester, but that doesn’t mean I have time to relax just yet. I started the day with a short run (the first one since the half marathon) before I went to the Original Pancake House with Brittany and Karen.

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Then Sarah and I did a radio interview for the Dakota Midday Show with Lori Walsh about our Cinema Falls event tonight. As you know I did a couple of TV-interviews earlier this year, but I actually think live radio is much more intimidating. Oh well, I’ll post a link when it’s out.

I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to show Over the Bridge at Cinema Falls tonight!! Not only does it allow us to spread the message about homelessness even further, but the people who attend these events are experienced film watchers, so we might be able to get some guidance and feedback from people who know what they’re talking about!

The tickets are going fast, so if you plan on attending, make sure you purchase in advance!

After the interview I had a meeting, and now I better go and move all my stuff to the summer storage. Ugh, it was almost a little sad packing away my “American home” and stuffing it into boxes yesterday. But I’ll have a bigger room next year, so I’ll just look forward to unpacking it all again then.

Also, before I forget. I did take some time to celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day yesterday. Just look!

Bless you all,

Editorial: Firing a shot at the IAAF

In November 2015, the International Association of Athletics Federations made the decision to initiate a doping ban that will keep all Russian track athletes from participating in international competitions, including the World Championships – even if the majority of them have never officially tested positive. And now, with less than three months remaining until the Olympic torch is lit inside the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, hundreds of Russian athletes are left without the opportunity to compete.

Yelena Isinbayeva
Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva never tested positive for doping, but was still banned from the World Championships last year. Photo by Malien Bravo

It was after Hajo Seppelt, a German investigative journalist, released his two documentaries “Secret doping dossier: How Russia produces its winners,” and “Doping – top secret: The shadowy world of athletics” last year, that hell broke loose for Russian track athletes. Not only were several of the biggest stars caught admitting their use of performance enhancing drugs on camera, but the film also alleged systematic state-sponsored doping throughout the whole Russian Federation, and history’s biggest doping scandal in the sport of athletics was just starting to emerge.

But by banning an entire nation, the IAAF declares that the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply to the victims of the Eastern European system.

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Photo by Anson Henry/CBS Sports

Although it seems like Russia never quite recovered from the cheater’s mentality that started evolving behind the Iron Curtain in the USSR in the 1970s, it’s wrong to let today’s athletes suffer because the system is useless. The severe corruption and pressure from the government has paralyzed the country’s anti-doping work, and according to The Sunday Times, a database-leak revealed that blood tests from 5,000 Russian athletes showed extraordinary signs of doping.

If that’s true, banning all the athletes who did test positive would seem like a fair deal, but the real concerning issue here is that all those 12,000 blood samples were never disclosed to the public, or even to the World Anti-Doping Association.

That means the Russian Anti-Doping Association failed to do its job, and it should be punished instead of just sweeping all athletes into the same ditch – regardless of whether or not they have tested positive.

The IAAF used its most powerful tool by suspending the whole federation, and even if the ban will keep many doped athletes from entering the result lists, it only treats the symptoms of this whole epidemic.

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Mariya Savinova was caught discussing her use of performance enhancing drugs on video. According to the New York Times she said: “Well, really, what should we do? How should it go differently? That is our system and in Russia that only works only with pharma.” Photo by: Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press

The reason why so many athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs is because they think they can get away with it – or their coaches and their team organizations think they can get away with it. If the RUSADA had done its job, the athletes who actually did cheat would have been plucked out of the circuit before it got to this point.

Punishing all the athletes from participating at the Olympics is just like deporting all Mexicans from the US because someone said the crime rates have been shown to be higher among the Hispanic population – it’s too generalizing and makes innocent people suffer more than they have to.

Now that Hajo Seppelt has found information that implies that the doping culture in Russia is, in fact, run by the government, the IAAF should see that they caught the wrong guys.

Editorial by Maria Lavelle

My first half marathon

As a follow-up to last year’s “This is what happens when a former triple jumper tries to run a 5k” I want to share today’s half marathon experience with you all, but I recommend you read the post about the 5K first.

Hey there! You rebel. Go back up and read the post like I told you to. Well, decide for yourself.

Okay, now that you’ve read it you know that after my stress fracture finally healed up this past fall I’ve been running a little every now and then. Nothing serious, but just enough to keep my exercise addiction alive.

I finished up the documentary “Over the Bridge” about two months ago and was planning on just chilling the rest of the semester. However, I got bored after three days and realized I needed a new project. So I gently forced my friend Matthew Housiaux to join me on the journey towards Brookings Half Marathon. Sorry, Matt!

And at 4:00 this morning it suddenly became real. We drove to Brookings, (about an hour north of Sioux Falls) lined up with hundreds of other runners with the hope of surviving the 21.1km (13.1 miles) that waited us.

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One would think that I, as a former track athlete, wold have lungs of steel and that running hundreds of miles would be easy, but that notion does NOT apply to me. Not even the slightest. I used to avoid all endurance training because I didn’t want to waste time doing something that wouldn’t make me better at what I was doing in competition, so to even consider running a half marathon was a big step for me.

I was, of course, terrified of going out so hard the first mile I’d end up crawling the remaining 12, so I took it pretty easy — and to my big surprise — it was fun! The first 10km (6 miles) felt so easy I was wondering if someone had accidentally injected me with EPO. One really shouldn’t joke about that, but you get my point.

However, the soles of my feet started aching shortly after, and by the 15km (9 miles) mark I didn’t exactly feel that great. But at that point I just wanted it to end so I picked up my pace and shuffled my way to about 18km (11 miles) and from there I somehow made it to the finish line. Yay!

With my time of 2:08.52 I placed as 104 out of 225 women. Even if the time and placement doesn’t even resemble anything that has to do with elite sports, I’m very proud that I was able to finish all 21 kilometres without stopping. I ran the last 10km in 55 minutes, so at least I finished stronger than I started, haha.

Overall, it was a fun experience and Matt said it was worth it in the end… which makes me feel a little better about pushing him to do this with me. Thanks, Matt!

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No I didn’t wear my coat and this beautiful silver cape during the race. Although, I might have been able to shave off a few minutes if I did… Who knows? #Superherocape

Now I’ll head to the theatre to perform the monologue I told you about earlier. Man, what a busy day!

Have a great Saturday all,

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