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KARE 11 To Debut Feature Length Documentary "LOVE THEM FIRST: Lessons From Lucy Laney Elementary" at MSPIFF

1129 Days ago

MINNEAPOLIS, April 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- KARE 11 today announced the world premiere of its feature length documentary film LOVE THEM FIRST: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary will take place at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) on Saturday, April 13. 

LOVE THEM FIRST follows the determination of a charismatic north Minneapolis school principal, Mauri Melander Friestleben, as she sets out to undo history.

“People from all walks of the earth have little to no hope for public education. Little to no hope for children of color, period. But I choose hope. I choose to believe, and even if I’m proven wrong, I will go down believing.” – Lucy Laney Elementary Principal Mauri Friestleben

Not only does Minnesota have the largest achievement gap between black and white children in the United States, Friestleben faced another seemingly impossible obstacle, with Lucy Laney at the bottom of the state's list of underperforming schools for two decades.

Under Friestleben's leadership, standardized test scores from most black students began rising for the first time. And even when the school encounters an unexpected setback, Friestleben shows her students what is possible with perseverance and the power of love. 

This dynamic production began as a series of shorter KARE 11 News stories entitled Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary that aired from 2017-2018.  KARE 11 Reporter Lindsey Seavert and KARE 11 Photojournalist Ben Garvin embedded with Lucy Craft Laney at Cleveland Park Community School in north Minneapolis to tell the challenges and joys of this community.

“We had a window into a world that not many see,” said Lindsey Seavert, co-director. “It was through unprecedented access into a school, across one school year, that we were able build trust to lift up the stories of children in a truly compelling way.”

“Journalists have real power to shine a light on people who are doing good,” said Ben Garvin, co-director. “And Mauri is an example of a woman who is just really changing the world.”

“KARE 11 decided to make this project into a full-length feature film because we felt there was a larger story to be told, that could really make an impact,” said LOVE THEM FIRST Executive Producer and KARE 11 Director of Marketing Janeen Vogelaar. “We are thrilled to showcase this film at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and look forward to sharing this film with the larger community, later in 2019.”

“KARE 11 is dedicated to telling real and honest stories of our community,” said KARE 11 President and General Manager John Remes. “All of the KARE 11 staff are deeply proud of this work. This film will change your definition of what a true hero is and remind you of how beautiful our children are.”  

LOVE THEM FIRST: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary is a co-production of KARE 11 and its parent company TEGNA. For more information or to request a screening event, go to www.lovethemfirst.com.

Directors: Lindsey Seavert and Ben Garvin
Producers:  Melody Gilbert, Lindsey Seavert, Ben Garvin and Janeen Vogelaar
Executive Producer: Janeen Vogelaar
Cinematographer:  Ben Garvin
Lead Editor:  Ben Garvin
Post Production:  Channel Z, Minneapolis
Original Music: Cornbread Harris and Charlie McCarron

About KARE 11
KARE 11 is the Minneapolis/St. Paul, TEGNA-owned, NBC affiliate.

For media inquiries, contact:        
Janeen Vogelaar                                                                                   
KARE 11 Director of Marketing
P:  763-797-7270
For partnership inquiries, contact:
John Remes
KARE 11 President and General Manager
P: 763-797-7254

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/549fa545-0c8e-4907-9eec-a43bbdc3b3da.


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