Sun Mar 1, 2020 – 2:30 pm | La Casa Grande
Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary
Directed by Ben Garvin and Lindsey Seavert
USA | 90 min | 2019
One Year. One Principal. One heartbreaking setback as her failing elementary school struggles to get off “the list.” With unprecedented access over the course of a year, LOVE THEM FIRST follows the determination of a charismatic Minneapolis school principal, Mauri Melander Friestleben, as she sets out to undo history. 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, but when the school encounters a heartbreaking setback, Friestleben is forced to confront the true measure of student success at Lucy Laney. It’s a story of inspiration, heartbreak, perseverance and the power of love.
Ben Garvin and Lindsey Seaver
While Lindsey Seavert is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award winning reporter, her greatest successes do not sit on a shelf. She is most proud of unearthing untold stories that encourage understanding and bringing them to light.
Her parents were Minnesota public school teachers who gave her the gift of curiosity, so with a book and pencil often in hand, she began writing as a young child, and hasn’t stopped since.
She graduated from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism and worked as a reporter at five news stations stretching from Northern Minnesota, Nevada, and Ohio before coming home to the Twin Cities. Lindsey came to KARE 11 in 2012, drawn to KARE 11’s unparalleled commitment to storytelling.
The legacy of teaching in her family inspires Lindsey to use stories as a vehicle to educate and serve the community. Her work often focuses on women, families and children, but she is most passionate about bringing a voice to underrepresented communities, which is how she discovered the transformation inside Lucy Craft Laney Elementary school.
When Lindsey is not on assignment, she mentors young journalists, enjoys running, creative writing, and volunteering in the community.
Her greatest rewards are her husband, Ian, and two children. Their son Stellan attends Minneapolis Public Schools, and the couple also has a younger daughter, Phoebe. Lindsey lives in Southwest Minneapolis and enjoys time outdoors at Lake Harriet, exploring neighborhoods and the many treasures of the Twin Cities area.
Lindsey is honored to share the story of an educator who she believes is already well on her way. Love Them First is Lindsey’s first documentary as a director.
Ben grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, raised by parents who taught him to remain idealistic about a world that’s often dark. As an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning-photojournalist now at KARE11 TV, Garvin was named 2011 Journalist of the Year by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and photographer of the year by the Minnesota Press Photographers Association in 2007. In 2017 he served as president of the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists where he helped overturn a ban on photography in state prisons. His work on assignment for the New York Times was included in the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story on food poisoning in 2010. In 2012 Garvin published an award-winning photography book called “Ant Farm, Glimpses of Daily Life in Minnesota”.
Previously Garvin worked for the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune in Minnesota, the Christian Science Monitor in Boston and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire where was named three-time New Hampshire Photographer of the Year.
Garvin studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas before earning a BFA in Visual Journalism with a minor in philosophy from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife Jessica, a cellist and baker, and children Arthur, Lewis, Bailey and Netta. Love Them First is Ben’s first documentary as a director.