October 17-24, 2019

Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary

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With unprecedented access over the course of a year, Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary follows the determination of a charismatic north 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.

Filmmaker Biography

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. With a book and pencil often in hand, she began writing as a young child, and has not 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. She has been a storyteller at KARE 11 since 2012.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.

Ben Garvin grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, raised by hippy dippy parents who taught him to remain idealistic about a world that is often dark. As an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award winning photojournalist now at KARE 11 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, Christian Science Monitor in Boston, and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire where he 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. 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.


  • Wingate University, Wingate, NC. Thursday 10/17/2019
  • Fuquay-Varina Arts Center, Fuquay-Varina, NC. Saturday 10/19/2019
  • Union College, Barbourville, KY. Monday 10/21/2019
  • University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY. Tuesday 10/22/2019
  • Gateway Regional Arts Center, Mt. Sterling, KY. Wednesday 10/23/2019
  • Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. Thursday 10/24/2019