- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

BLAISDELL, N.D. (AP) - Leevi Meyer and her family are anxiously waiting for the Oscars, the annual academy awards honoring the best films, on Sunday night.

Leevi, daughter of Curt and Summer Meyer who live south of Blaisdell, is one of the stars of a documentary film nominated for an Oscar.

The approximately 19-minute documentary “White Earth,” done by documentary filmmaker Christian Jensen, tells the story of the oil boom seen through the eyes of children and a migrant mother during a winter in North Dakota. Jensen is an adjunct professor who teaches filmmaking at Stanford University.

The film is one of five nominees in the Oscars’ Documentary Short Subject category.

Leevi, a sixth-grader in Stanley, said she will watch the Oscars with other family members including her older brother Bray and older sister Kassie, who also attend school in Stanley.

“We definitely plan on watching it. We don’t want to miss it,” said Leevi’s mother, Summer Meyer.

Curt Meyer said the film and all that has come with it has been quite interesting.

“I never dreamt when they were out here doing it, how far it was going to go,” he told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1DGmTMY ).

The film already has won numerous awards worldwide in film festivals. “But I never thought it would go to the Oscars,” Leevi said.

Leevi is one of the three children featured in “White Earth,” which Jensen filmed during the winter of 2012-2013 in the White Earth, Stanley, Blaisdell and Williston areas.

She is the North Dakota-born girl in the documentary. The other children are James McClellan, a boy who lives in a camper in White Earth with his dad who works in the oil field, and Elena Guadalupe Loaiza, who was in Leevi’s fourth-grade class in Stanley when the filming was done.

The documentary was done when Leevi was in the fourth grade. Her class and their teacher, Justin Labar, are in the film.

Jensen and LaBar got to know each other in North Dakota. When Jensen visited LaBar’s fourth-grade class to talk about his film project, Leevi was selected for the film.

“I kind of did just everyday things (in the film) like cleaning out the chicken coop and ice skating with my friends,” she said.

When she first saw the documentary, she said, “It was kind of cool because like I never did any of the talking while I was doing like feeding horses, riding horse or nothing like that. It was actually on my grandma’s birthday and we kind of built a fort so no noises would get in there. We built a fort and would go in there and talked in there and he (Jensen) asked questions.”

Summer Meyer said Jensen’s documentary has “done very well.” She said they attended the Fargo Film Festival in February 2014, where the documentary was a winner.

“He invited us there and we got to go see different films and we got to do like little meet-and-greet,” Leevi said.

“He (Jensen) took her up there when he got the award and they asked her questions,” Summer Meyer said. “She did fantastic. She was very comfortable with it.”.

Jensen said having “White Earth” nominated for an Oscar is exciting. He said he also enjoyed his time in North Dakota working on the documentary.

“I really loved meeting the people,” he said.


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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