A documentary film, titled Multiple Sclerosis, The Vikings and Nordic Skiing, will feature prominently Midwest skiers of the American Birkebeiner. The producers of the film are trying to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter to complete the project and distribute it to public television stations.
Ian Duncan, a professor of neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served as a medical and scientific advisor for the documentary. “I have combined my love of cross-country skiing with my long-term research interests in multiple sclerosis. The documentary was made to show that a healthy, active lifestyle is beneficial for people with MS,” he wrote in an email.
The documentary, Duncan said, “is almost complete, and although I have to admit a bias, I think it’s great and I am very proud of it. It has been seen by many people with MS and others in the U.S. and Norway ahead of release and everyone thought it is excellent.”
The documentary focuses on six people with MS, three in the U.S. and three in Norway, including Peter Fritzell of Ames, Iowa, and Catherine Brekke of St. Paul, Minnesota. In the trailer for the film, Duncan notes that skiers of the American Birkebeiner have raised some $300,000 for MS research.
The film was produced by Steinar Hybertsen who lives in Colorado but works extensively in Norway, his homeland. The film will be shown in the U.S. on certain PBS stations and in Norway on the NRK network, according to Duncan.
Duncan urged supporters of the project to go to the Kickstarter website to view a three-minute trailer of the film and make a donation. The trailer and more information can be found at on the project's Kickstarter page.
As of October 9, the Kickstarter fundraising effort had raised less than $4,000 toward the $20,000 goal. Kickstarter required that the goal amount must be reached within 30 days if they producers of the film are to receive any of the pledged money. They have until mid-November to raise the $20,000.