After filming his documentary “Multiple Sclerosis, Vikings and Nordic Skiing,” which explores different ways of coping with the disease, University of Wisconsin professor Ian Duncan hit a roadblock that prevent him from completing production.
The documentary covers the basics of MS and how people deal with the disease through exercise. The film followed a group of people with MS that chose cross-country skiing as a form of exercise, Steinar Hybertsen, the producer and cameraman for the documentary, said. Some people suffering from MS in the documentary had an inspiring goal to race in an extremely challenging ski race called “Birkebeiners,” he said.
Jesse Theiler, the campaign manager for the film and a UW alum, said the film needs $20,000 to produce it in a high-quality form. These funds are being raised through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site where people give a small amount of money for a reward in return.
“It’s sort of all or nothing. If $20,000 is achieved, then all those that gave $20 towards the film will receive a digital version of the film, but if we only reach $19,899 or anything below $20,000 then everything will be returned,” Theiler said.
The group’s strategy is to get in touch with direct contacts or specific groups that have an interest in MS or skiing, Theiler said. The team working on the documentary is also using social media to spread the word and reach more people, he said.
Hybertsen said he had not known much about MS until Duncan approached him about the documentary.
“I didn’t know anything about it and most of the people I had talked to had no idea, they just heard that this was a disease,” Hybertsen said. “We hope this documentary will inform people on what MS actually is.”
MS is a debilitating nerve disease that still lacks a cure, Hybertsen said. However, exercise can help cope with the disease, he said.
Duncan discovered skiing was valuable to people dealing with MS, not only because exercise is beneficial in general, but because people with MS prefer cold temperatures, Hybertsen said.
“I think people with MS shouldn’t be looking at this [diagnosis] as something hopeless and be very active and do everything they can to stay fit because that’s very important and it seems like it makes a difference,” Hybertsen said.
The film describes how the first cases of MS were documented in the Vikings and how it affects people today, Hybertsen said. The Vikings spread MS through their genes and due to their constant traveling, he said.
The goal of “Multiple Sclerosis, the Vikings and Nordic Skiing” is to make people more aware of what MS is and reveal to the people who are suffering from this disease that there are ways to cope by staying healthy and remaining active, Hybertsen said.
Theiler said the message of the documentary can reach beyond people coping with or interested in the disease.
“I think it’s really important to spread the word about exercise and its benefits which could potentially be true for other illnesses other than MS,” Theiler said.