Native American Film, With Campus Ties, Earns Emmy Nomination - Aug 24, 2009 - Office of Multicultural Affairs - UW-Superior News and Events

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Native American Film, With Campus Ties, Earns Emmy Nomination

Posted on Aug 24, 2009
"Walking Into The Unknown" a Native American health film produced by staff member Ivy Vainio and features recent graduate Jay Schlender and current student Sam Maday, earns an Emmy nomination.
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Walking Into The Unknown DVD Cover

© 2009 Nate Maydole

Walking Into The Unknown DVD Cover

"Walking Into The Unknown," a documentary film that traces the personal journey of a middle-aged male through the health care system, has earned an Emmy nomination in the Cultural Documentary category by the Midwest Emmy Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The film was produced by Ivy Vainio, multicultural student specialist at UW-Superior and features Dr. Arne Vainio, a physician and a supporter of the UW-Superior Foundation. Recent UW-Superior graduate Jason Schlender and current student Sam Maday are also featured in the film.

"The film has had a huge impact whenever it's been shown. Being nominated for an Emmy is above and beyond our wildest dreams and will hopefully help get this message out to all people regardless of race," said Ivy Vainio. "We are extremely grateful for this nomination. We are looking forward to the awards ceremony on September 26th and hope the film wins an Emmy."

"Walking Into the Unknown" follows the personal journey of Dr. Arne Vainio, an Ojibwe family practice physician who works on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota. Frustrated by middle-aged American Indian men not coming in for health screenings, he came to the realization that he, too, was avoiding the necessary screenings.

Facing all the health risk statistics for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer that many American Indians face, Vainio chose to undergo the medical screenings, diet changes, and new lifestyle necessary to override the fatal outcome experienced by many people. In the film, he takes viewers with him every step of the way on an intimate and fascinating walk into the unknown, as doctor reverses roles and becomes the patient. The result is a poignant story of vulnerability and personal revelation that inspires and educates viewers.

"When we first started filming 'Walking Into The Unknown,' all we wanted was to raise awareness of men's health issues and get them to realize the importance of health screening and prevention," Vainio said.

The film also features the stories of two younger American Indian men - Schlender and Maday -- who lost their fathers prematurely to the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. They offer powerful testimonials about who gets left behind when a family member dies early.

Schlender, who graduated from UW-Superior in May, is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Band of Ojibwe and lives in Red Cliff, Wisconsin. Maday is a member of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe and lives in Odanah, Wisconsin.

"Walking Into The Unknown" was directed by Nate Maydole. The film was funded by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa with partial support from the I.H.S. Special Diabetes Program. Music was provided by Canyon Records and other artists.

More information about "Walking Into The Unknown," including links to health information, a list of screenings, and film excerpts is available at

News Contact: Yvonne Vainio | 715-394-8415 | yvainio{atuws}
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