To the Worlds – a CBC Skating Documentary
January 11, 2019
By: Skate Ontario Staff
In light of the marvelous group of adult skaters who are busy hitting the ice across Ontario, we thought it would be fun to bring an upcoming CBC documentary about adult Canadian skaters to light. The documentary is called To the Worlds.
To The Worlds airs Friday January 18th on CBC TV’s Docs POV at 9:00pm local time or streaming live at noon that same day on the CBC website (www.cbc.ca). To The Worlds follows a dedicated group of Kelowna-area women, 46 to 77, as they defy their years, gravity, and sometimes their doctors, to compete in the 2018 International Skating Union’s Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. Think seniors in sparkles and spandex.
You can view the trailer for the documentary here.
The story is told through the raspy pack-per-day voice of the film’s director, 59-year-old Wendy Ord, who took up skating in her 50s as part of a confidence booster after a difficult divorce. Ord has her roots in Ontario, where she started skating at the Flesherton Skating Club as mentioned below as a 50-year-old.
“The brochure said for ages four and up. So, I said well tell me where it says I can’t join? And the kids were like how old are you? You’re older than my mom. I’m like I’m older than your grandmother.”
Moving out west, Ord decided to pick up where she left off and that’s when this idea for the film took place.
Why this story? “Well, it’s important because it really talks about aging and friendship and the mental issues and the difficulties we suffer as age. All of the 7 women have their own reason for taking on this competition at this time of their life. We dig into each one of their stories through the film. My reason was a difficult divorce, one woman lost her son and was looking find joy again through skating, and another woman had lost her husband,” said Ord.
Off the ice, each woman reveals why she’s taken on the challenge of a lifetime and why now. As the clock ticks down To the Worlds, skaters suffer debilitating injury, endure crushing disappointment, confront the still-powerful pull of parental expectations. Pressure mounts. Cracks appear in the armour. One team member falls and leaves the ice in an ambulance. Another threatens to jettison the intense friendships forged through gruelling training, to win at all costs.
Funny, irreverent and poignant, To the Worlds is a feel-good story about crazy dreams and second chances.
It’s also brave. Ord says, “I think all of the women who are in this documentary are seeing themselves for the first time on film and in a skating dress and it is about visibility. They are putting themselves out there in front of and audience, their kids and grand kids and it’s extremely nerve-wracking. Why do we do this? We get that same glow that young people get when you get audible applause. Most people never get to stand on a stage and hear audible applause so that’s kind of a cool thing.”
The process did take some time, although Ord said it happened like a film maker’s dream. “We started filing in summer of 2016 and then we had to drop for paying gigs. We put together a trailer teaser in the fall of 2017 and then 3 days before Xmas, I decided to submit it to CBC and by 9:00 am the next day CBC called and said they were in. We picked up the shooting in January 2018 and we followed everyone to Obertsdorf for the World Adult Championships in May 2018.
Ord’s message is clear: “I want people to know it doesn’t matter what your age or abilities, pursue your dreams. If you had a dream that you never pursued – pick it up. It doesn’t have to be a big dream, go out and play and have fun whatever your age. It doesn’t matter.”