Credit: CBC photo

On July 3, the Open Ice Collective (openicecollective.com) will premiere the one-hour documentary film “Open Ice: Visionaries” featuring four of figure skating’s game-changers, who share stories and emotional connections to causes they hold dear. Open Ice creator and the film’s executive producer, two-time Olympian, three-time World Championship medalist in ice dance and now a New Yorker, Kaitlyn Weaver, held the first Open Ice event in 2020 as a COVID relief fundraiser.

The film is directed by Adriana Pierce with cinematography by Jordan Cowan of On Ice Perspectives. In addition to performances, audiences will get a personal glimpse of these skating stars, who are coming together as a community to help important causes. The program is scored with original music by Steven Jarmail.

“The film will showcase…unique choreography on the ice and also off-ice interviews, sharing their stories,” said Weaver. “It’s on- and off-ice footage all explaining how they got to be where they are. One of my biggest goals is to connect people and to bring these legends down to human level. The pandemic taught us that we’re all in this together.”

The four individuals featured are 1984 Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, who is raising money for the Scott Hamilton CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) Foundation. The next participant is Finnish Olympic skater Kiira Korpi, who speaks out for child advocacy in sports, raising money for Protection and Allyship for Children in Sport. U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon has selected The Trevor Project, a 24-hour national suicide hotline for LGBTQ teens and young adults.

Canadian skater Elladj Baldé co-founded the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance following the death of George Floyd and is spotlighting this organization. He has been working to create greater diversity and visibility in skating. Weaver said, “He is the number one force for BIPOC people belonging and having a community on the ice.”

Baldé has been blunt in speaking about negative experiences he’s had in skating. Weaver is using her platform to amplify the voices of BIPOC skaters. Following the film there will be a roundtable discussion with the cast and creators as well as some special guests.

“We get a version of them that’s telling their stories in their own words,” said Weaver. “Right now in skating, we see competitions and social media. We don’t get a chance to know anybody anymore. I feel these people are changing the world and I want them to tell their story of how they got there. We all have the ability to make a difference.”