Episode available within Canada only.

“The brochure said ‘For ages four and up.’ So I said, ‘Well, tell me where it says I can’t join?’ And they were like, ‘How old are you? You’re older than my mom.’ I’m like, ‘I’m older than your grandmother.’”— 59-year-old Wendy Ord  

Wendy Ord took to the ice in her fifties after a difficult divorce. She needed a challenge — and she found one! After many years of bone-jarring falls onto the ice, 59-year-old Wendy is now part of a team of “mature”’ women preparing for the International Skating Union’s 2018 International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. They decide to enter only six months before the competition, but they’re still determined to bring home some medals. To The Worlds follows these remarkable Kelowna, B.C.-area women as they defy their years, gravity and sometimes their doctors to push themselves to the edge.

Imagine Skate Canada meets The Real Housewives. Funny, irreverent and poignant, this documentary is a feel-good story about crazy dreams and second chances. Some skaters, like Wendy, learned to skate later in life. Others came back to the sport after having careers and children. All take pride in their strength and agility. “Some women our age can’t get off the toilet without help,” Maureen Barnes, 76, says with a chuckle and a hint of pride.

What began, for these women, as an opportunity for casual, fun exercise and female bonding swiftly becomes something more intense in To The Worlds. Seeing their skills progress, and medals pile up from local and regional competitions, Karen Smith, 46, suggests they sign up for the ISU International Adult Figure Skating Competition only six months away.

Each woman reveals why she’s taken on the challenge of a lifetime — and why now. As the clock ticks down, the skaters push themselves to their physical and mental limits, suffer debilitating injury, endure crushing disappointment and confront the still-powerful pull of parental expectations.

Pressure mounts. Cracks appear in the armour. One skater’s ruthless drive to win at all costs threatens friendships. 49-year-old Isabella Ciocoiu, the most intensely competitive member of the team, puts it this way: “If you want to get a piece of pure gold, you put it in fire. That seems cruel, but this is how you refine the gold. [A teammate’s injury] could be just the fire we are put through to be refined.”

While the documentary does paint a moving portrait of ambition, To The Worlds is ultimately a film about the power of female friendship and the pursuit of happiness — about learning to stop worrying about society's expectations and, finally, please oneself.

Of course, there’s still the matter of the medals. As Wendy says, “Anybody who tells you they don’t want a medal is a liar, even me.” But with only six months to prepare, can the team actually bring home any hardware?
 

 

Credits (Click to expand)

director
Wendy Ord

writers
Wendy Ord
Helen Slinger

story editor
Helen Slinger

producers
Maureen Palmer
Helen Slinger
Wendy Ord

editor
Glen Samuel

director of photography
Glen Samuel

original music
Timothy McCauley

line producer
Alison Hill

camera operators
Chelsea McEvoy
James Tocher

sound recordist
Mike Pedersen

additional editing
Allan Pinvidic

additional directing
Chelsea McEvoy

additional camera
Ryan Tebbutt

digital information technologist
Jamie Cottington

production assistant
Karen Smith

post-production supervisor
Alison Hill

colourist
Chris Macdonald

online editor & finishing
Allan Pinvidic

re-recording mixer & sound design
Ewan Deane

title design & animation
Erwin Chiong

stills photography
Harvey Bremmer
Jamie Cottington

publicity
Maureen Palmer
Zoe Grams

business affairs
Trevor Hodgson

production accountant
Sherrill Sirrs

legal counsel
Daniel Burnett

stock & archival material
Ted Barton
Deutsche Eislauf-Union
Mountain Lake Films
Taylor Gross
Steve Muff
International Skating Union
Skate Canada BC/YK Section

special thanks
Dave Drake
Diana Barkley
Winfield Arena
Don and Arlene Ord

for the CBC

general manager, programming
Sally Catto

executive director, unscripted content
Jennifer Dettman

senior director, documentary
Sandra Kleinfeld

senior director of production
Alexandra Lane

executive in charge of production
Charlotte Engel