An Arlington resident has produced a new documentary about the mesmerizing world of synchronized skating.
“Life in Synchro,” partly filmed at the MedStar Capitals IcePlex in Ballston, will be screened locally at the DC Independent Film Festival on Saturday, March 7. Rosslyn resident Nicole Davies produced the film while fellow American University alum Angela Pinaglia directed it.
The female-dominated sport, in which teams of eight to 20 skaters perform formations and step sequences in-sync to music, is little-known to most people, the filmmakers said. When Pinaglia was doing research for the film, she could not find any previous documentaries or films based on synchronized skating.
We talked with both filmmakers about the documentary and the sport.
How did you get involved in the project?
Nicole: I have been a synchronized skater since I was nine years old. Angela and I met at American University and we were working together for the school communication summer program. I was always talking about synchronized skating and Angela didn’t really care until about three years ago. Angela saw it for the first time in Arlington. She realized then when she saw it how special it was.
Angela: When you’re in the ice rink you can literally feel a wall of wind as sixteen skaters are skating past you on the ice, so it’s a very immersive experience. I turned to Nicole afterwards and I said this is really cool, [and that] we should do a documentary.
How does it feel having these film garner attention?
Angela: Obviously as a filmmaker you want people to watch your movie. But I am more excited that people are finally going to find out about the sport. Now I have spent so much time with all these women and there are a lot of people that didn’t make it into the movie that I got to know too. The passion they live their lives with around the sport is very inspiring for me and for other people to see that and to walk away inspired after watching the movie is really my big payoff.
How much of the movie is filmed in Arlington?
Angela: A lot more was filmed than actually made it in the movie… there’s actually very little of actual Arlington, two interview shots at the ice rink, a couple of ice skating, like two or three, that team [DC Edge] ended up not being one of the main teams in the movie because of the reality of time. There’s a couple shots in the beginning of the movie, but unfortunately not a lot actually made it in the movie.
Nicole: But we did spend a number of days there. We crowdfunded to raise money to produce. Our first Indiegogo preview trailer was all filmed in Arlington, so that started raising money at the beginning. There is a lot more that we filmed that did not actually make it in, but we did spend a lot of time [in Arlington].
What’s next for you?
Angela: I’m very much still in this one. We have switched now to this other phase of this movie which is basically promotion right and marketing so I need to be thinking about it. [But also] there’s this whole other aspect to female empowerment in the movie. That’s one of the reasons I got into the movie because yeah skating is cool but it’s so much cooler to see women kicking ass. So that’s what me and Nicole are now trying to figure out how do we get this movie out to young girls, athletes, women who just need that empowerment or validation no matter what they’re doing.
The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.