Figure skating movies, we love them! SkatePerfect is proud to present an interview with Maddison Bullock, writer, producer and cast member of “Ice The Movie”. We ask her about her childhood and life experiences which led her to create her dream production. Ice the Move is available on Amazon Prime, Vimeo worldwide. Lets first provide an insight into the film
Ice the Movie Film Synopsis
Single father Nick Grantham (Patrick O’Brien Demsey, Miracle) is approached by famed Russian figure skating coach Gavin Veerak (Michael Monks, Air Force One) with the opportunity to train his only daughter Bailey (Maddison Bullock, Stasis) alongside skating prodigy Peyton Shaw (Lisa Mihelich, Dog Park) for a shot at figure skating’s ultimate prize.
In this inspirational sports drama, audiences will be swept up into the gorgeous and gripping whirlwind ride of Bailey and Peyton as they learn to balance the complexities of rivalry and friendship amidst the high- stakes, pressure-packed world that is women’s elite figure skating. Ice The Movie is a heartwarming skating love story about the sacrifices one makes to follow their dreams while preserving the gold medal values of loyalty, family, and lifelong friendship. A film the whole family will enjoy.
Where to watch Ice the Movie
The film is currently available for video on demand on Amazon in the US and the UK https://www.amazon.com/Ice-Movie-Maddison-Bullock (USA) Amazon.co.uk (UK) and and on Vimeo worldwide. Physical, blu-rays of the film, including autographed copies, can be purchased at www.fuzzysoakers.com
A note from Writer/Producer Maddison Bullock
I created Ice The Movie as a love letter to the sport of figure skating. Ice The Movie is ultimately a film about the many special relationships one develops along the journey of skating. It’s really the relationships that matter at the end, not the gold medals or the accolades. The process of shooting the film was highly collaborative, a true Hollywood-figure skating hybrid if you will! I was incredibly blessed to employ the talents of professional, working actors such as Mike C. Manning and Gregory Itzin, as well as work with prominent skating brands like Skates US and Karisma Sportswear.
The movie has sold in over twenty-five countries and we have received recognition from the Hollywood Outsider, Skating Magazine, Figure Skater Fitness, and NBC Olympics. While young skaters consistently send me messages on social media with photos from their movie watch parties, Coaches and parents of skaters worldwide have celebrated the messages of good sportsmanship and camaraderie the film promotes and have even incorporated the film into training exercises.
The movie really is all about collaboration and inclusion. Even after the films release on Amazon, Vimeo, and Blu-ray last year, we continue to find new forms of inclusion! In fact, I am pleased to announce that we have a whole line of movie merchandise featuring quotes from the film, skating apparel, and even props from the film that are now available as well!! People can get a prop/wardrobe piece directly from the film that includes a photo of it in the movie and a certificate of authenticity at www.fuzzysoakers.com
I am proud of Ice The Movie and the entire family of independent artists both on and off the ice that made it’s realization possible. Fans are welcome to follow me on Instagram @maddisonbullock to send any of their questions/share their love for the film as well!
Ice the Movie – What people are saying
“Ice The Movie showcases just how determined and dedicated figure skaters are! I feel like it’s so rare to see a movie that accurately depicts the strength and endurance of skaters, and this movie does such a great job.”
–National Junior Ladies Champion, Grand Prix Medalist, 2014 Olympic Alternate, Courtney Hicks
“Ice The Movie brings out the true and raw emotions that come from competitive figure skating, Maddison Bullock displays this beautifully throughout the film.” US National Champion, Max Aaron
“I Can’t say enough how about how much I loved this movie! It’s ability to harness that competitive nature that resides in elite athletes is amazing. With limited knowledge of figure skating, I never once felt like I didn’t know what was going on. It’s a movie anyone can watch and just understand what each character is going through. We’ve all dealt with struggles in our lives and this does an amazing job of putting on screen how we deal with those internal and external struggles.”
Maddison Bullock the Interview
1. Tell me more about you, your family, and how you found ice skating growing up?
I began skating at the age of four. I was watching skating on TV with my mom and we went to try it shortly thereafter. After that, pretty much everything else in life seemed like something to get through until I could get back to the ice. While I would go on to skate professionally in shows, I spent the bulk of my competitive skating career at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs Colorado. I had the immense pleasure of working with some of the very best in skating and am forever grateful for that privilege.
I was talking with a dear friend of mine and current skating coach last week, someone that I’ve known for well over a decade about skating being our first and greatest love. I think people can tell that skating is a true love of mine when they watch the movie. I get all smiley when I read reviews that refer to Ice The Movie as a “love letter to the sport”.
As far as my family goes, well I hit the jackpot with that. My family was always incredibly supportive of my skating. My father played college football, and my mom was a college cheerleader so they understood the drive to excel athletically. I had a wonderful childhood, looking back, I’d say that my parents welcomed my cooky creativeness with limitless warmth, acceptance, and patience.
If my dreams were a child in search of a safe space to spend boundless energy and experience the magic of being alive, they supplied the proverbial Disney Land. I attribute so much of my self confidence and willingness to take risks to their parenting style.
2. How did you come to the idea of your ultimate dream and what sparked you to turn it into reality?
The idea for Ice the Movie really grew out of an epiphany I had late in my skating career, that skating had become for me so much more than an athletic or artistic endeavor. Skating was an entire family, an entire community, an entire life experience whose lifeblood was really the people, the relationships. Ultimately, I wanted to show that the value of those relationships was ultimately so very much more golden than any medal ever could be.
I spent the largest portion of my skating life as a competitive singles skater. There was always this unique dichotomy between single skaters, we were in many ways more isolated than any one else in skating. It was difficult to maintain friendships in our arena because we were all competitors, but at the same time their was an unspoken kinship, a sameness, an almost twin like connection that literally know one on this earth knew what we were experiencing as much as each other did.
The exploration of that relationship is where I found the most driving and dynamic storyline of Ice The Movie, the sisterhood relationship of my two protagonists, Bailey Grantham and Peyton Shaw.
Developing the sister’s was my favorite part of writing the script because I basically took the two “types” of skater that were inside of me personally and split them into two unique characters. The balletic, perfectionist Peyton, and the spitfire risk-taker Bailey. The thing about having a life in skating is that your skating is influenced by you, the person actually growing up, while skating is influencing you the person in the act of growing up.
Nearly any skater would agree that there were times when we felt like we were more of a Bailey, that we felt a playful fire in our veins in the underdog wake of fresh possibilities. Other times, we felt like we were more of a Peyton, focusing on perfection, experiencing what it meant to no longer be an underdog but to be on top, and what it felt like living in fear of falling from the top. To be honest, I struggled up until just weeks before we began filming on whether or not I would portray Peyton or Bailey in the film because I felt so dearly attached to both!
After I wrote the script I thought about finding a more experienced company to produce the film, or even selling the rights to a well known studio. While I had several compelling opportunities come my way, I ultimately decided that if I planned to maintain full creative control of the narrative, that I had so delicately crafted, the best possible route was for me to produce the film independently.
One of my first actions after making this decision was to open my own production company. A few bits of paperwork and several hours of council from trusted friends and family members later, Maddness Pictures was born. ‘Maddness’ had been an old skating nickname of mine, predicated off of my spitfire like skating persona and my lust for taking risks on big jumps, the two d’s in Maddness stood for the two d’s in my name, Maddison.
Also, throughout the experience of writing the script I kept a quote from Clive Barker above my computer at all times, it said, “You just have to trust your own Madness”. It just so happens that writing a full length feature film with no previous training in the field, requires a considerable degree of well.. madness. As I learned in skating, the same way that certain physical exercises don’t have to be complicated to be effective, not all quotes have to be long to be impactful! Seemingly all at once the same intuition that lead me to make many of the creative choices within the script, lit up, Maddness just felt like the right name.
3. How did you entice friends in and outside of the rink to become involved in the film?
Ice The Movie rapidly became a master class for me in the power of niche films. There are not very many skating films, yet there is a very specific audience of ice skaters who love skating and want to support and watch more skating content. My extended skating family was very giving with their time and energies when it came to seeing the film realized. I had been on a set as an actor in a film a couple of years before I made Ice The Movie and the director, no matter who he was talking to on set would refer to the film as “our” movie, never his. I was very drawn to that collaborative spirit and did my best to do the same with my project. I believe when you make a movie making a team sport it is not only more fun for the team captain, or in this case the producer, it can be deeply, and richly rewarding for whole communities. Running parallel to the film’s overall message regarding the power of relationships, Ice The Movie was a highly collaborative endeavor. For much of the skating community, it is “Our” movie.
4. How long did it take you from start to finish and did you ever lose belief mid-way through?
It took me a couple of months to write the script, several months of prep work, abut a month and a half to shoot the film, then several more to edit the final picture. Many people outside of the industry don’t realize how fast the actual filming part goes.
The work before, what’s referred to as, “pre-production” and the work after you shoot, “post-production” are the two areas where most independent films make fatal mistakes. pre-pro is like the training you do for a race, filming the movie is that relatively easy or flow like state of the first third of the race and post is akin to those excruciating last few laps of the race. Creating a feature film requires creative and specific organization, unique mental toughness, and a spectacular degree of endurance.
While the process was at times daunting, I had a very solutions oriented cast and crew that were eager to come together to solve whatever issues came our way.
A movie star that I look up to once said that you should actively surround yourself with people smarter than you. I’ll give you a hint, we share the same last name and she has an Oscar. When hiring people for the film I definitely kept this sage bit of wisdom at the forefront of my mind. Throughout the Ice The Movie journey I experienced tremendous growth in my filmmaking abilities by having experienced, thoughtful, and mentorship- minded folks on board.
In regards to challenges I faced myself, I would say that yes they happened, and yes they sometimes shook me, but as a Christian, I am practiced in anchoring myself in hope and faith in times of trial. I once heard a paster say that when you are in the middle of a miracle the storm is often at it’s worse. With the steadfast belief that God gave me the story of Ice The Movie, and with it an important purpose, I found a special kind of energizing focus when I reminded myself that this challenge or that struggle was merely an indicator that I was in the middle of my miracle.
5. How did you manage to persuade distributors to take the film? Was this scary?
My principal concern was making certain we chose the correct distribution path. would come to be the case with any film I worked on in the future, my goal was to get the film to the largest audience possible and in a timely manner. It was very important to me that all of the artists that worked so hard on the film get the recognition they dissevered in a timeframe that served to enhance and expedite their future career prospects.
I believe that the more exceptional the product, the less persuasion is needed. By the time Ice The Movie was completed I knew I had an exceptional product. I was not scared to approach distributors, quite the contrary, I was very excited! I am proud to say that Ice The Movie continues to be received with delight and praise from skaters and non-skaters across the globe and sales are thriving on its home platforms of Amazon and Vimeo.
6. Looking back, would you change anything in the build-up, production, or film looking back?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so proud of Ice The Movie, so grateful for all of the wonderful relationships I made because of this gorgeous film, and so very excited for the world to see the new films I have coming down the line.
SkatePerfect thanks Maddison Bullock for her time taken in creating this wonderful article. We hope you enjoyed the read, now please go and rent the movie and watch a glorious spectacle.
If you were amazed at those jumps in the film, which take years of practice, learn more here about the 4 common ice skating jumps and how to prepare for them. We discuss this in a separate article with images provided by the Swedish Skating Association.