Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Shorts Program

DWW Skating Short

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $11,653 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

115 supporters | followers

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Featuring Olympic level skating choreography and raw performances, SKATER is a thrilling and emotionally haunting film about the anxiety of becoming a young woman athlete. SKATER is being made as part of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

As a female filmmaker, inclusion and representation, both in front of and behind the camera, are very important to me. In addition, telling stories with complex female characters is central to my mission as an artist. SKATER is about a young girl finding her voice.

The Story

Stretch Goal--$15K!!

Thank you all for pushing us past 100%! We can't thank you enough for all your support!! This has been such a rush. 


And we're not done yet...


We still have two weeks to go, so we're announcing our new stretch goal of $15k! What can we do with this added support?

  • Boost our Production Design budget - more tools to give Skater the right look and feel!
  • Better lenses - expands our expressive possibilites!
  • Hire a Steadicam Operator who can ice skate - to film skating up close!
  • Submit to film festivals!
  • And more!

We're so excited about this next step in our campaign, and we look forward to updating you with more exciting news!

The Story

SKATER tells the story of Dani van Peltz, a sensitive, 13-year-old figure skater who struggles with extreme anxiety. To cope with her anxiety and increasing stress at home, Dani develops an obsession with a recently deceased figure skating champion/icon, Carole Swanson.


On the day our film takes place, Carole’s former coach and husband, Andrei Saunders, comes to the State Competition to scout a new student. Riddled with anxiety over being seen by her idol’s coach, Dani prays to Carole and begs her to be with her while she skates.


When Dani takes to the ice, she is gripped with an almost paralyzing panic attack. As she pushes through her routine, she begins to lose consciousness, and is visited by Carole in a waking dream. This visitation frees up her body and her creative mind and she skates the best routine of her life.




Why Does This Film Matter?

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and panic disorder, I want to make a film that takes these painful and challenging experiences and reveals the beauty and the strength that can come from them. My own journey lead me to understand that it was aspects of my own physical and emotional sensitivity that made the world seem like an untenable and terrifying place. It required me to embrace and open to this sensitivity to understand that it is, in fact, my greatest strength. I want to make a film that tells this story; that explores sensitivity, and reveals the massive power that can come from embracing it.


The Skating

As a former competitive figure skater, I've been dreaming of making a film like SKATER for a long time. I have developed the concept for several years, spending time with my former skating friends and coaches, doing research at the Olympic Training Center, and getting back on the ice myself. While there have been movies about ice-skating, I want to delve into the world of competitive figure skating in a way audiences have never seen before. From the emotional pressure and physical toll of an art that demands so much from its young participants, to the glory and beauty of a flawlessly executed program.


To that end, we've brought on my former teammate, friend, and world-renowned coach and choreographer, Rohene Ward. Respected throughout the global skating community, Rohene's choreography is edgy, transformative, and electrifying, and his immersion in today's skating world will make his work in this film timely and impactful.



Who Am I?

I am a former competitive figure skater, an actor, and a writer/director.

I have acted in film, theater and television. As a director, my short films have won awards and played at numerous film festivals. I co-wrote and co-directed the feature film INHERITANCE, which premiered at SXSW in 2017, and was distributed theatrically and on-line later that year!

For more information:


What happens from here?

We're now fully into our pre-production phase for the SKATER Short Film. For those who don't know what that means, we're currently scouting our locations, assembling our crew of all-stars, auditioning cast, and addressing every detail so that we can have the smoothest shoot possible when cameras roll in early July.


Our shoot will last 5 days, and then we'll edit, color correct, and lay in a beautiful score to deliver our finished film by December 2018. And then we're off to market and promote the film at film festivals across the globe, preparing the path for the feature version of SKATER which is already in development!

How can you help?

1.     Donate!

And, since it’s through the AFI DWW your donation is tax deductible!*


2.     Share and like us on social media!

Crowdfunding relies on a broad social network to be effective, but we're not just crowdfunding. We're building an audience. We're establishing relationships, not only to raise money, but to raise awareness and share our film. And since a feature-length version of SKATER is already in development, we're building our audience for the long-term. help us out by sharing this Seed & Spark campaign, following us on Facebook and Twitter, sharing our posts, and inviting those in your social networks to do the same!


3.     In-Kind Donations!

Any in-kind donations will go a long way to helping us make this movie! Maybe you can't donate but have access to catering, locations, wardrobe, makeup, transportation, or anything that will help us reach the finish line. Any help is help, and we'll shower you with gratitude all the same and, like our cash donations, In-Kind Donations are also tax-deductible!*


* AFI is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation can be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law (donors should consult with a tax preparer regarding donation eligibility).


What is AFI DWW?

The AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing. Very selective in its admittance process, only eight women are selected to participate each year.


This program is a huge opportunity for me. The AFI DWW has been the starting point for many incredible careers, and I am so excited and honored to be in the company of the seven other talented filmmakers in this workshop.


Notable AFI alumni: Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Monster), Rachel Morrison (Black Panther, Mudbound), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive), Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight, Inception), Janusz Kaminski (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan)



All photos are used for reference only.



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $1,250

A well-fed crew means a happy crew, and a happy crew means a successful shoot!

On-Set Sound

Costs $1,000

Help our audience hear every cut of the blade on ice, every leap, every fall, every hopeful breath.

Hard Drives

Costs $500

Knowing our stunning film finds its way safely to the editing room makes a world of difference!

Ice Skating Rink

Costs $2,000

We wouldn't dream of shooting an ice-skating movie without an ice skating rink!

Lens Rentals

Costs $500

The right lenses make all the difference in visual storytelling!

Film Score

Costs $1,000

A finely crafted score can transform a great film into a moving work art.


Costs $500

Every figure skater knows that the right costume will make them shine.

Set Teacher

Costs $1,250

While a captivating film is our goal, the welfare of the children on set is our highest priority.


Costs $500

As if operating a steadicam wasn't hard enough, we're going to ask our operator to do it on ice!

Festival Submissions

Costs $250

When all's said and done, help us share this labor of love with the world.

Production Truck Rental

Costs $1,250

There's nothing glamorous about a production truck, but it sure beats a horse and buggy!

About This Team

Jessica Kaye

Jessica Kaye was born in South Africa and raised in Minneapolis. After studying Literature and Performance Studies at Harvard, she earned her MFA in Acting at Columbia. While in New York, she starred in plays and feature films, produced and performed in ribald performance-art parties, and played a soap opera villain on television's ONE LIFE TO LIVE. In 2008, she produced and starred in GARGOYLE, a SAFTA-nominated short film shot in Johannesburg. In 2013, she received an MFA in Film Production from USC. Her short films ANGEL and FABIAN DEBORA, A LIFE FOR ART, screened at numerous festivals. Her short film SHORTAGE was executive-produced by James Franco. Kaye is the co-writer/director and lead actor of the feature film INHERITANCE, shot on location in Belize. INHERITANCE premiered at SXSW in 2017 and released theatrically and on VOD.


Cemile Seren Turam

Cemile attributes her affinity toward challenging, stylized subjects that inspire community to working under Herzog before completing her MFA in Producing from the American Film Institute. Despite this focus, nothing stops her from choosing a project based on the collaborators involved. Her feature film, 3 WORDS, starring Jaimie King, Tobin Bell, Dana Ashbrook and Claudia Ferri is currently in post production. Her next feature film project BOMBERO is currently in production.


Ryan Shrime

Ryan P. Shrime has been acting, writing, and producing since he graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in Economics, and has appeared in numerous films and television shows. He co-created/executive produced the acclaimed web series, BATHROOMIES, produced The Arab-American Comedy Festival in New York, and co-founded, produced and co-wrote The Middle Eastern Comedy Festival in Los Angeles, sponsored by FOX and Disney|ABC Television. He’s currently producing his first feature, PLEASE DON’T DIE, ROGER BERMAN. To clear his brain, Ryan is also an avid woodworker and furniture maker.


Kate Galliers

Kate works in commercial production as a writer, producer and account director. Since graduating  The George Washington University with degrees in International Affairs and Journalism, she has produced everything from political advertisements to cosmetic campaigns, including several Pollie and Tellie award-winning commercials. With a love of visually-rich storytelling, her projects include films for Valentino, Calvin Klein, Gap and Hugo Boss. One of her goals is to bring stories about female empowerment, anxiety and the subversive to life through film.


Stephen Moffatt

Stephen Moffatt is thrilled to be part of the great team bringing you SKATER.  His producing credits include the unscripted TV series Master of Disaster and A&E's Wrecking Plan, the Go90 feature Grandma's House, and several independent films, including Unspeakable which premiered at SXSW 2018. He has also produced over 30 theatrical productions for The Blank Theatre's Main Stage season and their national Young Playwrights Festival. 

Current Team