“Synchro”, the Swedish film produced by a former athlete


Elin filming during a competition in Sweden. /Credits: Jonas Koel

Elin Bryngelsson Lidestedt is a former skater, now coach in Nacka near Stockholm, and media producer from Sweden. She published last year a long film about synchronized skating that has been broadcasted in her country. This documentary will be available this season also for a few skaters.

Hi Elin, could you present your film?
Elin Bryngelsson Lidestedt: The English title is “Synchro” (Synkro in Swedish).
It is a film about the hard work behind a glittery facade. A film about sacrificing yourself for the team, and the created family you get in return! How far can the passion push us and at what price?

You enter into the life of two synchro skaters…
It is a one-hour documentary that follows Team Boomerang during a full season, all the way to Worlds in Budapest, focusing on two skaters in particular; Didem and Olivia. Didem has been an alternate for years. She’s a graduate economist but works in a clothing store to be able to skate. Will she make the cut this year, and for the first time compete at the Worlds? Olivia's massive life schedule is standing in the way of her skating ambitions. She's been skating since she was 4 years old, and the ice has always been her safe place in life. But this year might be her last due to the stress and time that is chasing her.

When did you produce the film?
Originally, when I first began filming in 2015, my aim was actually to make a more broad film about synchro in Sweden, from beginner up to the senior level. However, I quickly realized that I needed to narrow it down to make it more interesting to a wider public. I filmed for the movie throughout the season 2015-16 and edited through to early 2017. I pitched the idea to the Swedish national television network (SVT) and they were quickly interested in broadcasting the film. My boyfriend (now husband), David, who also works in the film industry, was a great help to me when I needed a hand.

Team Boomerang (SWE) is in the film. /Credits: Jörgen Lundmark

What did you learn from this experience?
I already had worked as a photographer and editor and had the knowledge of the sport as a skater, so I had the basics ready. But it was the first full-length film I produced myself, so I learned a lot. For example, a lot about clearing usage rights to music and archive footage. The fact that sports archive rights worldwide are extremely expensive is why the film can only be seen in Sweden at the moment.

Is there no chance to show the film to an international audience?
“Synchro” was broadcast on the Swedish National TV (SVT) in 2017 and has since been on SVT Play for everyone in Sweden to see. Those in Sweden (and some parts in Finland) can see it until September 22, 2018. I’ve heard from some Swedes abroad that they were even able to watch it through an app that made it possible to watch SVT Play outside of Sweden, but I’m not quite sure how.

Elin adds that during this season’s Leon Lurje Trophy in Sweden, the interested skaters may have the opportunity to see a subtitled version. If there’s enough interest, they could even organize a small showing.

Team Boomerang was the last team I skated with competitively. I am very thankful that the athletes dared to share so much of themselves

—  Elin Bryngelsson Lidestedt

Elin filming during Team Boomerang’s last camp before Worlds. /Credits: David Lidestedt

What kind of feedback did you receive after the film was released?
Very positive! I was nervous since the sport hasn’t had so much media attention in Sweden in a very long time (except for when SVT streamed Worlds 2012). So I wanted to show the sport in a positive way, but also show the hard work that goes into it. Since the film also shows some of the downsides of synchro, I was anxious and hoping the synchro skaters of Sweden would feel that I accurately depicted our sport. I also hoped very much that those seeing the sport for the first time would like it too. Many former and current skaters have reached out to me. Interestingly, a lot of people with no connection to the sport have also contacted me, just to tell me they liked the movie and have now started following the sport. I also learned that the film was one of the contributing factors in SVT's decision to broadcast Synchro Worlds live in 2018 when it took place in Stockholm. That was great to hear!