Disputed Ice follows ice hockey coach Adam Sherlip on his travels to the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh, India. In Ladakh, we’ll be discovering how the recent popularity of ice hockey has affected the culture and goals of the region’s people.
Jule (joo-lay) means hello, please, and thank you in the Ladaki language.
- A lover of winter?
- Missing snow?
- Awed by the Himalayan Mountains?
- A fan of ice hockey?
- Missing the NHL?
- Looking for a team to root for this season?
- Intrigued by Tibetan history?
- A follower of the Dali Lama?
- Wanting to de-stress?
Do you want to…
- Encounter another world?
- Explore the convergence of cultures?
- Debate the benefits of sports, modernization, and globalization?
- Laugh about hunger cravings?
- Huddle up to stay warm?
- Share cups of tea during a power outage?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, this is the film for you.
Adam Sherlip grew up playing hockey on Long Island. He loved the game. In the final period of a high school game and angry with his team’s losing score, Adam hit a player on the opposing team from behind. Seconds later, after the whistle had blown, Adam was checked to the ice by a retaliating teammate immediately resulting in excruciating pain. He found out later that he had suffered a herniated disk, fractured vertebrae, and a pinched sciatic nerve affectively taking him out of the game for the rest of high school and—so he thought—the rest of his life.
After being out of the game for years, he got back on the ice and began working with the Islanders on marketing and amateur hockey development. He enjoyed his work with their charitable organization Project Hope that used ice hockey to improve the quality of lives for children in Northeastern China and wanted to do more in that vein and was guided to Ladakh by his colleague US Olympian Angela Ruggiero.
He visited Ladakh for the first time in 2009. His work providing ice hockey clinics to the community inspired him to start The Hockey Foundation and continue his coaching and equipment donations to the region. Adam’s story is inspiring because after his severe back injury in high school, he returned to the sport he loved. He has shared his enthusiasm and commitment to ice hockey and the benefits he believes it can have on populations across continents.
Meet the Director
Hi, my name is Margaret Sclafani. I am the director of Disputed Ice. I majored in Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College. I based my thesis on my independent research in Nairobi, Kenya with a grant from the Center for International Studies.
Since then, I have been working in film for the past five years. I started as Post-Production Coordinator on the feature length documentary, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. From there I worked on a number of other documentary films, such as No Job for a Woman: the Women Who Fought to Report WWII, Bidder 70, From the Ground Up, American Experience: Jesse Owens, and many short films and online content, especially for Parent Earth.
I have produced a number of videos, as well as worked steadily in the camera department and as an editor for the past four years. This will be my first project as a director, but my experience as a producer, cinematographer, and anthropologist have prepared me for this journey.
Ladakh is a fascinating region of India. It is a primarily Buddhist region located on disputed borders with Chinese Tibet and Pakistan. The region opened up to tourism in the 1970s. Around this same time ice hockey was introduced to the region by the Indian military. In the 1990s, winter sports clubs were created to better utilize the natural ice and promote ice hockey and skating
While there is a great feeling of community around the rink, there is also conflict that erupts almost every year around a popular tournament, the CEC Cup. In the past women’s teams have been excluded from the competition and have protested. Other teams have boycotted a match when they suspected match fixing by their opponents.
This documentary will share the story of the people of Ladakh and their love of ice hockey. Focusing on how a person relates to the whole world, Adam’s experiences and the Ladakhi community speak to the changing dynamic of our world and enable exploration of the convergence of cultures.
In This Together
You as our audience are the driving power to help us achieve our production budget. You’ll help us travel to India. Once we are there we will be capturing breathtaking footage of the people of Ladakh, playing ice hockey beneath the snowy mountain landscapes of the Himalayas. We will also have the opportunity to talk to the young people and the leaders in the community.
Join the Team
Your contribution will fund the following:
- Plane tickets cost a pretty penny and are one of the main expenses of our production.
- Our team is committed to the project and is already contributing equipment and cold-weather clothes as in-kind donations to this project. We want them to be able to leave home for two months and thrive in below freezing conditions. You’ll be helping defray their basic costs like rent and visas.
- We want to provide our filmmakers and subjects with security in terms of protecting their equipment and persons.
- We will be shooting onto digital film, so we’ll need to buy a number of hard drives to store and insure that our footage gets back home – and shared with you!
The funds go directly to our filmmakers. $20,000 will get our Director, DP and Sound Mixer to India. $12,000 will help pay for our insurance. $3,000 covers the price of hard drives for storing our footage. Reaching our goal means we will be making the trip. Going over our goal means we will be able to return home and get the ball rolling in the post-production stage.
We are going to be living and filmmaking in super cold conditions. Basically, we’ll be roughing it, but we’re happy to do so with your support. We are making this film for you, and we hope you’ll support it now in its production stage.
Adam Sherlip loves tea and Alex Harney loves hockey. We’re bringing the two together in offering Harney & Sons tea to all who contribute $50 or more to our documentary film, Disputed Ice.
When you donate to this project, you are becoming a friend and part of our extended family. So we’re excited to share our experiences with you in real time through social media as well as personalized postcards from our travels as we gather stories for the documentary film.
Come with us on this journey!
Become part of the conversation.
Any questions, concerns, ideas, advice...email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us, contribute today; become a member of the team!
More About the Film
In Ladakh, it is human against nature and human against human. The environment can be brutally cold and the high altitudes can be physically draining and dangerous. Ice hockey is a competitive sport that brings people together—in communities, across religions, across cultures, and across oceans.
On the surface Ladakh is a disputed territory based around religion but below this tense surface exists a more potent battle of tradition versus modernization. Ice hockey reinforces many of those traditional values whilst incorporating modern sports equipment and the opportunity for participants to travel around the world.
Given the current NHL lockout, it is my goal to show the similarities and inherent differences that exist across continents in the experiences of sports management, the bickering that ensues and the role that the outsider, Adam in this case, can play in both igniting anger and in diffusing disagreements.
Adam’s story allows for an entry into this world. We learn about his own personal and physical challenges that led him to Ladakh. Every day he is reminded of his brutal injury as he skates with pain radiating in his back and down his leg, but he keeps going. Adam has described his love of ice hockey as enabling him to “be a kid again.” I’m looking forward to bringing that effervescent quality to the film.
Adam struggles on a daily basis with the passion he has for the work he is doing in Ladakh and the barriers to connecting with people in the region. What grounds him and energizes him consistently is playing ice hockey. It is his therapy of sorts:
“I enjoy being on the ice. Life makes sense on the ice.”
Director - Margaret Sclafani
- In her youth, Margaret loved playing street hockey under the highway near her home in DC. During the winter, she enjoys sledding, skiiing, skating, snowshoeing; snowball fights and forts. She is passionate about her documentary work and loves collaborating and learning from her community here and abroad.
Director of Photography - Ramsey Fendall
- Prior to his work in film, Ramsey was a specialist in Himalayan art. He is the co-founder of Room 5 Films, a NYC based Production Company. His camera credits include Works of Art, Con Artist, and BAM150. He is currently working on a documentary feature directed by Ethan Hawke.
Sound Mixer - Tim Korn
- Tim is an Emmy-nominated sound mixer. He is currently traveling in Africa working on Fisher Stevens' documentary. He used to play roller hockey.
We will also be joined by Alex Harney as an additional camera operator who grew up playing ice hockey and has assisted Adam in Ladakh and with the Indian National Team. His initial contributions can already be seen above in footage from his trip in 2011. We will, of course, be traveling with Adam Sherlip who will be running ice hockey clinics with The Hockey Foundation and the Ice Hockey Association of India.
You Can Help
Even if you can’t contribute financially, we want your support. You are our audience, our ambassadors, and our bullhorn. Please get the word out about this documentary and this campaign. If you share this with one or more of your friends, you are helping us out immensely.
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Team on This Campaign:
Director & Producer