The documentary Classic directed by Tim Kaminski spotlights the townspeople of Nenana, Alaska as they prepare for and celebrate the Ice Classic — an annual betting of when the ice will melt.
Every year since 1917, Nenana residents come together to pull off the Nenana Ice Classic, a charitable guessing game that challenges any player to predict, at $2.50 a guess, the exact minute the ice on the Tanana River will break up. Beyond the city limits, luck-pushers and competitive gamblers see the Ice Classic as a means to make small dreams come true. As the tradition has endured, the jackpots have grown and now commonly exceed $300,000. But for the town, where diversity comes mostly in the form of character, the proceeds from the contest go back into the community and surrounding areas. To Nenanans, the Ice Classic is a part of their root system and they’ve made every effort to keep it going in the same way it started. For them, the resistance to change means gainful employment, community pride, and a way of staying on the map.
“When I took this film to the town of Nenana to share it for the first time with the community I’d documented, about ten percent of the population showed up to watch,” said filmmaker Tim Kaminski. “By fifteen minutes in, Nenana’s approval was apparent by their laughter and smiles. That feeling, to know I’d made a film that I and they were proud of, was validating as a filmmaker and even more so as a human being.”
The heartwarming Alaska-based documentary feature Classic will be available to rent and own on North American digital, HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms on April 16, 2021 and on DVD April 20, 2021 through Freestyle Digital Media.