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Director set to capture Games' historic moments

By XU FAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-01-27 08:52
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Lu Chuan

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an international team led by Lu Chuan-the chief director of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games' official film-is working to record how China delivers on its pledge to successfully hold one of the world's biggest sporting events.

The production of an official movie has been a convention since the Stockholm Summer Olympic Games in 1912, and the term "Olympic film" was officially introduced in 1948.

Under a requirement set by the International Olympic Committee, the host city is in charge of producing an Olympic film to record historic and glorious sporting moments.

A prestigious director with more than 40 awards to his name, Lu said the preparation work-including interviews with volunteers and workers at Olympic venue construction sites-began about a year ago.

Hailed as a major voice in Chinese cinema, Lu shot to fame with his directorial debut, The Missing Gun, in 2002 and garnered more recognition with Mountain Patrol, an award-winning film showcasing China's battle against Tibetan antelope poachers, in 2004.

With his talent demonstrated in diverse genres, including the war movie City of Life and Death and nature documentary Born in China, Lu has become one of the nation's top directors.

For his latest project, Lu's team recently shot footage of rehearsals for the Games' opening ceremony, which will be held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, on Feb 4.

The project currently has crews working in Beijing, France, Russia and the United States. Crew members will be especially busy filming during the Games, which will run through Feb 20.

In an earlier interview, Lu said some crew members who worked in the United Kingdom, had been infected with COVID-19, prompting him to label them "fearless war correspondents".

Lu said being chosen to direct the film was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially since it will be a historic moment for Beijing. The capital will become the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympics.

He said the 200 project members in Beijing have been divided into many small units made up of two to four people. Each unit is assigned a location, such as an airport, a hotel or an Olympic venue, to capture potentially precious moments.

"Every day, I feel surprised and shocked," Lu said. "If the entire process of preparing and running an edition of the Olympic Games is like a giant iceberg, what most of us see is just the peak glistening in the sunshine.

"But there is a huge system in place below the surface, involving all the efforts made for the Games. Our cameramen can go deep beneath the surface to capture an unprecedented amount of solid content."

Zhang Heping, head of the film's expert advisory board, said the film hopes to be a cinematic landmark by highlighting humankind's fighting spirit at a special time as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yasmin Meichtry, associate director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, said Lu's film will demonstrate how the Olympics can bring athletes from across the world together in Beijing.

Meichtry said Lu's filmmaking "is known for taking on historical and social matters with an authentic Chinese voice".

"As a renowned storyteller and talented portrayer, his film will convey compelling and meaningful messages to encourage and forge better understanding between different cultures and promote the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship," Meichtry said.

Renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou-who is also chief director of the ceremonies for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games-is serving as the film's chief executive producer.

The film is scheduled to wrap up shooting in the first half of this year and will be released in theaters by the end of the year.

Zhang Wei contributed to this story.

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