The documentary captured an Olympic Games like no other: Beijing, the only city that has hosted both summer and winter editions, faced the difficult task of carrying out the Olympic Winter Games in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) invited renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who also spearheaded the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, to serve as the film's executive producer, along with filmmaker Zhang Heping, as general consultant.
To realise the extraordinary story of Beijing 2022, award-winning director Lu Chuan (“Kekexili,” “City of Life and Death”, Disney’s “Born in China”), who has rich experience in both feature and documentary films, was invited to direct the film.
The aim of each Official Film is to bring a unique editorial angle to the Olympic Games experience, seeking to capture the essence of a specific edition of the Games within a broader social and cultural context. Since the early 20th century, films have been created for every edition of the Olympic Games. After studying previous editions, Lu chose to showcase the challenging aspects of what it took to organise and compete at Beijing 2022 during Covid-19.
“I was attracted by every touching moment the participants created because of the difficulties, excitement and dreams,” said Lu. “I wanted to show the contribution of the staff behind the scenes, as their resilience and solidarity gives us an in-depth sense of the Olympic Spirit.”
The festival’s opening ceremony and red carpet event, held 21 April at Beijing Yanqi Lake International Exhibition Center, was attended by three Chinese Olympic gold medallists and protagonists of the film, Wu Dajing (speed skating), Ren Ziwei (speed skating) and Su Yiming (snowboarding).
Han Zirong, BOCOG Vice President and Secretary General, praised the film for its ability to showcase the cultural and historical significance of the Games in Beijing.
“The Official Films of the Olympic Games are precious historical archives, bearing witness to the great Olympic Spirit. Just like the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Official Film Beijing 2022 overcame numerous challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. After three years of planning, filming and production, the film showcases the tremendous efforts, dedication and perseverance of the Olympic family and athletes worldwide,” said Han.
“The creative arts and cinematography enable us to better understand others and interpret the world around us,” said Yasmin Meichtry, Associate Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH), which leads the IOC’s collaboration on Official Films.
“The Beijing 2022 official film not only beautifully captures some of the powerful stories and experiences of the Olympian athletes, but Lu Chuan’s work is an incredible record of the unique story of these Games held in the middle of a pandemic – moments lived during extraordinary circumstances that will likely seem surreal to future generations,” said Meichtry.
Following its premiere, the film will be screened in cinemas across China and worldwide beginning May 19, allowing audiences to relive the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The Olympic Film Collection, managed by IOC Culture and Heritage, is composed of more than 50 feature-length films that offer a cinematic window into the defining moments throughout the history of the modern Games. Throughout the decades, accomplished international filmmakers have been inspired by the Olympic Movement to push the boundaries of the Olympic documentary tradition and to create powerful cinema as part of the Olympic Games’ continuing cultural legacy.
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