THE TEAM WHO KNOW HOW TO PUT ON AN OLYMPIC SHOW
Meet the team behind spectacular Rio ceremonies
The Rio Summer Olympics wrapped up in grand style - with a carnival-inspired parade, fireworks and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Super Mario for the Tokyo 2020 flag handover. Spectators can expect the same entertaining and vibrant opening number for the 2016 Summer Paralympics on Wednesday.
The Italian company Filmmaster, with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, KSA and Qatar, along with Brazilian partner SRCOM, are the people behind these ceremonies. After their bid in 2011, Filmmaster was awarded the organisation the handover of the flag from London 2012, and the opening and closing events for both the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, medal awarding ceremony, torch relay and other minor ceremonies in between. It sounds like a huge undertaking, but according to Filmmaster MEA CEO, Piero Cozzi, the best preparation is putting in place and managing a highly professional team. Cozzi says the idea for the opening ceremony was to promote “peace with the planet” and celebrate Brazil’s creativity. “We wanted to focus on saving the planet, the future – celebrating togetherness, and reach beyond the country’s borders, speaking as one,” he says.
“Filmmaster opted to shed light on the ongoing climate change concern as well as the depletion of natural resources. We opened with a strong message that will echo the world over to stop harming the planet and start healing it. ‘Earthlings, let’s replant, let’s save the planet!’ was our message.”
The closing ceremony was a sensory experience that explored different Brazilian art forms, with lots of singing, dancing and drumming. “We wanted to reinforce camaraderie across nations who have come to present their talents to the world. We wanted to bring out the emotions in people and let them rediscover their own identity and continue to reinvent themselves.”
In any big production, challenges are inevitable. Cozzi adds: “The challenges we encountered during the preparation were the big economical and political crisis. This implicated budget costs but also a tougher general situation. Fortunately, we have come up with a universal theme that helped us.”
But the closing ceremony was even more hectic: “We are all under pressure as the weather got worse. Everything was at risk at that time and we thought we might not be about to do it as the wind was up to 80kph, jeopardising the whole ceremony.
“Fireworks were on standby for safety reasons until two minutes before the events. Athletes were repositioned last minute as well. But all was handled super efficiently.”
All these factors have prepared them well for the upcoming Paralympics, with Cozzi insisting: “We have the technical and operative structure on site. We are aware of all possible surprises. It is always challenging but at least slightly less stressful this time. You’ll see a different approach here. The much-awaited part would be the high spirit of the Paralympic athletes - eager to show the world their strength and courage.”
The UAE will be hosting the Expo 2020, but is the country ready to pull off the Olympics? “I am sure it can,” he says. “The UAE has proved itself on many occasions. Filmmaster MEA has been operation in the Middle East since 2007. We’ve seen the rich culture of the country and it is very interesting.” His ideas for a theme: “The local elements should be the key point in the plan. It can also be integrated with futuristic elements and technology; and of course a unique surprise element for the finale.” email@example.com
FLYING COLOURS: Despite the bad weather and budget cuts in Brazil, the 2016 Summer Olympics ended in real style at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro