A celebrity cast has been "signed up" for the opening and
closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, the Beijing Organizing
Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) announced on
Internationally acclaimed Chinese filmmaker, Zhang Yimou, was
appointed chief director for both the opening and closing
ceremonies while multi-Oscar winning Hollywood director, Steven
Spielberg, was named artistic adviser.
"Today is an unforgettable day in my life and I feel very
honored to be the director of the ceremonies," said 54-year-old
Zhang at the appointment ceremony yesterday.
"I feel great responsibility and I make a solemn promise that
I'll work with the whole team to accomplish the task successfully,"
Known as China's 'Fifth Generation' director, Zhang is famous
around the world for his 1991 film Raise the Red Lantern
and his 2004 House of Flying Daggers production. Both
these films were Oscar nominated.
Zhang will be assisted by two deputy directors: Zhang Jigang,
director of the Song and Dance Ensemble affiliated to the General
Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and
Chen Weiya, director of the China National Song and Dance
Led by world renowned US director Spielberg, a group of artists,
experts in various fields and professors from home and abroad will
assist as cultural and artistic advisers.
"It's a great honor to accept this appointment," said Spielberg,
whose most recent film Munich is based on the events
surrounding the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972
"On behalf of all the other advisers, I'd like to say that our
one goal is to give the world a taste of peace, friendship,
cooperation and understanding," he said.
"Using visual and performing arts, music, dance and a
celebration of life we are all dedicated to making these Olympic
opening and closing ceremonies the most visually striking there's
ever been," said Spielberg.
Australian Richard Birch, who directed the highly praised
opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Yves
Pepin, president of French company ECA2, will assist with the
During the search to find a production team for the ceremonies
last year 409 submissions were received by the organizers and five
of them were short-listed.
The directors and producers from the top five nominated
presentations were commissioned by BOCOG to produce the events by
combining the best elements of their ideas. .
At the same time BOCOG announced that it would continue to
select famous artists and those with specialist skills from China
and the rest of the world to participate in creating of the opening
and closing ceremonies.
"The opening ceremony is a crucial part of the Olympic Games,"
said Liu Qi, president of BOCOG. "The success of a
high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features depends very
much on the success of the opening ceremony."
"We expect to leave a lasting impression on the athletes and
guests from all over the world and the many millions watching on TV
by staging a fantastic ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games."
(China Daily April 17, 2006)