Liu Qi (2nd L), president of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games, Chinese film director Zhang Yimou (2nd R), Zhang Jigang (1st R) and Chen Weiya, both Chinese artists, pose at the appointment awarding ceremony for the opening and closing ceremony working teams of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, capital of China, April 16, 2006. Zhang Yimou has been named the general director for both the opening and closing ceremonies. Zhang Jigang and Chen Weiya are Zhang's deputies. [Xinhua Photo]
Liu Qi (1st L), president of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games, awards the letter of appointment to Chinese film director Zhang Yimou (2nd L), at the appointment awarding ceremony for the opening and closing ceremony working teams of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, capital of China, April 16, 2006. [Xinhua Photo]
A star-studded cast will put together the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) announced yesterday.
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 will be an unforgettable day in my life and I feel very honoured to be the director of the ceremonies," said 54-year-old Zhang at the appointment ceremony yesterday.
"I have also felt much responsibility to the task and I make a solemn promise that I will 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 work, "House of Flying Daggers," both of which were nominated for Oscars.
Zhang will be assisted by two deputy directors: Zhang Jigang, director of the Song and Dance Ensemble affiliated with the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army; and Chen Weiya, director of the China National Song and Dance Ensemble.
Led by renowned US director Spielberg, a group of artists, experts and professors from both home and abroad will offer their help as cultural and artistic advisers.
"It's a great honour to accept this appointment as an overseas adviser," said Spielberg, whose most recent film "Munich" was based on the events in the aftermath of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
"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, co-operation and understanding."
"Through the visual and performing arts, the art of music, the art of dance and the art of celebration of life, all of us are dedicated to making these Olympic opening and closing ceremonies the most emotional everyone has ever seen."
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 also be advisers.
During the campaign to find the production team for the ceremonies last year, 409 works were submitted to organizers, and five of them were short-listed after evaluation.
The directors and producers from the top five nominated presentations were commissioned by BOCOG to produce the events by combining the best elements and merits of the five.
At the same time BOCOG announced that it would continue its selection of famous artists and specialists from China and the rest of the world to participate in the creation of the opening and closing ceremonies.
"The opening ceremony is a crucial part of the Olympic Games. The success of a high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features depends very much on the level of the opening ceremony," said Liu Qi, president of BOCOG.
"We expect to leave an excellent impression on the athletes and guests from all over the world and billions of TV audiences by staging a fantastic opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games."