By Kwon Ji-youn

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG) introduced a cast of “master class” experts Friday who are collaborating with it to orchestrate the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Games.

These experts boast an abundance of directing experience, the committee said.

“The POCOG has formed a consulting committee comprised of international experts who will work closely with domestic artists to showcase the cultural capacity of the host country and city in the opening and closing ceremonies,” POCOG President Cho Yang-ho said during a press conference at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul. “Preparation has started in earnest. ”

The committee involves globally distinguished directors including Konstantin Ernst, who directed the 2014 Sochi Games Don Mischer, who was in charge of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and 1996 Atlanta Games David Atkins, who helmed the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and Sidney Kimme, producer of the 2007 film “The Kite Runner”

These experts have been interviewing and evaluating both candidates submitted by recommendation and those who applied in response to the POCOG’s open call. Organizers had issued a press release on March 17 to announce it is accepting entries and recommendations for the post of director

“Olympic ceremonies are the most important challenge to anybody who does what we do,” Mischer said. “There’s nothing like the Olympics to bring focus to a city, to a people — when you host the Olympics for two weeks, the entire world is focused on that city. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of opportunity as it can change the way the world perceives this country and its culture. ”

Atkins said he was here to make sure the organizing committee delivers the very best ceremonies possible, those that uniquely represent Korea’s past, present and future.

“The Olympics ceremonies give a country a chance to define, even redefine itself to the rest of the world,” he said. “It’s a unique opportunity to create pride and instill hope for the future in the host country.”

Of concern to the nominees, as well as the public, will undoubtedly be the budget set aside for the ceremonies. The Incheon Asian Games’ opening and closing acts were slammed for having featured more celebrities than sports stars, abasing the legacy of the multi-sport event among athletes across Asia Many had likened the ceremonies to a hallyu (Korean wave) concert or a film festival. Film moguls Jang Jin and Im Kwon-taek, who had helmed the directing for the Asiad’s ceremonies, stressed they had had very few options because of a limited budget.

Atkins stressed that budget was not an issue.

“There is a massive difference in budgets, depending on the host country’s creative ambitions and circumstances,” he said. “But my favorite was the opening of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which cost $7 million. This goes to show the amount of money doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful opening ceremony. ” Ernst said that very few directors could promise absolute success.

All four experts agreed that the ideal director would be someone who had the ability to tell a story.

“It’s not a movie, nor a musical,” Ernst said. “It’s something special. ”

Mischer added, “We’re looking for someone who has the passion and emotion to tell the stories that need to be told. There are many audiences — those in Seoul, in Korea, in Asia and around the world, who know not nearly as much about Korea You’re looking for someone who has the ability to tell the story to a broad range of audiences. ”

The theme for the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang will be “New Horizons.”

“It’s a golden opportunity (for Korea) to deal with its past, its history and tradition,” Mischer said. “But by doing it in a state-of-the-art way, you’re showing the world you respect your history and your ancestors and that you’re part of one of the world’s most technologically aanced countries.”

Kimme added, “After two days of meetings, I am much more confident that it’ll be a great showcase that can appeal to the world and show off the host country’s creativity. ”

SOURCE: The Korea Times