Official film of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games previewed at the Cannes Film Festival

May 26, 2022 – The official film of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Side A, by award-winning director Naomi Kawase, was screened at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès as part of the Cannes Classics selection, after a red carpet reception. Marking a historic moment during the 75th anniversary edition of the prestigious cinematic event, Olympian Kim Gaucher joined Kawase on the red carpet, along with her partner and 14-month-old daughter.

Canadian basketball player Gaucher is one of many athletes featured in the film. She and her family play a central role in the film’s narrative about the female athletes who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Gaucher said she was “thrilled that the film highlighted the challenges inherent in balancing a professional female athlete and a mother with a young child.”

“It was nice to be here in Cannes for the film’s world premiere and to share this moment with my family, who supported me on my journey to the Tokyo Games. The film showcases the best of me as a athlete and parent,” she added.

Kawase – a Cannes enthusiast with multiple awards and competing selections – said stories such as Gaucher’s inspired her vision.

“There are Olympian moms like Kim Gaucher, who perform the perpetual balancing act of competing at the highest level of their sport while being moms,” she said. “I draw strength from the tenacity and grace of these women. I look at the bond between these mothers and their babies, and I wonder: how will these young children view this film, years from now? They are the future, the renewed light energy that propels us forward. And it is with this hope that I tell such stories.

Kawase’s official film was produced in two parts: one depicting the Games through the eyes of the athletes (side A) and the other from the perspective of staff and volunteers (side B). While “Side A” was screened as part of the Cannes Classics selection on May 25, “Side B” is slated for release later in June.

The film was produced by the Kinoshita Group and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and its message goes beyond physical feats and focuses on some of the human stories of the Games .

IOC member and film producer Anant Singh, who led the IOC delegation at the screening, said: “Olympic Games films have a legacy of over 100 years. Naomi’s film continues this tradition and immerses audiences in the emotions and challenges of the first postponed Games, which live audiences could not participate in. The film provides insight and a bird’s eye view that many have missed.

Composer David Hadjadj, who wrote the film’s original score, was also present at the Cannes premiere, along with other members of the production team.

Kawase was the youngest filmmaker to win the Camera d’Or for Best First Director at the Cannes Film Festival with her debut feature, Suzakureleased in 1997. She is also the first Japanese woman to be named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of her film work, which focuses on the stories of women across generations.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to present the official film of the Olympic Games to a wider audience thanks to the selection in Cannes,” said Yasmin Meichtry, associate director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH), who leads IOC collaboration on official films. “With Naomi Kawase at the helm of the project, we were sure of the film’s cinematic value and artistic perspective. This film will complement the already solid audiovisual heritage of Tokyo 2020 that we have thanks to the images broadcast. »

Since the beginning of the 20e century, films were created for each edition of the Olympic Games. Over the decades, accomplished international filmmakers have been inspired by the Olympic Movement to push the boundaries of the Olympic documentary tradition and create powerful cinema as part of the cultural legacy of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Film Collection is made up of over 50 feature films that provide a cinematic window into defining moments in the history of the modern Games.

Naomi C. Amerson