We now know that the official London 2012 Olympics film will be written, produced and directed by Caroline Rowland of the London-based New Moon organisation.
The film, simply named “ FIRST” has been approved by both the International Olympic Committee and the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG).
One of only 12 ‘athletes’ selected to appear in the final production is 26 years old, Irish boxer, Katie Taylor who will be seeking Gold in London, the first time that women’s boxing has ‘officially’ featured in the Olympics.
With a very strict timescale, Caroline Rowland is hoping to complete production of the film in time to screen it at the BFI London Film Festival later in the Autumn.
Most recent Olympic Games have featured films by the late, great Bud Greenspan . Speaking this week to “Screen Daily”, Rowland said:
“These have really been films that have captured rather than the highlights of the Games the essence of what the Olympics is all about,” Rowland says.
There had been some speculation that no official film would be made of the 2012 Games given – as Rowland puts it – “we are in an age of immediate media consumption and the live sport and highlights packages were so much more important than telling the stories behind the stories.”
Rowland, whose “bid” films on behalf of London are credited with helping win the games for the United Kingdom ,has consistently lobbied both the IOC and LOCOG to be allowed to make this film.
“I went to the IOC and LOCOG and started to lobby to acquire the rights to make the film. It has been the toughest negotiation of my life bar none,” Rowland told Screen Daily’
Her English Institute of Sport (EIS) -backed movie will tell the story of 12 first-time Olympic athletes from all around the world in the six weeks leading up to the Games and in London itself.
The athletes are:
Ireland’s 4 time World, 5 time European 60 kg champion (and also International footballer) Katie Taylor
American swimmer Missy Franklin (17 yrs old tipped to win at least 6 medals in London
Brazilian swimmer Bruno Fratus
Kenyan 800 metre runner and record David Rudisha trained by Irish missionary Brother Colm O’Connell
Queen Underwood ,the lightweight boxer from the US who narrowly lost to Katie Taylor in the 2010 World championship in Barbados
US gymnast John Orozco
British handpall player Holly Lam-Moores
Brit sprinter James Ellington
Velodrome cyclist Laura Trott – one of the gold medal favourites for London 2012
French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre
Chinese diver Qiu Bo
Aussie BMX rider Caroline Buchanan
And Kosovan Judo champ Majlinda Kelmendi, who will be competing for Albania
“We’ve structured the narrative to allow five, one from each continent, to emerge as the lead story,” Rowland explains. “Each has a touch point that links them into the others…the film is unashamedly aimed at the teen and young adult audience.”
Rowland is currently shooting US swimmers in Tennessee and will shortly head to Kosovo. She has a second unit team in Brazil. Once the Games commence, she will have three crews in action at London 2012 sites.
“Given this demand by young consumers for content while it is fresh and relevant, I think it is very important that we are in the market this year. The strategy is that we’ll be in cinemas around November and then on TV and home entertainment before Christmas,” Rowland says.
New Moon has the rights to the film for seven years. After that, these rights will revert to the IOC. “Because of the restrictions of Olympic rights, we are restricted to working only with rights holding broadcasters on the TV and Home Entertainment side,” Rowland says. The BBC will therefore be given first refusal to take the UK TV rights.
So who is Caroline Rowland?
Caroline founded New Moon in 1996 and since then has been featured in the Who’s Who of Britain’s Young Entrepreneurs, and described by BAFTA’s Academy Magazine as “hot young talent” in the British Film Industry. The Observer included Caroline amongst their list of the ten most influential people in winning the Bid for the London 2012 Olympics.
As Executive Creative Director, Caroline’s most significant projects since the London 2012 films have included the stunning re-interpretation of W. H. Auden’s ‘Nightmail’ for the Royal Opening of St Pancras, the film ‘Belief’ for the Beijing Olympic Games, films for Sochi’s successful bid to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Bid, Dubai’s sponsorship of horseracing and film. In addition, Caroline co-directed the landmark documentary ‘We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For’, working in collaboration with Lord Puttnam.
Most recently, Caroline has been the creative lead on Pyeongchang’s 2018 Winter Olympic bid and is currently working with Falcon Associates to exploit the power of film to build the ‘Dubai’ brand.