India-wide release, 18th September 2023: As India gears up to host the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session after 40 years and amidst talk of Indian interest in hosting a future edition of the Olympic Games, the Mumbai-based Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) and Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland have joined hands to present ‘Olympics in Reel Life – A Festival of Films and Photographs.’ The festival is in collaboration with The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) and India International Centre (IIC). Supported by Hyperlink Solutions, BookASmile, and Qube Cinema Technologies, this first-of-its-kind festival is slated to take place in Mumbai at the NCPA from 1st to 7th October 2023, and in New Delhi at IIC from 7th to 14th October 2023.
Ambassador of the Film Heritage Foundation and legendary superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, joined by Film Heritage Foundation Director, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra, esteemed hockey legend M.M. Somaya, and the renowned Badminton player Aparna Popat unveiled the ‘Olympics in Reel Life’ poster, thereby heralding the festival’s debut in India.
At the heart of this initiative lies a curated festival of Olympic-themed films, meticulously sourced from the Olympic Museum’s renowned collection, The films have been directed by acclaimed filmmakers, including Carlos Saura, Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa and Leni Riefenstahl, to name a few. Complementing this cinematic experience, a captivating photo exhibition titled “Olympism Made Visible” by renowned photographers like Dana Lixenberg, Lorenzo Vitturi and Poulomi Basu reveal the Olympic values and their impact when sport is placed at the service of humankind through community-based development initiatives in such areas as humanitarian assistance, the promotion of peace, or health and well-being through sport. The highlight will be the unveiling of the stunning photographs of award-winning photographer Poulomi Basu recently shot in Odisha that will be put on public display for the first time.
This unique endeavour also celebrates India’s rich Olympic legacy, featuring iconic photographs of national sporting heroes like Neeraj Chopra, P.V. Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu, and Milkha Singh who made the nation proud at the Olympic Games. Together, they underscore the transformative power of sports in uniting communities and fostering global harmony and peace.
At the commencement of ‘Olympics in Reel Life’, in a tie-up with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), FHF and the Olympic Museum will showcase iconic photographs of Indians in the Olympics over the decades at 15 prominent locations throughout the city of Mumbai.
During the course of the event, there will also be photography workshops held by renowned photographers Lorenzo Vitturi and Dana Lixenberg on October 3rd at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively and a discussion titled “Behind the Lens of Olympism Made Visible: In Conversation with Dana Lixenberg and Lorenzo Vitturi on October 2nd at 6 p.m. – a conversation between Dana Lixenberg, Lorenzo Vitturi and acclaimed Indian photographers Sooni Taraporevala and Sunhil Sippy.
SHIVENDRA SINGH DUNGARPUR – FILMMAKER, ARCHIVIST & FOUNDER DIRECTOR OF FILM HERITAGE FOUNDATION
“As India prepares to host the International Olympic Committee session in Mumbai this year after 40 years and India prepares to pitch to host the Olympics in the near future, Film Heritage Foundation is delighted to present a truly unique event – “Olympics in Reel Life – A Festival of
Films and Photographs” in partnership with the Olympic Museum based in Lausanne that will be a showcase of the heritage, art and culture of the Olympics captured on still and moving images.
The Olympic Museum has a fantastic collection of archival films dating back over a century, many of them directed by some of the most renowned filmmakers in the world. The film programme includes 33 films and 10 series that is a feast for cinephiles, sports, and history buffs and children offering them a rare opportunity to immerse themselves through the day for a week to watch not only some of the greatest sporting moments of both Indian and international champions over the decades but also the changing history of the world reflected in these moving images. In a true celebration of our Indian Olympians, we will be putting up iconic photographs of Indian champions in 15 prime locations across the city. We will also be presenting “Olympism Made Visible”, an exhibition of fine art photography that includes the work of internationally acclaimed photographers like Dana Lixenberg, Lorenzo Vitturi, and Poulomi Basu. I would urge people in Mumbai and Delhi not to miss this one-of-a-kind festival that marries sport, art, and film.”
YASMIN MEICHTRY, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CULTURE AND HERITAGE DEPARTMENT
“This festival is truly the first of its kind in India – a unique and rare opportunity to view world- class films and photographs selected from the rich heritage collections of the International Olympic Committee,” said Yasmin Meichtry, Associate Director of the IOC’s Culture and Heritage Department. “From short film series to award-winning feature-length documentaries and the internationally acclaimed Olympism Made Visible photography series, we are proud to present such a wide selection of works. Through this Olympic Museum partnership, with the Film Heritage Foundation which will be presented at the NCPA and the IIC, we can advance shared knowledge of Olympic history and engagement with the Olympic values and inspire India on its own Olympic journey.”
MR. KHUSHROO N SUNTOOK, CHAIRMAN, NCPA
“The zeitgeist of a nation replete with possibilities is shaped at the intersection of sports, art and culture. As India’s major platform for artistic expression, the NCPA is delighted to host the week- long Olympics in Reel Life: A Festival of Films and Photographs. It has been our constant endeavour to support India’s presence on the global stage. The event promises to be a remarkable visual spectacle and it is a great privilege for us to enable India’s calibre and Olympic spirit. We look forward to welcoming you.”
AMITABH BACHCHAN – ACTOR AND FILM HERITAGE FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR:
“I am delighted to hear that Film Heritage Foundation is partnering with the Olympic Museum to present a unique event this October in Mumbai and Delhi – Olympics in Reel Life – A Festival of Films and Photographs that will celebrate over a century of film heritage beginning from the 1912 film of the Stockholm Olympiad.
Most people are not aware that some of the most renowned filmmakers from around the world have made more than 50 Official films that represent some of the greatest sport documentaries made in the world. Audiences in Mumbai and Delhi will have the rare opportunity to indulge in
an Olympic movie marathon as films will be screened through the day over two weeks showcasing over a century of sporting history through Olympic films and an exhibition of photographs that capture the spirit and philosophy of the Olympics as well as Indians at the Games over the decades.
Being an Olympian is a mark of great honour for a sportsperson and a goal that many of them strive for years to achieve often under great hardship. The festival will remind us of the achievements of our Indian Olympians in photographs and films which capture not just the incredible human endeavour of sport, but also the historical and social context in which the Olympic Games are held around the world. We are fortunate that the Olympic Museum has preserved and restored these films so that the film heritage and culture of this majestic sporting event is available for future generations to enjoy.”
ABHINAV BINDRA – INDIA’S FIRST-EVER INDIVIDUAL GOLD MEDALLIST – WON GOLD AT THE 10 M AIR RIFLE EVENT AT OLYMPIC GAMES BEIJING 2008
“Winning an Olympic gold medal was a dream I ardently pursued, for it represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement. Yet, upon attaining it, I discovered that the essence of the Olympics transcends mere victories and the spectacle of the Games. It’s about imbibing and spreading the Olympic values that have the potential to shape the lives of our youth profoundly. I was deeply moved to learn that the Film Heritage Foundation is collaborating with the Olympic Museum for ‘Olympics in Reel Life’, a film festival and photo exhibition. This initiative not only offers Indian audiences a glimpse into the rich history of the Games through archival films but also unveils Poulomi Basu’s enchanting photographs from Odisha, capturing the transformative influence of sports on the youth. The power of sport, combined with the spirit of the Olympics, can indeed illuminate countless young dreams.”
MAHESH BHUPATHI – TENNIS PLAYER – 5-TIME OLYMPIAN
I have been blessed with an extraordinarily long and successful career during and I am proud to say that I have played in five consecutive Olympic Games. It was my dream to stand on the podium at the Olympics and win a medal not just for myself, but for my country. While Grand Slam events happen yearly, the Olympics are a different ball game as you get to represent the flag. The Olympics taught me that there is a world beyond my own sport and I have seen for myself the tremendous drive and mental strength that athletes from all backgrounds show when striving for Olympic glory against all odds. “Olympics in Reel Life” – a first-of-its-kind film festival of Olympic heritage presented by Film Heritage Foundation and the Olympic Museum should be attended by everyone who loves sport and film as it captures the great sporting history of the world over a century.
M.M. SOMAYA – FIELD HOCKEY PLAYER – MEMBER OF THE TEAM THAT WON THE GOLD AT THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYMPICS
(Played in 3 Olympic Games in 1980, 1984 and 1988. He was a member of the Gold medal winning team in 1980 and captained the Indian team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics).
“The most memorable match of my career was the final of the 1980 Moscow Olympics against Spain. It was my first international tournament and that too, an Olympic final where we won the gold after 16 years. The occasion was overwhelming. But it was after I retired from the game that I realized it was the leadership skills that I learned on the hockey field that have stood me in such good stead in my life. I was so happy to hear about the Film Heritage Foundation and the Olympic Museum’s partnership for Olympics in Reel Life that would highlight the art, culture and philosophy of sport and Olympic values that is about the journey to the podium rather than the goal. I am honoured to have been invited by the Film Heritage Foundation to launch the poster of the festival with the legendary superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and other great sportspersons and Olympians.”
APARNA POPAT – BADMINTON PLAYER- TWO-TIME OLYMPIAN
(Represented the country at the Sydney Olympic Games 2000 as India’s sole woman’s badminton representative. Participated in her second Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece in 2004.)
“I was so pleased to hear that the Film Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Olympic Museum was presenting this unique festival that would showcase “Olympics in Reel Life” – Olympic heritage films, and also have a photograph exhibition that captures the spirit of Olympism. When I began my badminton journey as a child, aspiring to attain sporting excellence, I was immensely inspired by powerful images of the Olympics that I saw on the screen. That inspiration helped me achieve my dream of representing India at 2 Olympic Games and winning a record 16 National singles titles in a span of 17 years. I strongly feel that the Olympics represents so much more than just the Games and medals. Olympism, as a philosophy, speaks about friendship, excellence and respect – values that are relevant and important in our everyday lives.
V.G. JAIRAM, FOUNDER, HYPERLINK BRAND SOLUTIONS:
“Hyperlink has always been at the core of movements that connect communities and powerful stories with the audience. We are glad to be teaming up with FHF and Olympic Museum for this extraordinary event that encapsulates the very essence of the Olympics, and we are proud to bring this unique vision to reality. At the same time, we are thrilled that the commencement of this Olympic event is done with the poster reveal. We would like to invite the people to witness the convergence of art, passion, and the Olympic spirit, as we bring the Games to life at NCPA in a way that has never been seen before.”
FARZANA CAMA BALPANDE, HEAD, BOOKASMILE:
“We are thrilled to be able to extend our support to the cause of development through sport in the form of this inspiring visual festival ‘Olympics in Reel Life’ put together by the Film Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Olympics Museum. To travel the historic journey and the social context of the Olympic Games over the years through a stupendous collection of films and photographs, that explores the role of sport in society and presents a case for it to be a key catalyst in social development, speaks closely to the work that BookASmile does in pushing the boundaries of development in India amongst lesser privileged groups through sports, cinema, music, performing arts and so much more. We feel privileged to be able to partner with a project
such as this, which will carry this global legacy to future generations of our country and serve as a beacon of inspiration for more individuals to choose sport as a way to create impact of the highest order.”
The arrival of ‘Olympics in Reel Life’ in India serves as a reflection of the nation’s respect for its Olympic heritage and its aspirations for the future. The event crystallizes the collective vision of the Mumbai-based Film Heritage Foundation (FHF), the Olympic Museum, BookASmile – the charity initiative of BookMyShow, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Qube Cinema Technologies, India International Centre (IIC), and Abhinav Bindra Foundation and The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) to illuminate India’s Olympic journey on a global stage.