London 2012: Caroline Rowland's 'First' to Chronicle 12 Competitors' Stories at the Olympics

 

LONDON -- There is to be an official movie of the London 2012 Olympics: First will be written, produced and directed by Caroline Rowland.

Rowland, who is shooting footage of U.S. swimmers in Tennessee for the movie, plans to put together a film about 12 first-time Olympic athletes, chronicling their journey to the games and their participation in them.

The filmmaker, who wrote and produced the London 2012 Olympic bid films with Daryl Goodrich directing when the British capital was in the running to get the games, has secured the blessing of both the International Olympic Committee and the London 2012 Organizing Committee for First.

The project is intended as a continuation of the Bud Greenspan movies that have chronicled other recent Olympic Games.

Greenspan is credited with inventing the official Olympic film genre. His Sixteen Days of Glory, centering on the 1984 Los Angeles games, is one of the most critically acclaimed sports films "of our time," Rowland said.

"Bud's death in 2010 in some ways signified the end of an era, and the official film was threatened with extinction,"  Rowland noted. "[First] is intended to carry on the rich tradition of films that celebrate Olympism, but it is also intended to respond to and reflect the demands of a new audience."

The athletes being filmed include the 17-year-old U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin; Queen Underwood, a female lightweight boxer from the U.S.; and the American gymnast John Orozco.

Once the starting gun for the Summer Games fires, Rowland will have three crews in action.

New Moon has the rights to the film for seven years, then they revert to the IOC.

The company is currently in negotiations with U.K. and global sales banners to handle all rights, and Rowland said she is also courting an Imax release.

Olympic rights restrictions mean the filmmakers are working only with rights-holding broadcasters on the TV and home entertainment side.

In the U.K., it gives the BBC first refusal to take the TV rights.

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