Special Report on MIPCOM’s Most Wanted: Stade-by-Stage: For the 1998 World Cup, France pulls out all the stops and LM is there

Project: Stadium of the 21st Century...
September 1, 1997

Project: Stadium of the 21st Century

Description: A 26-minute look at the creation of World Cup venue Stade de France. The first of a six-part series.

Production company: LM Television Productions

Executive producer/director: Bruno Rochelle

Writer: Jean-Patrick Gamet

DOP: Jean-Louis Vadjer

Distributor: Magic TV, Paris – Grant Ross, manager of sales

Magic TV is financing the first of a six-part half-hour series on the organization and locations of the 1998 World Cup – the premiere soccer competition and the most watched television event on the planet. Produced by LM Television, the episode (budget us$65,000) looks at the construction and design of France’s ‘Stadium of the 21st Century,’ the primary site for the event. French soccer superstar Michel Platini hosts the program.

Construction of the 80,000-seat stadium is a landmark event. A closely held dream of the French for years, the venue was an essential element of France’s bid to host the ’98 World Cup. The 2.6 billion ff stadium will be completed in November of ’97 and operable by January ’98. Unique in its dimensions with 45 km of seating capacity, it features digital control, press facilities, a panoramic restaurant and a movable 25,000-seat section.

Paris-based lm is a revitalized doc and drama production company owned by Magic TV. Until recently, Magic had restricted its exporting activity to selling tv formats, but now that lm is developing and producing new product, Magic has aligned itself with The Fremantle Corporation in the u.s. Magic will acquire third-party exportable documentaries, mainly from French producers, but also from other countries including China.

July 2, 1992: In Switzerland, it is announced that Paris has been awarded the 1998 World Cup. Archival images for Stadium of the 21st Century are sourced directly from the French Organizing Committee for the World Cup.

May 1995 – October 1997: From start to projected completion in October ’97, the many and varied stages in the Stade de France’s construction are documented on videotape and 16mm film, and subsequently edited.

August 1997: lm shoots the second sequence, which follows the announcement from 1992. In this high-speed segment, the action moves to Paris, capturing the excitement of a zoom-through by night, and ultimately arriving at the Stade de France. The night sequence is followed by a quick-cut, high-contrast segment showing the new stadium as it appears in daylight.

September 1-15, 1997: lm interviews members of the work crew, capturing the atmosphere and scale of the new stadium. ‘It’s very impressive, like a self-enclosed village,’ says director Bruno Rochelle.

‘We also shot a sequence just about the stadium turf. It was grown especially for the stadium in a suburb outside Paris and transferred to the stadium by police escort.’ The grass had to be laid by a robot within 24 hours.

Officials responsible for event security are interviewed by Rochelle and journalist Jean-Patrick Gamet. In one segment, the lm team follows a busy day in the life of the head of security for the World Cup – an interesting sidebar as this security executive happens to be a woman.

‘Everybody wants to a know a little bit about where the World Cup is being played and what’s being put in place in France to protect the athletes,’ says Grant Ross.

September 15-22 1997: The production is edited in time for mipcom.

‘Depending on what our client has to say about the World Cup [production], we may also have two or three other half-hour documentaries to prepare on this event,’ says Ross. ‘One will look closely at the entire issue of security and the work of the many volunteers. Another will follow a day in the life of the person charged with the difficult, and sometimes thankless, task of hotel accommodations for all the players, including the sport’s internationally renowned superstars.’

Another stand-alone production will profile the decisive Dec. 4, 1997 ‘tirage au sort’ playoff draw during which the 32 team match-ups and schedules are determined.

Also in this report:

-Intro to MIP

-Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?: Off the Fence stakes out South Africa’s elite ESPu in a new series that brings Cops-style attitude to the animal world

-War of the Worlds: Worldview Pictures divides and conquers in its production, War and Civilization

-Welcome to Mike’s World: Michael Moore takes another jab at TV

-Swimming With Sharks: Predators and distributors come together for Ron Taylor Production’s Shark Pod

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