The winter Olympics animated film “Our Winter Olympics” is China’s gift to the world

2022-06-28 0 By

A new all-star animated feature, “Our Winter Olympics,” will hit screens on Feb. 19.In an exclusive interview with China.org.cn, its creators explained that they hope to present the film to the world as a gift and vehicle to showcase Chinese culture.A mother and her two daughters pose for a photo in front of Olympic mascot Bing Dewen at the premiere of “Me and My Winter Olympics” in Beijing, Feb 16, 2022.Directed by Lin Yongchang, Li Haoling, Zhuang Hao and Qu Qiang, Me and My Winter Olympics is a drama series featuring inspirational stories about nearly 50 of China’s most popular animated characters and Beijing 2022’s official mascot, Bing Dengwen.Cheerful cartoon panda and anthropomorphic Chinese lantern Shuey Rhon Rhon — in four chapters.”This is a great gift for audiences in China and around the world,” said Wang Yuren, the film’s chief producer.”I am excited and grateful for the efforts of more than 1,300 Chinese animators over the past two years.I hope the film can convey to the world the ideas of the young Chinese generation and China’s cultural confidence.”Wang has long anticipated the potential popularity of the Olympic mascots, as evidenced by the recent craze for Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon merchandise.”When these designs came out, they were very cute,” he said.”So in 2019, we approached the International Olympic Committee for permission.”Members of the production team and guests of “Me and My Winter Olympics” pose for a group photo at the premiere in Beijing, Feb 16, 2022.No film based on an Olympic mascot has ever been made before.After careful consideration, the International Olympic Committee gave its final approval and blessing to the project.”It’s a recognition of Beijing as a double-Olympic city,” Wang said.After getting approval, Wang and his team began contacting Chinese animation studios, animators, producers and investors.”We handpicked the most popular and iconic characters — those who have inspired generations of Chinese people,” Wang said.Shanghai Animation Film Studio, Fonte Animation, Bilibili and other studios have joined hands to create a dream team consisting of popular characters from blockbusters such as The Monkey King, Calabash Brothers, Running Squad and Inhuman.Directed by Wonder Cat Animation, the film features a variety of animation styles, including 2D animation, CGI, puppets and stop-motion animation.Initial preparation took all of 2020 to complete, followed by six months to decide on content and production staff.Actual production ran from June to December last year.”It was very challenging for us to make the film in such a short time,” Wang said.Still image from the Buni Squad chapter of “Me and My Winter Games”.Lim Yong Chang directed the chapter, a younger version starring famous bear brothers Briar and Bramble and their human friend Vick, from the popular animated show “Boonie Squad”.He explained that everyone was focused on creating a story that would both entertain audiences and pay tribute to the Olympics.”After getting the project, we did a lot of research on winter sports so that we could best showcase them on the big screen,” Lin told China.org.cn.”We were delighted that our characters were able to interact with the Olympic mascots in the film and we incorporated a lot of winter sports into the plot.”He added that they also drew inspiration for the new character, Miss Snow, from top skiers like Aileen Gu.Still image from the Sun Wukong chapter of “Me and My Winter Games”.In another chapter, the Monkey King, who has always been slim and powerful, gets fat when he eats too much and doesn’t exercise.However, he still manages to team up with the modern world character Tutu, racing alongside other animated stars such as Nezha and the Gourd Brothers in winter sports events.”We wanted to surprise audiences with a fat Monkey King, while also encouraging them to exercise and stay healthy,” said Qu Qiang, one of the film’s directors.The new design was approved by artists at Shanghai Animation Film Studio, who made the original Sun Wukong a childhood favorite for millions of Chinese.”Sun Wukong has been my hero since I was little,” Qu said.”After all these years, I am honored to be able to honor my predecessors through this Olympic event.”Qu hopes the film will promote the Olympic spirit among Chinese people and show the uniqueness of Chinese culture to the world.One chapter of the still image film from the puppet show section of “Me and My Winter Games” is particularly Chinese: the puppet stop-motion animation section, directed by Zhuang Hao.”In China, even in the world, there are very few teams that can make animations like this, and you can only count them on one hand.””Said Xu Zheng, the chapter’s producer and original creator of the Puppet.He explained that 23 animators created 54 puppets for the film, and although more than 20 minutes of footage were shot, only half of it was used in the final version.For nearly two decades, Chinese audiences have missed out on this type of animation on the big screen, Xu said.While they mostly use traditional technology, they also incorporate some new technologies, including 3D printing.”We will continue to promote this genre in the future,” Xu said.Still image from the non-human chapter of “Me and My Winter Games”.Meanwhile, another chapter of the characters in Bilibili’s popular online animation series “Non-Human” looks set to appeal to young Chinese.The show’s magical creatures — including the nine-tailed fox, dragon and Nezha — embark on a new adventure with the Olympic mascots.”We saw the Winter Olympics go deep into the hearts of Chinese people, and we thought we could also incorporate many details of daily life in Beijing into our animation,” explains producer Wang Yuren.”We hope to better combine winter sports with Chinese culture, so that the film can make people around the world fall in love with Ice Emperor and Xue Runrun, fall in love with Chinese animation and support the Winter Olympics.”