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DISCOVERY NETWORKS ASIA and VISA exploring tales of the unexpected in Olympic Cities


Jia Zhangke Invited to Serve as Art Director

BEIJING - Discovery Networks Asia, a division of the number-one nonfiction media company Discovery Communications, today announced it is partnering with Olympic sponsor Visa to launch a new filmmaking initiative that will present a unique view of former Olympic host cities through the eyes of six Chinese directors.

As part of the initiative, six talented Chinese filmmakers have been chosen to produce a series of five-minute vignettes on six former Olympic host cities: Los Angeles, Sydney, Seoul, Rome, Mexico City and Athens. The six filmmakers include Zhao Liang, Long Miaoyuan, Xu Jun and Liu Chang, all former winners of Discovery Channel’s First Time Filmmakers China initiative, which is an annual program that provides promising local directors with professional development and the opportunity to showcase their documentary films on Discovery Channel. Also participating is independent film director Lai He and professional creative director Johnny Tan. The vignettes will provide audiences with insight into the unique experiences each city has to offer and highlight the creative vision, storytelling techniques and cinematographic skills of Chinese filmmakers.

“This partnership reinforces our commitment to the growth of documentary filmmaking and to the development of local directorial talent,” said Fang Chang, Vice President and General Manager, China Operations, Discovery Networks Asia. “With the support of Visa as a major sponsor for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, we are once more providing local filmmakers with an opportunity to bring their visions to life and to gain recognition on an international platform. This initiative provides an avenue for local filmmakers to tell their stories from a Chinese perspective and bring the Olympic experience not only to audiences in China but also around the world.”

“As a sponsor of the Olympics, Visa is delighted to lend its help and support to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games wherever it can,” said Li Sheng, Vice President of Visa International and General Manager of Brand & Marketing China. “Our partnership with Discovery Channel is an affirmation not only of Visa’s firm support for the Olympics, but of our desire to create avenues that encourage involvement in this magnificent event and the Olympic cities. We look forward to seeing how these filmmakers will share the discoveries, surprises and emotions they encounter during their journeys from their own unique viewpoints.”

Jia Zhangke, an award-winning director who is part of a new generation of Chinese filmmakers and was recently appointed president of the short film jury at the 60th Cannes Film Festival, will serve as art director for the series. At a press conference held in Beijing to announce the initiative, Jia presented the six filmmakers with their own Visa cards and also revealed the city that each has been assigned to shoot their respective vignettes. “We’re all eager to see what the Olympics will mean for Beijing,” said Jia. "This partnership between Discovery and Visa will bring former Olympic host cities to life through a Chinese perspective and perhaps provide a glimpse of what we might expect in Beijing.”

Speaking to reporters about their plans at the press conference, the six filmmakers remarked that the partnership with Discovery and Visa will enable them to capture through film the thoughts and emotions evoked by real life travel experiences and how these connect to the largest sporting event in the world. All six vignettes will air on the Discovery Travel & Living programming block in China in September 2007. The organizers also plan to showcase the vignettes during a premiere ceremony in August.

A new theme page dedicated to the initiative will be available on the Visa China and Sina Entertainment websites for the next five months. Internet visitors can view the vignettes, vote for their favorites and share their own Olympic City experiences online. They will also have the opportunity to win tickets to the 2008 Olympic Games. For more information, please visit, or’s entertainment channel.


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