Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro is the site of the Opening Ceremonies.
"We tried to change some paradigms of the Olympic Ceremonies,” Balich says. "In the spirit of 'gambiarra,' we replaced the high-tech approach with an analog inventiveness. We have done a big party, with 4,000 volunteers, to promote world peace as the basis of the Olympic spirit."
The creative team included Abel Gomes, Andrucha Waddington, Daniela Thomas and Fernando Mereilles.
The Brazilian flag is saluted.
"For a country in such political upheaval I thought they were very lucky to pull off this opening production at the level they did," notes Doug Johnson, head of Los Angeles-basesd E Plus Productions.
"Budget is the driving force for creativity at this level, and they seemed to be smart with how they used every dollar," he adds. "The story they told was surprising, and as uncomfortable as it was, they were honest with their heritage when dealing with the slave trade."
The ceremony traced the history of Brazil. Here, native peoples in the vast forest.
Paul Creighton, CSEP, executive vice president with Orlando, Fla.-based T. Skorman Productions, says the production values were "spot on."
"It would have been wholly inappropriate for a country that was having trouble providing basic services to their own citizens to put on an extravaganza to rival the $40 million that England spent, or the $100 million that China spent," he explains.
The arrival of the Portuguese, circa 1500.
Johnson dubs the rocking ships "a visual home run."
For Michael Manzanet, producer with Los Angeles-based WonderWorld, not only were visual effects, lighting and laser use strong, "The performances were excellent, and the use of props creative, since they were made of cardboard boxes and tin."
He adds, "Good lighting made it look like the props were expensive. Even the costumes were from thrift shops and charity shops."
The rise of Brazil's major cities.
"Another 'wow' was the multi-level stage at the end of the stadium," Creighton says. "It was visual appealing, and allowed the producers to do a lot of different entertainment--much of it small groups--but still feel big."
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen walks to the 1960s bossa nova hit "The Girl from Ipanema."
"My biggest goal is that no matter what the client spends, make sure that what you deliver is clean and well presented," Creighton says. "So, for me, the biggest wow was the 90 seconds they cleared the entire stadium floor and let Giselle Bundchen walk across the field to the sounds of 'Girl From Ipanema.' The simplicity of that moment was brilliant. For a country that celebrates beauty, it was perfect."
Dancers take the stage.
Michael Cerbelli, CEO and president of New York-based Cerbelli Creative, praises the colorful show and lively multimedia. "The media had us believing that Rio was in incredibly bad shape walking into this Olympics," he notes. But, "I think the story of Brazil/Rio was amazing."
He adds that throughout the ceremonies, "The passion and heart were always there."
A large segment of the production warned of the destruction of the rain forest and need to safeguard the environment.
"I think the opening has a lot to say about you get for what you pay for," says Sam Trego, president of San Diego-based Imagine Entertainment. "Yes, this had a much smaller budget the other opening ceremonies, no doubt. The entire world noticed the lack of production compared to past opening ceremonies. However, I personally loved the human message that we have got to act now to keep from destroying our planet."
A long view of the stadium.
"I really enjoyed the cityscape and parkour performers," notes Mark Howell, president of Mark Joseph Creative, with offices in Los Angeles and San Diego.
"I also loved the simplicity of the cords/wires that were suspended fom the center and used in various patterns."
A bicyclist ushers in a nation's athletes.
Brazil's athletes are welcomed.
A long view.
The performers tackle the theme of the vanishing rain forest.
A plea for reforestation.
Many entertainment experts praise the 2008 Opening Ceremonies in Beijing a the high-water mark for Olympics productions.
Colorful samba performers.
Stunning use of color.
And the grand finale--the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.
Cerbelli notes that his most poignant Olympics Opening Ceremony was 1996, when Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron.
A close-up on the cauldron.
Rio Opening Ceremonies executive producer Marco Balich in the control room.
Relying on "gambiarra"--the Brazilian knack for making something out of nothing--the team of CC2016 led by executive producer Marco Balich created a lively salute to sport, samba and sustainability.
As a floral designer, I have been discussing the fact that there are NO bouquets presented this year to any of the winners. How sad! The Olympics have always given something, a Crown of Laurel, a posy of fern and flowers. Have heard the disappointment from every floral person I know. I know they had cost issues, But really with all the Corporate sponsors from McD's to Nike etc. with giant logos, they couldnt request flowers or funds ????
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