The stirring underdog story of the Czech Republic men’s ice hockey team shocking victory at the 1998 Nagano Games kicks off new signature documentary series.
Featuring never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with some of the game’s biggest names including Hašek, Jágr, Lindros, Hull and Yashin.
MADRID – 31 January 2018 – The story behind the Czech Republic’s heroic upset at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 in men’s ice hockey will be featured in The Nagano Tapes, the first film in the Olympic Channel’s signature series Five Rings Films. The feature length documentary will premiere worldwide on 28 February 2018 on the Olympic Channel at olympicchannel.com and its mobile apps, in addition to telecasts on NBCSN in the United States, Eurosport in Europe and beIN Sports in MENA.
The Nagano Tapes features the classic men´s ice hockey tournament of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, where professional players participated in the Games for the first time. Among the many “Dream Teams”, the underdog squad from the Czech Republic led by Jaromír Jágr and Dominik Hašek stunned the world on its way to a historic gold. Their triumph in Nagano is recognised as a defining moment and a source of national pride at a time of the country’s resurgence.
Directed by the Sundance award-winning Ondřej Hudeček from the Czech Republic, The Nagano Tapes features never-before-seen IMAX footage, exclusive International Olympic Committee (IOC) archive footage and interviews with some of the world’s best ice hockey players who relive their experience in precise detail including the Czech Republic’s Dominik Hašek, JaromÍr Jágr and Petr Svoboda, Canada’s Theoren Fleury, Eric Lindros and Marc Crawford (Coach), the USA’s Brett Hull and the Russian Federation’s Alexei Yashin.
“Many people in the Czech Republic treasure this story like a scripture,” said Hudeček. “To me personally, it brings back the memories of a 10-year-old kid inspired to see the world around him as a much smaller place, and I wanted to weave all of these threads into a film that could be relevant and fun to watch for everyone — not just hockey fans.”
The Nagano Tapes is the first film in the Olympic Channel’s signature documentary series, Five Rings Films, produced exclusively for the global media platform by Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM). Five Rings Films is a five-episode series of incisive and entertaining documentaries directed by some of the biggest names in film from around the world.
“As the world gathers together in PyeongChang for 17 days of peace, sport, culture and education, I am thrilled to be premiering our first film for the Olympic Channel,” said Marshall. “Athletes are at the heart of the Olympics, so The Nagano Tapes is the perfect story to launch our new series, as it tells the incredible story of how an underdog men’s ice hockey team overcame all odds to win gold. I hope this story and subsequent ones will inspire other athletes to follow their dreams.”
“Some of the world’s greatest moments in all of sports have unfolded during the Olympic Games creating a treasure trove of compelling stories for our Five Rings Films signature documentary series” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “The fascinating tale of the men’s ice hockey tournament in Nagano is sure to inspire and entertain audiences around the world through its dramatic storytelling set against the backdrop of the Winter Olympic games.”
“We’re incredibly honoured to launch this series with Frank and the Olympic Channel,” said Jon Weinbach, Executive Vice President of MSM. “These films combine fascinating elements of sports, pop culture and the human spirit, and that mix is what makes the Olympics such a compelling source of storytelling.”
Future films include La Lucha directed by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Patriots Day”), which will focus on the iconic Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, a three-time Olympic gold medallist who famously turned down $5 million to fight Muhammad Ali, and the man responsible for his greatest achievements, the legendary coach Alcides Sagarra Caron.
Marshall, whose producing credits include legendary titles such as the “Jason Bourne,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, and MSM’s Mike Tollin are executive producers. MSM Executive Vice-President Jon Weinbach and Olympic Channel Director of Original Programming Gregory Groggel are co-executive producers.
About the Olympic Channel
The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.
Frank Marshall: With a career spanning more than 45 years and over 80 films, Frank Marshall has helped shape American cinema, producing some of the most successful and enduring films of all time. Starting as a location manager on Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, by 1981 Marshall was working as a producer on Raiders of the Lost Ark with Steven Spielberg and future wife Kathleen Kennedy. Shortly thereafter, the trio formed industry powerhouse Amblin Entertainment, and together produced movies such as Gremlins, the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Hook, Empire of the Sun, and the Indiana Jones trilogy. In 1991, Marshall and Kennedy left Amblin to form their own production company, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, where they produced The Sixth Sense, Signs, Seabiscuit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, War Horse, The Armstrong Lie and all four films in the Bourne series. In 2012, Marshall took over as sole principal of the company when partner Kathleen Kennedy became Chairman of Lucasfilm. He recently produced Jurassic World and the four-hour documentary, Sinatra:All or Nothing at All, as well as four films in 2016, The BFG, Jason Bourne, Sully, and Assassin’s Creed.
Mike Tollin is the Co-Chairman of Mandalay Sports Media (MSM), an industry leader in sports programming. Tollin has produced and directed more than a dozen feature films, several award-winning documentaries, and hundreds of hours of television, including “Coach Carter,” “Varsity Blues” and “Summer Catch,” along with “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream” which received a Peabody Award and an Academy Award nomination. Launched in 2012 by Peter Guber and Mike Tollin, Mandalay Sports Media is a diversified content and media company that creates high-quality programming for all platforms. Since its founding, MSM has produced and is producing content for ESPN, Showtime, HBO, E! Entertainment, ABC, CBS, FOX, Netflix, The NFL Network, Vice, Xbox, Turner Sports, Yahoo, VICE, AOL and Verizon Go90, among others, with numerous projects in development for major television, digital, feature film and sports entities.
Ondrej Hudecek is one of the most exciting young directors in the Czech Republic. Hudecek’s latest film “Peacock” was screened at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, where it received the “Sundance Short Special Jury Award” for Best Direction.