"These films are the third instalment of the trilogy of films, and focus on those final moments before the games themselves. Like the previous series, these films try to show a side of the athletes not commonly seen - the quiet personal moments, the thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams that they all feel ahead of what is perhaps the biggest moment of their lives. We sought to evoke the contrast between the intimate and personal moments of preparation and the epic grandeur the world stage that lies in wait.
"My personal ambition with all these films was to capture moments that revealed the inner workings of the athlete - everybody sees the final results, the achievements of these people is well documented. What we don't often get to see is what goes on behind the scenes, the sacrifice and dedication, the moments of anxiety and self-doubt. It's these personal idiosyncrasies that allow us asviewers to identify with these “superhuman beings”. None of us will really know what it's like to crouch on the starting block in the Olympic pool, but we can identify with the heart stopping moment before the gun goes off. When we find that connection, it enables us to get behind the athlete in a meaningful and rewarding way.
"All of these films, including the previous series, were shot in a very low impact manner-captured on a Canon 5D with a very small crew. Although initially born of financial necessity, this approach turned out to be the perfect way to get closer to the subjects. Without a cumbersome crew and van-loads of gear, wewere able to gain access to locations as well as people in a way that only a small crew can. However the simplicity and clarity of our approach, coupledwith the image quality that can be achieved with modern DSLR’s allowed us to create images that did justice to the compelling testimony of the athletes. I also think because of this approach, a very strong bond was created within the group and that spilled over into our interactions with each athlete - I truly believe that they felt that warmth and as a result opened up to us in a waythat transcended the usual banal soundbites.
"Overall, these films have been an emotional journey. When you direct, shoot and edit you can't help but feel an immense sense of ownership. You take on a huge responsibility to deliver films that do justice to the incredible people you have met and there really is nowhere to hide. Thankfully, the films turned out pretty well."
Directed, shot & edited by Simon Baker (represented by Another Film Company)
(except for Ellie Simmonds and Hannah Cockroft which were edited by me and Alex Marsh.)
Produced by: Mali Abili at IMG
Executive Producer: Diana Elkins at IMG
Commissioned by: Deborah Poulton at Channel 4
Graded by: Seamus O’Kane at the Mill.