by writer/director Jeremy Teicher
In 2016, when co-writer and star Alexi Pappas competed in the Rio Olympics, I had the opportunity to visit her in the Olympic Athlete’s Village. I was immediately struck by how cinematic the Village is—there are large buildings adorned with flags from every country in the world, there’s a dining hall the size of a football field, and of course there are the people. It felt like every person was either the biggest or smallest person I had ever seen. As a filmmaker, I couldn’t help but be inspired.
But my inspiration ran deeper than just the striking visuals of the Olympic Village. I was profoundly impacted by the knowledge that for every person I saw, this moment represented a pinnacle in their lives. No matter what happened, they would be different after this moment was over.
Naturally, I assumed it would be impossible to ever have access to the Olympics in the way I did with Alexi, where we were able to roam free with her athlete credentials. But then, the unexpected happened: the president of the IOC saw our previous film, Tracktown, while on a flight and invited Alexi and me to travel to the 2018 Winter Games as artists-in-residence. Because Alexi herself is an Olympian, there was a level of trust that the IOC had with us that has never existed for a narrative filmmaker before.
The curtains were drawn back: we would be given full access to the Athlete Village and all official Olympic Venues, access that had never been granted to a fictional film project. The only catch was that we could only bring along one more person, co-star Nick Kroll—other than Nick and Alexi, I was entirely a one-person crew.
Dear filmgoers, you are in for a treat. You are going to be seeing the Olympics in a way that audiences never have before. And not just visually— yes, there are incredible sequences in the Village and backstage of the figure skating rink, just to name a few, that will take your breath away—but emotionally as well. The emotional journey at the center of the narrative is inspired by Alexi’s own experience having a mental “dip” after her competition ended; feeling lost and questioning what comes next. Even Olympians feel lost.
Olympic Dreams is a film that the movie gods surely conspired to exist— so many elements came together in just the right way to enable us to have access to this hallowed ground that everyone knows about but so few have ever really seen. I feel privileged to have been able to capture a small slice of this very special world, and Alexi Pappas, Nick Kroll, and I am tremendously proud to share it with you.