One of the items Brent and I wanted to do involved the Italian Auto Industry and how it related to the Games. We had lined up interviews and tours with Fiat, Pininfarina, and Bertone. Fiat was a sponsor and the largest employer of Torino. Pininfarina, a design and engineering company, were the creators of the Olympic Torch and Olympic Flame cauldron. So there was an obvious hook. Bertone was part of a larger Non accredited media tour and first on the agenda. So to get to Pininfarina, we had to take the Bertone tour. A potential waste of time, but it seemed a necessary evil.
When we arrive to take the tour, we were informed Pininfarina canceled. Damn this was the tie we needed, the bridge into our item into the games. Brent decided we would go anyway.
The drive out to the plant was a long one. One in which gave time for some reflection on our time spent in Italy so far. It hadn't been all bad. I considered myself lucky to have seen two hockey games, Germany and Finland. And I had been able to see the women win their gold medal. I figured if it was to end now, I had done more than I had expected. As we traveled through rual roads outside of Turin proper, into the foot hills of the Alps, I found myself making comparisons to my time 10 years ago in Bosnia. The mountains in the area were quite steep and rocky. Much like the mountains around Klujc. The homes and buildings here looked similar to those in the Bosnian countryside. The difference, the buildings and homes all had their roofs and were free from battle damage. (Photo: Murman 10 years ago near Klujc, Bosnia) We passed a particularly steep mountain, one that overlooked the whole of the Piedmonte lowlands, where the city of Turin is located. There was a building perched on the top. Our tour guide told us it was some 1000 years old. It was an Abby. There were still Monks and it had been used during the crusades as a stopping point and a resting point for pilgrims heading to the Holy land. Wow, that's history. Back in Vancouver, we hardly know ours. Heritage buildings in the lower mainland are barely fifty years old. (Photo: The Abby)It stood as a sentinel of time. It would remain long after the games had been forgotten and the grand venues build for the games were long gone. Very sobering.
We did our thing at the Bertone facility. It was dull TV, but there was a car museum. My son would have loved it. He loves sports cars. What teenage boy doesn't.
We left the tour with our driver and headed back to the City. We had an interview and a tour with Fiat. Surely this would save the item. Again fate would deal us cards that we did not expect. Fiat sent a PR flack that was unable to speak on camera and he told us it would be quite impossible to get a tour in the plant. God this story was dying fast and we had wasted 5 hours. We had to get back and edit and feed.
The PR guy was able to arrange for a senior spokes person to meet with us, but not until tomorrow. God could this get worse I thought. All of the work of the past couple of days got us a day ahead and now we were going to be back to square one. Shooting and cutting the same day. Damn.
Wednesday started early. We got our interview with Fiat. The guy was very good and animated. Made for TV. Still however he was unable to get us in the plant. There goes the visuals. He did get us footage of the assembly line from a company video on PAL. That presented some logistics problems, but it would be better than nothing. Brent took the tape to the Crack House and got it dubbed to NTSC and would take a taxi back to the Media Village. Alby and I went to get some exteriors of the Pininfarina Plant.
It took some time to get to Pininfarina as it was in the next town. When we got there, we saw a large fenced in compound. A guard house, security, the place looked like a prison. There was not much of a sign, really there was not much of a shot. I could believe it. The video gods didn't seem to want this story.
Now what happens next impressed me more than you can possible imagine. Alberto, goes up to the security guard house and asks if it would be possible to get into the plant. Now for those of you who deal with large companies, you know you just don't "show up" and expect to get any cooperation. But Alby managed to get the security person to call the PR office. The next thing I know we are IN. They too have a car Museum. I am told I can shoot as much as I want. But they had an Olympic torch on display in the museum. We at least it would help out visually. The next thing I know I am asked to follow into a board room and told that Mr. Francesco Lovo, head of the creative team for the Olympic Project would speak to us. There were drawings and prototype models in the board room and Mr. Lovo was the most animated and passionate about his creations. Jack Pot!!!
It made the item, it tied it all together. I conducted the interview myself. When the interview had concluded I asked if I could get a photo with the torch. I got one of Alby as well.
On the way home Alberto says to me, "Murray, it had been a dream, to hold the Olympic Torch."
This Olympic experience just had got a lot better.
Alberto holding the Olympic Torch with Mr. Lovo
The "Passion Lives Here" Olympic Flame as it burns before the closing ceremonies