As part of our Series “Inspiring Success Stories,” we enjoyed interviewing Dr. Olympia Gellini. In the world of film and cultural exchange, some individuals stand out as luminaries, casting their influence across continents and bridging the gaps between cultures.
Dr. Olympia Gellini is one such visionary. His journey from the grand opening night of the 50th Cannes Film Festival to the heart of Dubai and beyond is nothing short of remarkable. Today, we have the privilege of delving into his world and gaining insights into his extraordinary contributions.
Dr. Gellini’s unique story is a testament to the power of film, cultural diplomacy, and the enduring connections between diverse regions. Join us in this exclusive Q&A with Dr. Olympia Gellini.
It is a pleasure to have you here with us today, Dr. Gellini. Could you share with us the moment that marked the beginning of your remarkable journey in the world of film?
Dr. Gellini: Thanks, Marco; it is a pleasure to be here with you, my dear good friend. We indeed go way back together. It was a truly unforgettable moment. On May 7th, 1997, during the grand opening night of the 50th Cannes Film Festival, I was introduced by Jack Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America, to an illustrious audience that included French President Jacques Chirac and US Vice President Al Gore. Valenti’s words, “I am done with America; it is time for the Middle East,” set the stage for my journey. It was met with prolonged cheers and applause, igniting a fire within me to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East beyond its oil riches.
Yes, indeed, unforgettable and phenomenal memories. Your journey took you to Dubai, where you founded the Falcon International Film Festival. What inspired this endeavor, and how did it impact the Middle East film industry?
Dr. Gellini: The inspiration for the Falcon International Film Festival came from the encouragement of Jack Valenti and the support of dear friend Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor and members of royal families. The festival was born in Dubai, and it played a significant role in promoting Middle Eastern traditional cultures and modern-day life within the global film industry. It has inspired a new generation of Middle Eastern filmmakers to share their perspectives on an international stage.
During your visit to Dubai in 2023, you noticed the significant presence of Chinese people and businesses. Could you tell us about the brilliant idea that sprouted from this observation?
Dr. Gellini: My visit in 2023 was genuinely enlightening. Observing the flourishing presence of Chinese people and businesses in Dubai sparked a brilliant idea. Together with James X Pang and Nana, we envisioned introducing Arabic culture and products to China, mainly by forging a sister city partnership between Dubai and Qingdao.
What is the significance of establishing a Middle East cultural center in Qingdao as a sister city of Dubai?
Dr. Gellini: Establishing a Middle East cultural center in Qingdao, a sister city of Dubai, would serve as a beacon of cultural diplomacy. It would strengthen the bonds of friendship and understanding between the Middle East and China, providing a space for cross-cultural dialogue, celebration, and appreciation. This center would promote the beauty, diversity, and rich heritage of the Middle East, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.
Dr. Gellini, please share more about your contributions to filmmaking and your efforts in promoting family-oriented entertainment with our global readers.
Dr. Gellini: I have had the privilege of founding the World Film Institute, the Olympia Awards, and the Family Film Awards. My efforts have been recognized globally, and I’ve received numerous awards for my directorial work. I’m a staunch advocate of family-oriented entertainment and have set standards in the film industry by promoting wholesome family films and establishing a film rating system.
Could you share the World Film Institute’s (WFI) mission and its impact on the film industry?
Dr. Gellini: The World Film Institute is a non-profit organization I established and is dedicated to promoting equality in the film industry concerning race, gender, and ethnicity. Our mission is to advance the film industry globally and recognize excellence in the field. Each year, millions of viewers tune in to CBS for the prestigious Family Film Award presentation, totaling over 56 million viewers in the USA alone.
Moving on to the Olympia Awards City of Lights project. Can you tell us about the Olympia Awards City of Light and its significance in the world of cultural arts?
Dr. Gellini: The Olympia Awards City of Light is a groundbreaking project dedicated to promoting the arts and cultures worldwide. Covering an expansive 400 acres, it is set to be the largest and most comprehensive cultural arts project of the century.
The project is more than just a city; it’s part of a global network of arts colleges and “eco-friendly smart cities of the future.” The World Film Institute is overseeing this remarkable project, and it has garnered support from the Chinese government, leading to the opening of new offices in Shanghai, Ximen, and Beijing. This visionary endeavor is expected to create over 100,000 new jobs and significantly boost the Chinese economy.
Could you elaborate on the collaborative efforts underway to expand the Olympia Awards City of Light project globally?
Dr. Gellini: Certainly, the Olympia Awards City of Light project is a collaborative effort on an unprecedented scale. It involves the participation of governments worldwide, major television networks, and film studios from both the United States and China.
Plans include the establishment of 17 additional offices in various Chinese provinces and the inclusion of offices for international television networks, art institutions, and film industry officials within each City of Light complex. These complexes are set to include twelve arts educational facilities/colleges, public theme parks, and business areas.
What is the core purpose of the Olympia Awards City of Light project, and how will it reflect the diversity of international cultures?
Dr. Gellini: The core purpose of the Olympia Awards City of Light is to promote humanities and arts from nations around the globe. Each college within the city will reflect the culture, arts, and architectural features of its respective sponsoring international cultures. Individual countries will design expressions of arts and sciences, highlighting their unique exhibitions. This means that when you enter the city, you’ll experience a vibrant tapestry of artistic expressions, each with its style, originating from various countries like Israel, India, Iran, Pakistan, and many more.
Please tell us about the educational aspect of the Olympia Awards City of Light and its role in promoting cultural exchange.
Dr. Gellini: Certainly, the Olympia Awards City of Light project includes twelve universities where twelve International Olympian cultural arts are taught. These arts encompass various fields, including dancing, painting, sculpture, literature, theater, film, martial arts, humanities, culinary arts, fashion and design, technologies and science, and special needs. By providing comprehensive arts education, this initiative not only fosters appreciation for various art forms but also enhances cultural exchange, uniting artists and enthusiasts from around the world.
The Olympia Arts Awards event brings together many artists and participants worldwide. Can you share more about the scale and significance of this event regarding global participation?
Dr. Gellini: The Olympia Arts Awards is indeed a grand event, and its scale reflects its significance in promoting global unity through art. With 225 talented artists representing 15 different arts categories, it showcases the best of each country’s artistic talent. Additionally, the participation of 5500 museum owners from 220 countries underscores its international appeal.
This diverse participation highlights the event’s role as a platform for fostering respect, love, and mutual understanding among artists and participants on a global scale.
How do you envision the role of international television networks, studios, and theme park services in the Olympia Awards City of Light project?
Dr. Gellini: International television networks, studios, and theme park services are integral to the Olympia Awards City of Light project. These entities, including major studios like NBC, CBS, FOX, and Paramount, will have local offices in Pacific Asian nations, such as Singapore, Korea, and the Philippines. Integrating art, entertainment, and tourism services will provide visitors with various experiences. The City of Light aims to captivate audiences with multiple exhibits and activities under the umbrella of world cultures and arts.
Dr. Gellini, the Olympia Arts Awards emphasizes unity and mutual respect among artists. How does this global celebration go beyond competition to foster these ideals?
Dr. Gellini: The Olympia Arts Awards is truly a remarkable platform-transforming competition. We achieve unity and mutual respect by hosting the event every three years in a different country, offering artists a chance to meet and interact globally. This face-to-face interaction fosters connections, encourages collaboration, and promotes cultural exchange, which strengthens the bonds between nations through the universal language of art.
How does the Olympia Awards City of Light project contribute to global unity and cultural appreciation?
Dr. Gellini: The Olympia Awards City of Light is a remarkable gift to the people of the world, serving as the most significant international human endeavor in history. It fosters global unity, mutual respect, and cultural appreciation by providing a platform for people from diverse backgrounds to unite, share their art, and learn from one another. By offering a glimpse into the culture and artistry of various nations, it encourages love, understanding, and respect, strengthening the bonds between nations and peoples.
The Olympia Awards City of Light project is a monumental endeavor that promises to redefine the world of cultural arts and education. It stands as a beacon of unity, mutual understanding, and respect among nations. As we anticipate the realization of this remarkable initiative, we look forward to a future where cultures from around the world can come together, share their beauty, and promote the values of love and appreciation for all. Dr. Olympia Gellini’s vision has the potential to create a harmonious world where art and culture serve as bridges to connect us all.
How can our global readers keep up with you on social media or a website?
Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Gellini. This was indeed inspirational! We wish you continued global success.
Dr. Gellini: The pleasure is all mine, my dear friend. Thank you.
Dr. Olympia Gellini’s contributions to the world of film and cultural exchange are nothing short of extraordinary. His journey from Cannes to Dubai and his vision for connecting China and the Middle East through a cultural center highlight his unwavering commitment to promoting unity and understanding among diverse cultures. As an entertainment icon, he continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of film, cultural diplomacy, and global unity.