WOULD YOU LOVE ME!
21
Film director Felix Mikhailov spent three years showing Russia to the whole world.
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Palace in St Petersburg, Mikhailov went on to direct ceremonial duties at the Confederations Cup and then the World Cup, where a major performance featuring the famous Russian song "Kalinka" was included in the closing ceremony. So captivating was the recital that it seemed everyone in the stands sung along with it, just like the 1 billion people watching the ceremony
on TV.
Though the heavens
opened at the World Cup
closing ceremony,
the heavy rain only made
the golden confetti strewn
across the pitch at the
Luzhniki Stadium
SPARKLE EVEN MORE.
he FIFA World Cup set records not only in terms of football. The director and producer of Channel One, Felix Mikhailov, and his team became the first artistic collective that FIFA entrusted with directing all of the formal ceremonies. Starting with the preliminary draw at the Konstantinovsky
FELIX MIKHAILOV:
"The 2018 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony included all the material we had performed at the other events that we'd hosted over the previous three years. From the visual standpoint, the idea was to blend them into a unified whole, starting from the preliminary draw when we greeted everyone in St Petersburg.
"The closing ceremony took at least 12 to 18 months to prepare. However, we had an opportunity to rehearse it for exactly a month while the World Cup itself was unfolding and we had access to the pitch. We realised that it had to be something very special. That was why, despite learning the names of the performers at a relatively early stage, we deliberately held some things back. For instance, we tried to avoid exploiting the fan element – though we touched upon it slightly during the FIFA Confederations Cup draw in Kazan.

"When it became clear that people at the stadiums, including foreigners, had been singing 'Kalinka', we decided that it would mark the grand finale. We gathered together everything to do with the song over the previous month: the Icelanders and Brazilians who sang our national song in Red Square, the French who belted it out on the metro. We put together a style originating from that. And when we were informed that we could use Ronaldinho at the ceremony, we had the idea of combining him with 'Kalinka' and giving it a fan atmosphere.
THE FIFA
WORLD CUP
TROPHY
was brought
into the arena
by Natalia Vodianova
and 2014 world
champion
Philipp Lahm
"No doubt everybody remembers the huge banners in the stands. We tried to feature the fans of the national teams that reached the quarter-finals. We chose the characters for our banners based first and foremost on their emotions. And we also tried to include very different kinds of people: men and women, children and adults, those in raptures and those wearing national costumes. We wanted to amplify the emotions of the people in the stands.

"Naturally, there were some issues. For instance, we used special screens that required a maddeningly complex level of collaboration. If the ceremony had been delayed by a split second, everything would have been totally out of sync. We spent several months testing this system until it was thoroughly fool-proof. And the result was perfect. For security reasons, we devised ways of working without using the Wi-Fi connection at the stadiums for transmitting visual content; and we abandoned the usual portable radio transmitters so that those taking part in the performance on the pitch would not have to carry excess equipment.

"But the most difficult assignment for ceremonies held on the pitch was to ensure that the grass was protected since the players would be using it straight after us, both for the opening match and the final. In this respect, we had a limited number of rehearsals and tried to exert minimum pressure on every piece of equipment. Everything, including the choreography, was designed in such a way that all movement was directed upwards rather than downwards in order to preserve the pitch.

"Am I satisfied with the way it all went? To be honest, I've not had a single project in my life that I'd consider to have been executed to perfection. There are always factors that could have been improved. But in this case, I'm content with the result. It is really close to what I would consider perfect."
Aida Garifullina
and 2002 world champion Ronaldinho teamed up
to perform the
KALINKA-MALINKA
song at the closing
ceremony, one
of the highlights
of the show
he FIFA World Cup set records not only in terms of football. The director and producer of Channel One, Felix Mikhailov, and his team became the first artistic collective that FIFA entrusted with directing all of the formal ceremonies. Starting with the preliminary draw at the Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg, Mikhailov went on to direct ceremonial duties at the Confederations Cup and then the World Cup, where a major performance featuring the famous Russian song "Kalinka" was included in the closing ceremony. So captivating was the recital that it seemed everyone in the stands sung along with it, just like the 1 billion people watching the ceremony
on TV.
The FIFA World Cup set records not only in terms of football. The director and producer of Channel One, Felix Mikhailov, and his team became the first artistic collective that FIFA entrusted with directing all of the formal ceremonies. Starting with the preliminary draw at the Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg, Mikhailov went on to direct ceremonial duties at the Confederations Cup and then the World Cup, where a major performance featuring the famous Russian song "Kalinka" was included in the closing ceremony. So captivating was the recital that it seemed everyone in the stands sung along with it, just like the 1 billion people watching the ceremony
on TV.
Though the heavens opened at the World Cup closing ceremony, the heavy rain only made the golden confetti strewn across the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium SPARKLE EVEN MORE.
THE FIFA WORLD CUP TROPHY was brought into the arena by Natalia Vodianova and 2014 world champion Philipp Lahm
Aida Garifullina and 2002 world champion Ronaldinho teamed up to perform the KALINKA-MALINKA song at the closing ceremony, one of the highlights of the show