The idea of making a film about Jesse Owens' exceptional adventure was born in 1991, when Luc Dayan discovered incidentally the story of this athlete. He was then filming with an ultra-slow motion camera for Canal+ the great Carl Lewis during the athletics meeting in Villeneuve d'Ascq. The media compared him and Jesse Owens to their 4 Olympic gold medals in the same disciplines (100m/200m/Length and 4x100m).
What immediately interested Luc Dayan was to understand how an African American had found himself in Berlin in 1936, and what had went wrong in the Nazi propaganda to make it possible. Luc found it in a book he got at the time. He read the little story in the shadow of the big one and promised to make a film of it one day...
Then, in 1996, at the occasion of Atlanta’s OG (60 years after Berlin’s OG), Luc produced “Tribute to Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis” a 60 seconds short film awarded several times.
Several years later, in 2011, he decided to finally get down to work on this feature film project, for which he immediately found the title, "RACE". Thanks to Jean-Charles Lévy and Nicolas Manuel, whose job it is to produce independent films in English, and the financial support of many friends who are passionate about sports, Luc managed to complete the film's budget (26 Million Euros), as part of a German-Canadian co-production.
It is important to specify that this film does not trace the life of Jesse Owens. It begans when Owens returned to Ohio University and met coach Larry Snyder (who prepared him for the 1936 Berlin Olympics) and ends shortly after the Berlin Olympics. The facts described are all consistent with historical truth. Jesse Owens' family was involved in the production from the very beginning.
It is a film about Sport in which Jesse Owens is certainly the hero, but which speaks about efforts, friendship, luck, compromises, racism, manipulations, even corruptions, themes which are always topical nowadays.
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