February 17, 2020

SCREEN | Nick Kroll Follows His 'Olympic Dreams'

"You made me feel so warm."
Nick Kroll Alexi Pappas Jeremy Teicher | Olympic Dreams

Shot completely on location inside the Athletes Village without a crew during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, married filmmaking couple Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas have basically made a semi-improvised hangout movie set in an ultra-exclusive setting and location. With unprecedented access from the IOC through an artist-in-residence grant, Olympic Dreams artfully captures the spirit and in-between moments of the games.

Starring comedian Nick Kroll as a mild-mannered volunteer dentist (Eza) from New Jersey and Pappas (Penelope), an actual Greek-American Olympian in long-distance running who competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the oddball pairing make for a compelling vaguely romantic duo. Both lost souls, Pappas offers a very naturalistic performance as a mousy cross-country skier unsure of her future after competition while Kroll is deft yet understatedly charming as virtually the only non-athlete or actual actor in the entire film.

Reminiscent of Lost in Translation, the heartfelt story takes an introspective approach to its very loose storytelling. Athletes and various other Olympics related people weave in and out of the film including wandering attendees looking for direction. It's a special achievement whose enjoyment largely depends on your fascination or curiousity about the inner-workings of the Olympics as an event.

As a filmmaking experience, Olympic Dreams is an interesting exercise in its surroundings and environment more so than any sort of loose narrative filmmaking. Kroll, Pappas, and Teicher have certainly made a wistful time capsule shot in one of the more unique locations ever captured. It recreates what it feels like to be up close and personal at the games as both a participant and onlooker.

Olympic Dreams is available on various digital platforms and video on demand.


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