Don Mischer, who will executive produce this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, has been entrusted with the duty of entertaining a mammoth audience at a July 1 spectacle celebrating Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule.
As exec producer of “Hong Kong ’97 Spectacular,” Mischer finds himself at the helm of a historic event with an expected attendance of 4 million and an audience of millions more on TV throughout Asia and Europe.
While the show will be presented a day after the official government hand-over of Hong Kong to China by Britain at midnight June 30, it’s not government-sponsored and has no public financial support, according to Mischer.
Funding for the event was put up by a group of Hong Kong businessmen who call themselves the Better Hong Kong Foundation. Motivation purportedly was to give a “gift to the people of Hong Kong,” to quote event sponsors.
“This is a completely privately funded production,” Mischer said. “It’s not about governments, boundaries or politics. It’s about the people, the tradition, and the spirit of the city.”
For the changing of the Hong Kong guard, Mischer and his production company will stage a larger-than-life extravaganza on the waters of Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. It’s being billed as the largest outdoor event ever staged on the Asian continent, with a three-mile-long “playing area” entirely on water.
It won’t be difficult to catch a glimpse of the festivities for miles around, Mischer assured.
“To have any impact at all, our scenic elements must be a minimum of six or seven stories high,” he said. “Some will be as high as 12 stories above the water in the harbor.”
There will be lasers, fountains, fireworks and a “River of Life” made up of 30 90-foot barges decorated with images of Chinese tradition, culture and symbols of good fortune.
David Goldberg, who produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympics, serves as producer of “Hong Kong ’97 Spectacular.” Adam Bezark, who specializes in creating high-tech special events and attractions, will direct.