'Brainpower', starring Tyler Hamilton, the Olympic TT champ; Tugboat, his recently deceased dog, and a bunch of Cervelo bikes, is due to be released at the end of 2004 and will be 40-minutes of pure pleasure for Tour fans.
It's in 70mm IMAX format but, just as at the recent Tyler Hamilton Foundation dinner in the US, there's a preview film available in standard formats. And this shortie will be screened at Cycle 2004. For some tarmac-tarts this will be the single most important reason to get down to the show. 'Brainpower' is said to contain some of the best ever footage shot at a Tour de France.
Despite a cracked clavicle, Tyler Hamilton came fourth in the 2003 Tour de France, His pain suppression and teeth-grinding courage was filmed for by the mammoth IMAX cameras.
'Brainpower' is not a film about the Tour itself, it's an exploration of how the brain works, and specifically, how the brain deals with pain, stress, and tactics. The film's director, Bayley Silleck, said:
"We chose the Tour de France to show how the human brain works because behind every great athlete is a great mind."
And these great minds are also great at blocking pain. Tyler Hamilton was always going to be the featured rider but when he broke his collarbone in a pile-up on the first stage, the movie-makers thought they would have to pack-up and go home. Hamilton decided to ride on; the bulky IMAX cameras continued to roll.
"The movie is about the human brain, but we chose the Tour as a backdrop because it has all the elements," said Silleck
"It's about the human mind, those intangible things we call willpower. How athletes make the difference between success and failure."
Sillick believes he's got some of the best-ever film footage of the Tour, thanks to the four IMAX cameras, one of which was remote-controlled and suspended from a helicopter.
In post-production work, race images were digitally-spliced with computer-generated graphics to illustrate the brain at work during the action of the Tour.
These graphics were created by Movida/Trix, the digital studio of nWave Pictures of Greenwich, CT, which is handling the IMAX distribution rights.
'Brainpower' is produced by the Office of New Ventures of Partners HealthCare, Inc., Boston, a specialist in neuroscience, with extra funding from the National Science Foundation of the US. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organisation founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Mark Katz, president of nWave Pictures Distribution, told BikeBiz.com that 'Brainpower' will be released in three 70mm IMAX formats as well as a 15-minute 3D version that will be distributed by nWave to specialty film markets and high definition video markets.
"The 40 minute large format film will be available in all 70mm film formats, but primarily in 15/70, 8/70 and 10/70. There will also be a shorter version in Digital 3D. All versions are scheduled for release in the fall of 2004. We hope the majority of giant screen theatres worldwide will eventually license the film," said Katz.