Gran Turismo's Amsterdam Movie Premiere Was Swanky and Surreal

Gran Turismo’s Amsterdam Film Premiere Used to be Swanky and Surreal

Photographer Damon Rigter | rigter.creatives

The Gran Turismo movie, which chronicles the tale of Jann Mardenborough and his time in GT Academy, had its premiere in Amsterdam before the most recent Gran Turismo World Series live event got underway there.

One of the more remarkable and one-of-a-kind occasions in the Gran Turismo brand’s history, the premiere took place in the renowned Pathé Tuschinski theater in the center of Amsterdam.

Invited guests and observers spilled out into the street in front of the Tuschinski as police and security tried their best to keep the masses under control, with a red carpet and an army of photographers crowding the pavement. The SAG-AFTRA strike prevented the movie’s performers from attending, but there were still plenty of VIPs in attendance.

Kazunori Yamauchi and Jann Mardenborough.
NL Beeld / David Heukers

Naturally, Jann Mardenborough and Kazunori Yamauchi were the most notable celebrities present, but I was pleasantly delighted to see that other GT Academy champions had also been invited. It was a rare chance for some of the former champions to reunite, including Lucas Ordoez, the original 2008 champion, Jordan Tresson, Florian Strauss, and Ricardo Sanchez, the 2014 champion.

Kazunori Yamauchi, Jann Mardenborough, Jordi van den Bussche, and GT Academy Champions
NL Beeld / David Heukers

The remaining guests were, to put it mildly, eccentric.

Hermen Hulst, the president of PlayStation Studios, and Formula E champion and former F1 driver Nyck de Vries were notable attendees.

Jarno Opmeer, the 2021 F1 Esports Champion, was another unexpected participant. He actually competed in a race against Jann Mardenborough using some of the Gran Turismo 7 driving simulators on hand at the event, though it is unclear who prevailed. Numerous Dutch racing drivers, social media influencers, and reality TV stars were among the other attendees.

The most unexpected guests were none other than Mr. and Mrs. Yamauchi, who are among the most devoted Gran Turismo players and followers.

The Gran Turismo founder Kazunori Yamauchi’s parents made their first public appearance at a significant event and got to experience the full red carpet treatment while they cheered on their son.

Kazunori Yamauchi with his father and mother
Clive Rose – Gran Turismo/Gran Turismo via Getty Images

Kazunori’s parents hung paper on the walls of their house for him to draw on as a child, which, despite the fact that it is rarely addressed, had a big impact on sparking his interest and fostering his creativity.

In order to gather insects, Kazunori would go into the woods next to his parents’ house, as detailed in KAZ: Pushing the Virtual Divide. On lengthy road trips, he would go along with his father, who was a traveling salesman. This exposed him to a variety of cars and sparked an interest that would last the rest of his life. I had the great distinction of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Yamauchi, and I will always treasure that encounter.

A Q&A session with Kazunori, Jann, and the present GT Academy champions was held in the theater after the crowd had mingled in the foyer, which featured a DJ, driving rigs, cupcakes with Gran Turismo branding, and champagne.

Photo by Roger Sieber

Kazunori repeated that “Sim-Racing” was Gran Turismo’s original working title throughout his comments. Additionally, he said that as he observed the development of GT Academy, he learned that “humans are incredible, and by creating these games I had the opportunity to meet all these incredible people.” He also learned that video games are a form of art that are not complete until a player actually plays them.

Kazunori continued by saying that since the GT World Series is built on esports, it is likely that GT Academy won’t be back in the future. “The first era, in my opinion, began with GT Academy, which took place 15 years ago and continued for 10 years. I think of the Gran Turismo World Series that we are currently running as the second era of Gran Turismo competition,” he said.

Following the showing, people spoke and shared their opinions about the film in the lobby while enjoying more refreshments. Like the critical response, audience reactions were divided, with most admiring the cinematography and visual effects but being let down by the story’s omissions and inaccuracies.

Naturally, the film’s artistic license and frequent usage of the same real-world tracks and circuits, such as the Hungaroring serving as both Silverstone and Circuit de la Sarthe, infuriated ardent motorsport aficionados. Watch the complete review from GTPlanet below for additional information.

What happened at the Pathé Tuschinski was unlike anything I have ever witnessed in my 22 years following the brand.

The GT Academy legends from decades past hit the stage in front of the young stars of the GT World Series, creating a blend of old and modern. Kazunori Yamauchi’s parents met with reality TV stars and Formula 1 drivers, creating a bridge between nostalgia and the future as the GT brand expands beyond of the gaming and automotive industries and into popular culture.

Although we are unsure of the long-term effects of the movie’s release on the game or the franchise, for one night in August in Amsterdam, it gave us a new appreciation for how far Gran Turismo has come and how far it may go.

See more articles on Gran Turismo Movie, Jann Mardenborough, and Kazunori Yamauchi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *