By David Gold

Marco Balich_head_and_shouldersApril 1 - Renowned Italian events and ceremonies producer Marco Balich (pictured), who is working with Rio 2016, has been snapped up as the creative director in charge of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of this summer's European Championships in Ukraine and Poland.

The Opening Ceremony of the 16-team tournament is due to take place on June 8 at Warsaw's national stadium prior to hosts Poland taking to the field against Greece in the opening game.

The Closing Ceremony will be on July 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, the day of the final.

More than 800 volunteers will be involved in the two ceremonies with the recruitment process already underway for dancers, gymnasts, actors and acrobats.

UEFA – European football's governing body – appointed Balich's award-winning Filmmaster Events/Filmmaster Group to create and direct the spectacle of the ceremonies.

Together with events and brand experience agency SRCOM, Filmmaster Events/Filmmaster Group – a major international events and ceremonies producer in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – will also produce and choreograph the Olympic Games ceremonies at Rio 2016, beginning with the flag handover from London 2012.

Balich (pictured top) was responsible for the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Opening and Closing ceremonies.

Salt Lake_City_2002_handover
The 49-year-old also coordinated the flag handover at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Carnival of Venice, the Mexico City 2010 Bicentennial ceremonies, the opening ceremony of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games (pictured above) and, in the football arena, the 75th anniversary celebrations of leading Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk and the inauguration of Italian giants Juventus' new stadium in Turin.

Filmmaster has more than 3,000 productions to its name, and has won several awards, including for its spectacular production of the opening celebrations in honour of the new $400 million (£250 million/€300 million) Shakhtar Donetsk Donbass Arena, a 51,500-capacity stadium that will stage matches during Euro 2012.

The organisation was also honoured for its work on the Turin 2006 opening ceremony; the stunning spectacle opened with gold medal-winning Italian gymnast Yuri Chechi striking an anvil and finished with a show-stopping performance from much-loved late tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

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