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Director Steven Spielberg speaks to the audience at the world premiere of his film 'War of the Worlds' in Tokyo, June 13, 2005. Spielberg will help design the opening and closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara) ((AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara))

Film directors Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou will join forces to design the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games announced Sunday the American filmmaker will serve as an artistic consultant to the ceremonies team led by Zhang Yimou.

The 54-year-old Chinese director, best known for films such as Raise The Red Lantern, Hero and House of Flying Daggers, said he felt "very honoured."

"I make a solemn promise to the Chinese people I will complete the task beautifully and successfully."

Spielberg, who attended the announcement in Beijing, hinted at what viewers might expect. "Through the visual arts, the art of celebration of life, we are dedicated to making this the most emotional opening ceremony ever."

The American director's last film, Munich, focused on the killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. But he said his focus would be very different on this project.

"Our one goal is to give the world a taste of peace, friendship and understanding."

The organizing committee received 409 proposals for the opening ceremony. Elements and personnel from the best five teams have been commissioned to produce the event.

"The success of a high-level Olympic Games ... depends on the quality of the opening ceremony," said the committee's president, Liu Qi.

"We expect to leave an excellent impression on the athletes and guests from all over the world and billions of TV audiences by staging a fantastic opening ceremony of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games."

The Beijing Olympics launch on Aug. 8, 2008.