A new World War I documentary by Oscar-winning Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit filmmaker Peter Jackson has been newly-titled ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ and will premiere at British film institute's London Film Festival on 16th October. The film will be simultaneously screened, in 2D and 3D, to cinemas and special venues across the UK. Peter Jackson will further participate in a post-screening Q&A.
The new WW1 documentary has been created exclusively with original, archive footage from the Imperial War Museums’ film archive and audio from BBC archives. It will Include never-before-seen First World War archival footage transformed with the finest digital technology: in full 3D, hand-colourised, and with original audio.
The film will be broadcast on BBC One following the premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. The BBC will accompany the film with a ‘making-of’ documentary with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with Peter Jackson and an in-depth look at the creative and technical process behind the work.
Jackson said: "I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more - rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film."
He said he used "computer power to erase the technical limitations" of such old footage, adding that we can now "see and hear the Great War as they experienced it".
The footage is accompanied by the voices of war veterans.
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival artistic director, said: "A hundred years after the First World War, we know much about the horrific impact of this conflict on its soldiers, especially the brutal scale of the casualties which decimated a generation, but Peter's film offers new understanding of the human experience of life at the front.
"Using original audio and moving image archive, he allows the soldiers to tell their own stories. The work his team have done on the materials, adding colour and converting to 3D, is painstaking and beautiful. It makes these people from 100 years ago seem so alive and gives an uncanny sense the footage was shot recently."
The film was originally announced in January as part of a series of events announced by arts organisation 14-18 NOW.