Director Peter Jackson to create World War One film

Peter Jackson

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Director Peter Jackson is creating a new 3D film, using archive footage captured during World War One.

The images are being digitally restored and will be hand-colourised and accompanied by original audio.

The Oscar-winner has restored the 100-year-old footage – some of which has never been seen before – from the Imperial War Museum’s archive.

It will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival before being broadcast on BBC One on 11 November, Armistice Day.

‘People come to life’

The Academy Award-winning director, famed for his adaptations of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, spent months in the Imperial War Museum – which jointly commissioned the film – watching original World War One footage.

There, Jackson discovered stories and perspectives, which he described as “surprising”.

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Peter Jackson has restored 100-year-old footage, some of which has never been seen before

He said the transformed footage is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen before”, adding: “The faces of the men just jump out at you. It’s the faces, it’s the people, that come to life in this film.

“It’s the human beings that were actually there, that were thrust into this extraordinary situation that defined their lives.”

The footage is coupled with original sound from the BBC archives.

Jackson said he wanted to make a “personal contribution to the commemoration” of the war.

He said: “We’ve made a movie to show the experience of what it was like to fight in this war. The human experience of being in the war.

“A hundred years later we have made up our own minds of what the First World War was like.

“But I think it’s going to be very surprising when you listen to the voices of the men that fought the war and were there. What they had to eat, how they slept at night, how they coped with the fear.

“And that combined with these incredibly sharp images… it’s going to be quite a surprising film.”

Year of History

The film has been commissioned as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the World War One centenary.

It comes as the BBC announces that 2018 will be a major ‘Year of History’ with a range of content across television, radio and online to mark the centenary of 1918.

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Ewan McGregor and Colin McGregor in front of a Typhoon as part of the BBC’s Year of History

Highlights include:

  • New drama documentary The Last Hundred Days, looking at the closing few turbulent months of World War One
  • Dan Snow exploring the devastating consequences of shell shock during World War One
  • How Women Won The Vote, in which Lucy Worsley will tell the story of how universal suffrage was achieved in 1918
  • Ewan and Colin McGregor taking to the skies in some of the world’s most iconic planes to celebrate 100 years of the RAF
  • The Pankhurst Anthem – a choral work composed by Lucy Pankhurst with text by Helen Pankhurst based on words by her great grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst.

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Danny Boyle thrilled audiences in 2012 with his inventive opening ceremony

The 2018 events will culminate on Armistice Day with a new work created by director Danny Boyle, the mastermind behind the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Details are yet to be announced, but it will invite people across the UK to take part.

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “We see 2018 as our chance to inspire a new generation with extraordinary stories of courage and sacrifice.

“Over the last three years, events staged by 14-18 NOW, and programming broadcast on the BBC, have moved us in our millions and I hope through our Year of History, we can galvanise even more people.”

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