Jackson, Peter: New WWI Docu to Mark Centennial

Peter Jackson (Oscar winner of “The Lord of the Rings”) is making a new documentary about World War I to mark the centennial of the war’s end, using archives of the BBC and London’s Imperial War Museum.

The project will have a U.K.-wide release as part of the BFI London Film Fest in the fall.

Historical footage, much of which new, has been restored and hand-colorized. Jackson said the film will bring to life the real stories of people who lived through the 1914-18 conflict, billed as the “war to end all wars.”

The 2D and 3D film is part of official program of cultural events marking the centenary of the armistice, organized under the banner “14-18 NOW” and supported by British lottery funding, the Arts Council, and department of culture.

He said the Imperial War Museum approached him a couple of years ago to see what could be done with their archive footage and how it could be presented in a way not done before.

“It is not the usual film you would expect on the First World War. We’re making a film that shows this incredible footage in which the faces of the men just jump out at you,” Jackson said. “It’s the people that come to life in this film.”

The producers sifted through numerous interviews with veterans in order to focus on the personal experiences. “We have made a movie which shows the experience of what it was like to fight in this war, not strategy battles,” said Jackson.

The film will also be given to every secondary school in Britain, with a key aim of the project to help younger generations understand the events of a century ago.

BBC content chief Charlotte Moore said it would “bring unheard voices from a hundred years ago to life for a whole new generation to experience.”