Best known for his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, Peter Jackson is turning his efforts to a much more harrowing real-world project: a documentary of the lives of soldiers fighting in World War I. One hundred years after the great conflict, which reached an armistice in early November 1918, Jackson’s collaboration will restore archival historical footage to near high-definition standards, complete with hand-colorized updates. The production team also sifted through hundreds of hours of WWI veterans that were recorded over the decades in order to get a better look at life on the ground as a soldier in this conflict.
Jackson’s WingNut Films banner is producing, with archival material provided by the BBC and London’s Imperial War Museum. The currently untitled documentary will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival this fall. Trafalgar Releasing will also coordinate a U.K.-wide release of the 2D/3D film, which will also be distributed to Britain’s secondary schools. The film is part of the World War I centenary’s official program of cultural events known as “14-18 NOW”, funded by contributions from the British lottery, the government’s department of culture, and the Arts Council.
Here’s Jackson explaining the collaboration and the project in his own words (via Yahoo!):
Peter Jackson, best known for directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is developing a new film using original footage from Imperial War Museums’ extensive archive, much of it previously unseen, alongside BBC interviews with servicemen who fought in the conflict.
The film will be screened in cinemas and schools across the UK, and broadcast on BBC One; further details of theatrical distribution will be announced later this year at 1418NOW.
Here’s what Jackson had to say about the project, in case you missed it:
“We’re making a film [that 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. It’s the people that come to life in this film.”
History aside, the technological achievements attained in pulling this project off are astounding, and we can’t wait to see more.