A new World War I documentary by Oscar winning Lord Of The Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson has been given a title and confirmed to unspool in its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. They Shall Not Grow Old will screen as a Special Presentation on October 16 at BFI Southbank and also receive simultaneous 2D and 3D showings in cinemas and special venues across the UK courtesy of Trafalgar Releasing and BFI LFF. Jackson will further participate in a post-screening Q&A. The then-untitled project was originally announced in January; check out a video of Jackson’s vision for the film below.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts program for the First World War centenary, and Imperial War Museums, They Shall Not Grow Old was created with original footage from Imperial War Museums’ film archive and audio from the BBC archives. Jackson combines his personal fascination with the period and his directorial skills to bring WWI to life in a way never before seen. The doc employs the voices of veterans together with original archival footage to bring to life the reality of war on the front line for a whole new generation. Footage has been colorized, converted to 3D and transformed with modern production techniques.
Jackson says, “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. By using our computing power to erase the technical limitations of 100 year cinema, we can see and hear the Great War as they experienced it.”
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Artistic Director says, “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 color 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. It’s an honor to host the World Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.”
Audiences and film fans across the country will also be able to submit questions via Twitter to Jackson in advance of the live Q&A.
They Shall Not Grow Old is directed by Jackson who produces with Clare Olssen; editor is Jabez Olssen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Hobbit franchise). Jackson’s WingNut Films produces with House Productions exec producing.
The London Film Fest runs from October 10-21.