EXCLUSIVE: Discovery and Abramorama are teaming for a virtual theatrical and broadcast rollout of Apocalypse ‘45, a documentary from Erik Nelson that recounts the harrowing end of World War II through the eyes of 24 men who lived through the events and using never-before-seen footage. The documentary will get a two-week exclusive virtual cinema run beginning August 14, leading into the the film’s Labor Day Weekend broadcast on Discovery Channel.
The timing coincides with the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on August 15, when the Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies, with the National WW II Museum in New Orleans and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York among those participating in screening events. An invite-only premiere is set for Thursday.
Nelson, a longtime collaborator of Werner Herzog (their credits together include the 2005 archival doc Grizzly Man, along with Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Into the Abyss and Encounters at the End of the World) has followed up his previous archival feature The Cold Blue with this doc, for which the National Archives allowed previously denied access to more than 700 reels of footage, covering the harrowing expanse of the final months of WWII in the Pacific that culminated in the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The footage, which includes film shot by director John Ford capturing the ruins of the Pacific Fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor, has been digitally restored in 4K and in color.
Interviews with the two dozen men who lived through the events make up the film’s narration, guiding viewers from the flag-raising at Iwo Jima in February 1945, Okinawa in April, the New Mexico desert bomb tests in July and the air war over Japan in the summer.
Check out the trailer here:
“This was an important time in our nation’s history, and it is vital that we never forget the sacrifices of the people who lived through it,” said Nancy Daniels, Chief Brand Officer at Discovery and Factual. “Erik’s documentary delivers their stories with stunning, never-before-seen footage and raw emotion. With the 75th anniversary, it is the perfect opportunity to bring this timely film to Discovery audiences in multiple ways.”
Said Abramorama principals Richard Abramowitz and Karol Martesko-Fenster: “We are honored to be partnering with Discovery to release Erik’s astonishing film to mark this momentous time in our history. Now more than ever we need the kind of heroes who understand the consequences of their actions.”
Apocalypse 45 is produced by Peter Hankoff and Elisabeth M. Hartjens, with Clark Bunting, Daniels, Dave Harding and Howard Swartz executive producers.
Here’s the poster: