Peter jackson new WW1 film

Peter Jackson's WWI Archive Footage Film To Premiere Across UK

His team combed through 600 hours of archive footage to show the perspective of the people that were actually there 100 years ago.

Peter jackson new WW1 film

Some of the footage has never been seen before (Picture: PA). 

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has swapped fantasy for history in his new 3D film about the First World War.

The Oscar-winning director, famous for bringing Lord Of The Rings to the silver screen, and his team have restored and painstakingly hand-colourised 100-year-old footage for the movie. 

The film, called 'They Shall Grow Not Old', is part of a series of events announced by arts organisation 14-18 NOW and is due to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

They Shall Not Grow Old
They Shall Not Grow Old
A before and after of the transformed footage (Picture: WingNut Films with Peter Jackson)

Mr Jackson said that he wanted to transform the footage to "beyond anything we’ve ever seen before". He added:

"We started to do some experiments and I was honestly stunned by the results we were getting.

"We all know what First World War footage looks like. It's sped up, it's fast, like Charlie Chaplin, grainy, jumpy, scratchy, and it immediately blocks you from actually connecting with the events on screen."

"But the results are absolutely unbelievable... This footage looks like it was shot in the last week or two, with high-definition cameras. It's so sharp and clear now."

'The Hobbit' filmmaker said: "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."

They Shall Not Grow Old
The original image vs the colourised artistic rendition (Picture: WingNut Films with Peter Jackson)

Mr Jackson and his team combed through approximately 600 hours of audio interviews with veterans, found in the BBC archives from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The interviews illustrate not only the military strategy and knowledge but also the human experience of war.

The filmmaker said that the film will give "a sense of what it was like to be in this war 100 years ago [from] the perspective of the people that were actually there".

14–18 NOW is the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

The season will conclude by marking Armistice Day on 11 November, with a new, yet-to-be-announced work by filmmaker Danny Boyle, the mastermind behind the London 2012 opening ceremony, which "will invite people across the UK" to take part.

The BFI London Film Festival artistic director, Tricia Tuttle, said:

"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 colour 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."

Due to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival's Documentary Special Presentation on 16 October, the film will then be screened nationwide in both 2D and 3D.