Peter Jackson, best known for directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has created a new film using original footage from Imperial War Museums’ extensive archive, much of it previously unseen, alongside BBC and IWM interviews with servicemen who fought in the conflict. Footage has been colourised, converted to 3D and transformed with modern production techniques to present never before seen detail.
They Shall Not Grow Old was given its Royal World Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on 16 October, attended by Peter Jackson and the Duke of Cambridge. The simulcast included a special post screening Q&A with Jackson, hosted by film critic Mark Kermode. The film was simultaneously screened in 2D and 3D to cinemas, schools and special venues across the UK, as well as its TV broadcast premier on BBC Two on 11 November.
The First World War proved to be a landmark in cinema history – the first time that the horrors of war could be caught on camera. Many hours of dramatic footage were filmed on the battlefields, capturing the realities of the conflict in remarkable and unprecedented detail. This footage provided the public at home with astonishing access to the frontline: The Battle of the Somme, a documentary film produced with the cooperation of the War Office, was seen by an estimated 20 million Britons in its first six weeks of release. As a partner the British Council is licensed for screenings in offices, embassies and cultural centres worldwide.
Learn more about this project.
Screening in the USA
The British Council in the USA was proud to host the US premiere of They Shall Not Grow Old on 10 December 2018 at the National Archives in Washington, DC. An audience of 300, including representatives from US government agencies, arts, media and education organisations joined active duty and veterans from the UK, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, to watch the film and attend a panel discussion, moderated by BBC World journalist Jane O’Brien, (BBC). The panellists included, Brigadier James Carr-Smith, Daniel Dayton (Executive Director, US World War I Centennial Commission), Dan Rooney (National Archives) and Jenny Waldman, CBE (Director, 14-18 NOW). Click here to watch a recording of the panel discussion.
A second screening was hosted on 17 January 2019 in New York City, featuring Sarah Goodfellow (Producer, 14-18 NOW), Kirsty Lang (British Council trustee), Antony Phillipson (British Consul General in New York and HM Trade Commissioner for North America) and HE Dame Karen Pierce DCMG (UK Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the United Nations).