Prince William attended the premiere of Peter Jackson’s new First World War documentary They Shall Not Grow Old Tuesday evening at a special presentation of the British Film Institute London Film Festival.
Director Peter Jackson, best known for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, colourised film footage from the Imperial War Museum and BBC Archives, converted it to 3D and then used “modern production techniques,” according to the British Film Institute, to show previously unseen details in the footage.
Prince William reportedly told Jackson that he was interested in seeing the colour footage as it might change how the conflict was perceived.
In a release on the British Film Institute’s website, Jackson says that “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.”
Jackson’s grandfather served in the First World War, and he said that “I now have a greater understanding of what my grandfather would have gone through.”
About Prince William, he said, “I hope he likes it, he came down to New Zealand a few years ago and visited our First World War plane collection – he wanted to grab a plane and go up flying – he certainly has an interest in this historical area.”
Tricia Tuttle, the artistic director of the Film Festival, said that “…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.”
They Shall Not Grow Old was simultaneously played in theatres around the country when it premiered at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival.