The Lord of the Rings
and The Hobbit mastermind Peter Jackson is turning his attention from The Battle of the Five Armies to the Great War—from fantasy to history.
Jackson will direct a feature documentary about World War I, using exclusive archival footage and audio obtained from London’s Imperial War Museum’s film archive and the BBC archives, respectively. Per Deadline, the documentary will include never-before-seen footage, restored via the most advanced, modern-day production wizardry so as to convey the experience of being in the First World War on a distinctly human level.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the First World War due to my own family history and the Centenary felt like a unique opportunity to make a personal contribution to the commemoration,” Jackson explained in a statement. “I wanted to find a way to bring new life to the stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.”
Jackson’s as-of-yet-untitled documentary will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival sometime this year, screening simultaneously in U.K. theaters, before airing on BBC One. Also airing on BBC One will be a documentary documenting the making of Jackson’s documentary, featuring behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with Jackson and an extensive look at the creative and technical process behind his work.
Watch Jackson explain his new project in the video below, which includes a stunning demonstration of how effectively he and his team have restored its archival footage. “We can make this grainy, flickery kind of sped-up footage look like it was shot in the last week or two,” the director says, though you won’t have to take his word for it.