On July 28, 1914, a history-changing conflict erupted in Europe and rapidly spread across the world. The first truly global war was a bloody four-and-a-half year conflagration involving troops from more than 100 countries in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia. World War I, as it became known, redefined combat in the Industrial Age, created carnage unlike any the world had seen before and redrew international maps.
SOLDIERS' STORIES IN 3D is the most technologically advanced film ever made about the "war to end all wars." Filmmaker Jonathan Kitzen's riveting half-hour documentary pairs meticulously restored stereoscopic photographs with commentary by veterans of contemporary wars, dropping audiences directly into World War I trench warfare, as seen through the eyes of a soldier. The late Oscar®-winning actor and U.S. Army veteran Mickey Rooney provides heartfelt narration emotionally rooted in recollections of his own war experiences.
Produced by Academy Award®-winner Nicholas Reed (The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life)
A very technically challenging film, SOLDIERS' STORIES IN 3D merges technology, history and storytelling for a breathtakingly immersive cinematic experience. Employing the latest digital technology, the filmmakers have been able not only to restore original vintage 3D photographs of the battlefield created between 1914 and 1918, they have also improved the quality and clarity of the images, creating, in essence, the world's oldest 3D film. SOLDIERS' STORIES IN 3D will be shown in state-of-the-art IMAX 70mm.
"As a medium, 3D works especially well in extremely tight quarters," says Reed. "In this case, we experience the claustrophobia, urgency and emotional upheaval of the trenches just as the soldiers did. As seen on a huge IMAX screen, it is truly something that audiences will never forget."
"It's one thing to work in 3D," says Kitzen. ""It's another challenge entirely to take 3D to the highest resolution possible. We have done that with film that is 100 years old, with images that were taken under grueling combat conditions and required extensive corrections. But when I look at it now, I know it was a battle worth fighting."
Kitzen capsulizes the inhumanity of war in the story of a single battle: the Somme Offensive. One of the largest campaigns of the First World War, as well as one of the deadliest military operations in history, the Battle of the Somme was an early and graphic example of the gruesome consequences of trench warfare. More people died in one hour at the Battle of the Somme than were killed during the entire D-Day Offensive.
With an unprecedented amount of new and increasingly sophisticated weaponry on the battlefield, the military casualties suffered by the British surpassed their total casualties for all of World II. On the first day alone, the British forces suffered almost 60,000 casualties, greater than the total combined British casualties in the Crimean, Boer and Korean wars. Between July 1 and November 1, 1918, one million or more troops on both sides were killed or wounded. With tens of millions of soldiers deployed globally, total casualties for World War I have been estimated at more than 37 million including over 16 million deaths.
Both intimate and epic in scale, SOLDIERS' STORIES IN 3D creates an emotional portrait of the modern battlefield through first-hand accounts of soldiers who fought to survive in enemy territory. The last known surviving veteran of World War I died in 2012, but Kitzen has ingeniously used testimony by veterans of the conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan - an eerie and fascinating counterpoint that could have been written by the survivors of the early 20th century combat. These emotional "grunt-eye view" accounts provide a shockingly fresh portrait of the terror, the adrenaline, the thrill and even the smell of war.
World War I officially ended in 1918 on November 11 at 11 a.m., in hope that the numbers 11-11-11 would stand forever as a reminder of the devastating losses endured throughout the world. November 11, now variously known as Armistice Day, Veteran's Day and Remembrance Day, is marked each year as a reminder of the sacrifices made by veterans everywhere.
SOLDIERS' STORIES 3D is directed by Jonathan Kitzen. The film is produced by Kitzen and Nicholas Reed. Narration is by Mickey Rooney.