Rare Gallipoli film to screen on museum wall (+video)

By Juliet zRowan, Juliet Rowan

Anzac troops will come to life when the only film of them at Gallipoli is projected on to the outside of Auckland Museum next week.

Anzac Day is on Friday and on the three nights before, Heroes of Gallipoli - which was restored by Peter Jackson - will screen on the large wall to the right of the museum's main entrance.

The 20-minute film will play continuously between 7.30pm and 10pm, showing the historic footage of New Zealand and Australian soldiers with their British counterparts during the deadly World War I campaign.

British journalist Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett is believed to have shot the footage, which was discovered in a compilation of World War I film sold to the Australian War Memorial in 1938.

Bartlett wrote colourful reports about the deeds of the Anzacs at Gallipoli and was the only person known to have a motion picture camera on the Turkish peninsula.

He filmed action in and around Anzac Cove from July to September 1915, and Heroes of Gallipoli includes footage of a soldier handing a dispatch to an officer and saluting.

Another scene shows five officers walking one-by-one towards the camera, the first wearing a topi, a British colonial sun helmet.

There is also a firefight filmed in the trenches, which in parts of the battlefield were only 10m from enemy lines.

Jackson, the Oscar-winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and a World War I buff, approached the Australian War Memorial several years ago about restoring the film.

His company Weta Digital did the restoration, which was recently recognised by Unesco's Memory of the World programme.

Auckland Museum director Vanda Vitali said the Unesco recognition had given Heroes of Gallipoli "world importance".

The film was already significant on many levels, including artistically and as a historical document for New Zealand. "It provides a visual anchoring of that moment of building New Zealand identity."

She hoped the public would watch the film from the museum's cenotaph steps and then come inside to sign a digital book of remembrance.

The film will also be screened inside the museum at the same time as the outdoor screenings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The museum is also running a special programme of lectures, performances and films on Anzac Day, as well as remembrance services at dawn and 11am. The museum website, www.aucklandmuseum.com, lists the full programme of events.

Online link: The Auckland War Memorial Museum has a Book of Remembrance on its website for people to post messages on to remember those who served and died in war.

- NZ Herald

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