The Vimy Foundation and the National Film Board of Canada have partnered together to launch an original short film entitled “Return to Vimy,” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“Many Canadians today see the First World War through a series of faded black-and-white photos and grainy video footage, disconnected from their modern reality. Colourizing these events brings a new focus to our understanding and appreciation of Canada’s giant event during the First World War. Return to Vimy is a new look at Canada’s role in the First World War and we are confident this footage and this story will resonate with all Canadians, but especially youth, as they attempt to connect to the stories of War a century later,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation.
Return to Vimy tells the story of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces’ efforts during the First World War using colourized archives and animated sequence to tell the story.
The film follows a young Canadian woman visiting the Vimy Memorial and transports the audience back in time through a notebook of sketches and diary entries the woman has of her great-grandfather made in the months prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. These sketches become the colourized archival live-action footage that presents the daily lives of Canadian Corps soldiers and the preparations leading up the battle.
This is the first time the National Film Board has colourized its own archives for a film project. Through a digital transfer process, the film showcases previously unseen material among the century-old films from the First World War.
The film is aimed at encouraging Canadians to re-engage with Canadian First World War history. Return to Vimy is part of the Vimy Foundation’s First World War in Colour project.
“Return to Vimy combines innovative storytelling and advancements in digital colourization to breathe new life into archival materials and bring this pivotal moment in Canadian history back to life for audiences of all ages. As Canada’s public producer, we’ve been telling our country’s stories and sharing our history since 1939—during times of peace as well as on the frontlines when Canada has been in combat. Return to Vimy joins an important collection of over 600 titles on the two world wars and other major conflicts, including more than 150 online works, accessible at NFB.ca,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson.
Return to Vimy can be viewed starting Nov. 7 online at NFB.ca and Vimyfoundation.ca, as well as at 17 Cineplex Entertainment cinemas across Canada, where it will be shown for one day only along with the re-release of Paul Gross’s feature drama Passchendaele.