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Guardian creates ‘ambitious’ interactive documentary to mark WW1 centenary

The Guardian has today launched an interactive documentary to mark the 100 year anniversary of the first world war in what the publisher says is its most ambitious to date.

First World War: the story of a global conflict, which explores the impact of the conflict, was created with the support of the Imperial War Museum to leverage its rich archive of letters, poems and recordings.

The 32 minute video documentary, translated into seven languages, is broken down into seven chapters with narrative interwoven and featuring content from the Imperial War Museums, Getty, Pathé and the Guardian archives via digital and interactive tools.

The documentary follows previous interactive films from the publisher such as View from the Shard and Firestorm.

Francesca Panetta, multimedia special projects editor for the Guardian and director of the documentary told The Drum that the interactive film sits within the Guardian’s strategy of creating both long and short form content and its aims for future content.

“Every single project that we do we hope to innovative and push the kind of pieces we can be making on line that are suitable for the Guardian. My job is to be permanently looking forward to what is possible with technology but also what suits storytelling. We don’t want to use gimmicks for the sake of it – it has to be relevant both to the Guardian and the story that we pick.”

“You can’t turn every single piece into an all singing all dancing multimedia interactive piece, they take quite a long time to make and it’s also not appropriate for every story either. We need to pick which stories suit this kind of style.”

The documentary has been created to play out on both mobile and tablet to reflect the paper’s growing mobile presence and will also sit on the Guardian's YouTube channel in a more simplified version using the site’s own interactive tools.

Partner publications such as Le Monde will also host the film on their websites.

Panetta revealed that First World War: the story of a global conflict will be re-launched later in the year and said the Guardian is inviting readers to help translate the project into even more languages.

In parallel, the Guardian worked with Kiln over the six months it took to create the film, to develop the concept and determine how it would work editorially.

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