25 April brings Gallipoli to life in animation

25 April brings Gallipoli to life in animation

Most films about Gallipoli have told the Australian story at the expense of New Zealand's, but the makers of a new animated documentary aim to redress the balance.

25 April opens in cinemas on Thursday, and uses motion-capture technology to bring the horrific reality of Gallipoli to life.

It's New Zealand's Gallipoli story as you've never seen it before -- visceral, real and incredibly confronting.

"We hoped the Turks would charge our trenches, so we could give them a reception they'd never forget," says film director Leanne Pooley. "But we were the ones that did the charging. What happened next was hell."

Pooley and her team have created a living, breathing documentary, bringing back to life six people who were there. They speak their own words, taken from personal diaries and letters.

"It was a real task for the actors, and I'm so, so proud of the performances because they were acting with motion-capture equipment attached to them," she says. "They were covered in dots, and then they've got a camera literally mounted on their head."

The interviews are mixed with the re-imagined, claustrophobic terror of Anzac Cove. Pooley's animated eye is constantly searching the chaos, transporting the viewer into the trenches.

"Animation is like a creative smorgasbord," she says. "Everything is possible -- everything. You can use visual metaphor in a way that you could never use in live action."

Unlike most Gallipoli films, Pooley's includes both sides of the ANZAC perspective. Kiwi soldiers interact with their Aussie mates, to give a more truthful and balanced account.

"It was really important to me that it represented the experience these young men had, and they talked about the Australians; the Australians were part of their experience. I didn't want to ignore that. That was part of what happened to them, and that camaraderie that happened between the New Zealanders and Australians was also part of something that was a shared experience of pulling away a little bit from Mother England."

However, that ANZAC spirit wasn't shared by Australian authorities at Anzac Cove today, who stopped the film from being screened to pilgrims waiting for the dawn service.