“You can read as much as you want but when you get to see documentary footage that was shot during the conflict, it is a different angle. It is a completely different thing to see moving images and faces and how they dressed. It gives a different human angle and makes it easier to identify with.”
Male, 35-44, Battle of the Somme Screening Evaluation 2016, Sphere Insights
In 2016, a centenary after it was filmed, IWM made The Battle of the Somme available for free to members of the Partnership, alongside the contemporary score commissioned by IWM from the composer Laura Rossi.
Members shared this unique part of history with their audiences across the world, and in an incredibly wide variety of settings; from small community groups and church halls to national and international commemorations at Thiepval, Manchester and Belfast. Tours of the film were held across Devon, Worcestershire and North Lanarkshire and live streams were arranged with schools in Scotland, through PoppyScotland, and Canada in collaboration with the local government in Newfoundland. With the composer Laura Rossi, we toured the film with an orchestral accompaniment to over 100 international venues.
Across the world, more than 360 organisations screened The Battle of the Somme to over 35,000 people.
Screenings enabled organisations to reach new and lapsed audiences, and diversify their commemorative programmes. The film encouraged reflection and curiosity, fostered empathy and deepened audiences’ understanding about the First World War, its consequences and contemporary relevance.