A FILM looking in 3D at what life was like for the troops on Hadrian’s Wall has landed an international award.
The Edge of Empire – the Eagle’s Eye was part of a £6.2m revamp of visitor and exhibition facilities which opened earlier this year at Vindolanda Roman fort in Northumberland and its sister site the Carvoran Roman Army Museum at Greenhead, where it is shown daily.
It is the first 3D venture by Newcastle-based Dene Films, which was set up in 1992 and has turned out more than 5,000 commercials, TV programmes and corporate films.
At the 2011 US International Film and Video Awards, Edge of Empire was awarded the silver prize in the Specialty Production category, placing it in the top three productions of its kind worldwide.
There were more than 1,000 entrants from 22 different countries at the awards.
Dene Films submitted two TV programmes – both scooped a gold award.
One programme, the Last Cast, dealt with the mothballing of the Redcar steel plant on Teesside and the other focussed on stammering in children.
Dene, where there are 20 people involved in film production, makes a wide range of independent films, TV programmes, corporate and marketing films and commercials.
Dene managing director Steve Salam said: “We were up against the world’s best and we proved we can make films of this quality in the region.
“The Edge of Empire in 3D was one of the most challenging films we have made.
“It is an educational film with an element of entertainment.”
The film, which seeks to portray the realities of life on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, was given its premiere in February at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.
Since opening at the Roman Army Museum in April, the film – along with the other refurbishments – has contributed to a 50% rise in visitor numbers.
Patricia Birley, director of The Vindolanda Trust, said: “Since we reopened in April we have seen visitor numbers steadily increase and the Edge of Empire feature has been instrumental to this growth.
“Along with the other facilities now in place at Vindolanda, the 3D film has been received remarkably well by the visiting public, and many visitors have commented on how the film manages to bring history to life in an exciting new way.
“Nowadays technology is exceptionally important for history, as through it, museums such as ours can attract people who ordinarily may not take an interest in the past.”
The £350,000 film features Sima the eagle from the Kielder Bird of Prey Centre and real wolfhounds.
The docu-drama story focuses on Aquila, a foreign recruit into the Roman army, and the reality of life on the Wall and at forts like Vindolanda.
The film’s director, Steven Boyle, 31, grew up in Birtley, Gateshead.
He said: “It was technically very challenging, a steep 3D learning curve, and a year-long history lesson.”
Executive director Albert Mark said: “This was no sanitised Hollywood effort. It really gives an insight into what it was like on the Wall, with freezing cold night duty for recruits who had travelled a long way and would have been amazed by the size and scale of the Wall.”