Press release from National Geographic Channel, July 25, 2017:
National Geographic and Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron today announced a one-hour documentary event special to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the blockbuster film “Titanic,” which became not only the highest-grossing movie in history, but also a watershed for researchers of the Titanic, inspiring dives to the wreck, a host of books and countless documentaries. Thirty-two years after the discovery, 20 years after the movie, the Titanic story is still evolving in unexpected ways. Titanic: 20th Anniversary will premiere this December on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Titanic: 20th Anniversary will look back at all the critical choices made during the film and put them to the test against a wealth of new sources – including new underwater footage, computer-generated simulation and scholarly research. Cameron will take audiences through his personal journey in making the film, giving context to the choices he made during production based on the historical facts and science that was available at that time. Looking through the filter of the film itself, and the choices Cameron made as writer, producer and director, Titanic: 20th Anniversary will explore the movie through a fresh lens using the information that has been compiled over the past 20 years.
Cameron and his team of experts will travel to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, home to a Titanic exhibit that includes set pieces from the film and real artifacts from the ocean liner itself, giving audiences a sense of the loss and the magnitude of what happened more than 100 years ago. There, for the first time ever, Dr. Robert Ballard and Cameron will discuss the recently declassified story of how Ballard discovered the Titanic wreckage while on a secret mission for the U.S. Navy. Cameron and his team also will explore the accuracy of scenes from the movie compared to the same locales buried in the ocean and the unexpected impact the film had on audiences worldwide.
“The film ‘Titanic’ was arguably the most ambitious production of its time – unprecedented in scope and exhaustively researched – creating an impact that still reverberates to this day. With this film, James not only swept audiences away with an epic romance, but also spurred a renewed interest in this moment of history, opening so many doors of research,” said Tim Pastore, president, original programming and production, National Geographic. “And now, with new research and technology, we’re going to put the Titanic’s final hours under a renewed microscope of what we know today and provide new perspective on what happened that fateful night.”
“When I wrote the film, and when I set out to direct it, I wanted every detail to be as accurate as I could make it, and every harrowing moment of the ship’s final hours accounted for,” said Cameron. “I was creating a living history; I had to get it right out of respect for the many who died and for their legacy. But did I really get it right? Now, with National Geographic and with the latest research, science and technology, I’m going to reassess.”
Cameron will assemble a team of the world’s leading experts to consider the evolution of knowledge since the film was made, including National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Ballard, Parks Stephenson (historian, documentarian and explorer), Don Lynch (historian and author) and Ken Marschall (visual historian and world’s foremost creator of Titanic artwork).
Cameron’s epic 1997 film “Titanic” won 11 Oscars and grossed well over a billion dollars worldwide. Cameron, who has made more than 30 dives to explore the Titanic, brings together a team of engineers, naval architects, artists and historians to solve the lingering mysteries of why and how an “unsinkable” ship sank. The team of experts will delve deeper into the accuracy of the feature film and determine what technology and research has revealed since the film was released. This investigation will give an updated interpretation of what exactly happened to the Titanic on April 14, 1912.
Titanic: 20th Anniversary is executive produced by James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm and directed by Tom Grane of Los Angeles-based Mob Scene. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Betsy Forhan; vice president, production is Kevin Tao Mohs; and president of original programming and production is Tim Pastore.