After retiring in his late 40s, Stanislaw Karpinski was faced with a new problem. He had time on his hands. As a result of hard work and determination, Stan was able to leave work behind, but with that came the new challenge of what to do with his time.
Wanting a complete career change from the farm life he was used to in the latter part of his work life, Stan decided to look into the work of computing. The digital animation side of IT took his attention and soon he was buying up the hardware and software needed to create his own productions.
“I noticed that the cost of hardware and software was dropping by the day,” Stan tells Neos Kosmos. With his avid interest in history – especially ancient and medieval history, he began to think up a way to combine the two. He started to research the Greco-Persian war, and produce a television documentary series using the skills he had developed in digital animation.
The budding documentary maker teamed up with Dr Michael Scott of Cambridge University and began to investigate in depth the story behind such significant events in Greek ancient history.
“Once we started to do the research, a lot of people had different views, even in academia, and we found there were a couple of points people couldn’t agree on and we did our own research and came up with what we think is a very balanced conclusion on the Battle of Marathon, and the other topic of what really happened with the 300 Spartans,” he explains.
He says the series, The First War of the West, covers 80 per cent of what we’ve heard before relating to the Greco-Persian war, and what we’ve been told in the history books, but 20 per cent of this particular series contains radical and new ideas.
“It’s really exciting to come across something new,” he says of uncovering new ideas about this ancient historical event.
After the research was down pat, he began setting up a series of achievable benchmarks to enable this television documentary series to become a reality.
“To do it on the budget we did was quite incredible,” he says, adding, “it was all a rapid learning curve as you can imagine.”
The whole series took seven years to make, with ten experts providing advice, four additional researchers, 400 actors and extras, all narrated by Dr Michael Scott, says Stan.
“This story has never been done on television, and the whole story hasn’t ever been covered as a whole,” he says, adding that television has only covered parts of the story, such as the 300 Spartans or the Battle of Marathon, but never looked at all the events as a whole.
The production was made mostly in Australia (Wollongong) with contributions from Dr Ian Plant, Associate Professor Paul McKechnie, Dr Blanche Menadier (Macquarie Uni), Dr Doug Kelly (Australian National University), Dr Chris Matthew (Aust. Catholic Uni) and many others. During production, Stan says they received help from the Greek Ministries of Tourism and Culture, the Royal Hellenic Navy, and were visited on set on the last day of filming by Theodoris Nikolaidis, director of the Greek National Tourism Office in Sydney.
All in all, there are eight episodes which contain more than 350 minutes of detailed information and analysis on the Greco-Persian war that occurred over 2,500 years ago.
For more information on The First War of the West or to view the series visit www.bit.ly/1fwly16 or at Amazon, NTSC: www.//amzn.to/1nL3NQ3 Pal www.//amzn.to/1gQIiIh.