A scene from the mini-series <i>Gallipoli</i>, being shot in Victoria.

A scene from the mini-series Gallipoli, being shot in Victoria. Photo: Ben King

Taking a leaf from Churchill, Australia’s troops are fighting them on the beaches (of Mount Eliza) and fighting them in the fields (of Bacchus Marsh) as production on Channel Nine’s mini-series Gallipoli heads to the trenches.

Starring 17-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee, the series is one of a raft of Anzac and Gallipoli-themed projects underway to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War (in July-August 1914) and the Gallipoli landing (on April 25, 1915).

In this scene from the mini-series <i>Gallipoli</i>, ANZAC troops disembark on the Gallipoli peninsula in the early hours of April 25, 1915.

In this scene from the mini-series Gallipoli, ANZAC troops disembark on the Gallipoli peninsula in the early hours of April 25, 1915. Photo: Ben King

Nine’s offering, which will air in early 2015, is based on Les Carlyon’s best-selling book and is being produced by Endemol (formerly Southern Star, producers of Puberty Blues) as an eight-part drama. ‘‘We thought if we’re going to tell this story for television, we wanted to tell it from the beginning to the end,’’ says executive producer John Edwards. ‘‘The Carlyon book appealed because it’s a complete history of Gallipoli, but also an intensely poetic, personal and humane one. And it was the poetry of it that really attracted us.’’

Set to shoot from June in South Australia is Deadline Gallipoli, a story about the men who covered the campaign for the news media of the day. Pitched as ‘‘the story of the men who will not shut up,’’ it is being produced by Matchbox (producers of The Slap) for Foxtel. The four-hour mini-series, set to air early next year, will star Sam Worthington as Philip Schuler, a photographer and the son of Gottlieb Schuler, editor of The Age for 26 years from 1900.

‘‘We all know truth is the first casualty of war, and this deals with the question of how much do you have to fudge the facts for matters of operational or national security,’’ says executive producer Penny Chapman. ‘‘It’s a very modern story in that respect.’’

Coming to ABC1 in the second half of this year is Anzac Girls, a five-part mini-series from Screentime (producers of Underbelly and the legal drama Janet King) that focuses on the nurses of the First World War. It stars Anna McGahan, Caroline Craig, Georgia Flood, Laura Brent and Antonia Prebble as five women who work in various theatres from Egypt to the Somme. 

Perhaps the highest-profile project of all is The Water Diviners. The feature film, shot in Turkey and South Australia at the turn of the year, stars Russell Crowe – who also directs – as a father who goes to Turkey after the end of WWI to search for the bodies of his sons. Currently in post-production, it is slated for release on Boxing Day. 

If all that seems too far away, there’s plenty of Australian war-themed action available right now. Aaron Wilson’s Canopy, about a downed fighter pilot trying to evade capture by Japanese soldiers in the jungles of Singapore, is now screening in a limited number of art-house cinemas. 

On television, Gallipoli From Above (ABC1 at 7.30pm, Friday and Foxtel’s History Channel on Saturday) is a one-hour documentary that promises to ‘‘overturn many of the myths about the Gallipoli landing’’, including that the Australians were ill-informed about the terrain they would encounter.

Meanwhile, Alister Grierson, whose most recent feature was the James Cameron-backed cave-diving thriller Sanctum, has a back-to-back war story pairing. His telemovie Parer’s War – starring Matt Le Nevez as WWII cameraman Damien Parer, whose documentary Kokoda Front Line! became Australia’s first Oscar winner, in 1942 – premieres on  ABC1 on Sunday at 8.30pm. And on SBS1 there’s a reprise screening of his 2006 feature debut Kokoda on Saturday at 8.30pm.

twitter: @karlkwin