Oscar-winning film director Kevin Macdonald's Life in a Day is an idea borne out of a unique partnership between Ridley Scott's Scott Free UK and YouTube. The film is a user-generated feature-length documentary, shot on a single day - July 24, 2010 - that enlisted the global community to capture a moment of their lives on camera. The world responded with more than 80,000 submissions, over 4500 hours of deeply personal, powerful films from contributors from Australia to Zambia, from the heart of bustling major cities to the furthest and most remote reaches of the earth.
On July 24, 2010 lives happened – thank goodness they had cameras to document it.
‘Life In A Day’ is a documentary presented by YouTube, Ridley Scott Associates and LG Electronics, and distributed by National Geographic Films. It is directed by Kevin McDonald and edited by Joe Walker, composed of 4,500 hours of footage from 80,000 submissions from 140 nations which were all posted on YouTube.
Originally a project to commemorate the fifth anniversary of YouTube, Director Kevin McDonald wanted to use ordinary YouTube clips and ‘elevate it into art’. The idea was to capture lives in a day of the Earth’s population and give its peoples a glimpse of what happens to all of us. ‘Life In A Day’ is an ambitious task but McDonald and company managed to make a documentary film out of it. It is however a film without narrative, plot, or even ‘stars’ – a totally radical, sheer experiment fit for the 21st century. The film has been dubbed the ‘first crowdsourced, user-generated content to hit the big screen’.
There’s a saying: ‘If you want reality, look out of the window’. For this generation, if you want reality, have a camera to record it. The new adage ‘pics or didn’t happen’ is something that Internet- and tech-savvy people believe in nowadays. ‘Life In A Day’ is the epitome of everything that’s wonderful about technology and globalization.
There’s a whole lot of sharing going on – but of course, it can also be a case of overshare to the point of TMI (too much information). Although a feat in itself, this documentary also showcases the drastic differences between the lives of those from privileged nations versus the poverty-stricken and far-flung regions. Hence, a feeling of wonderment can also be turned by a sense of injustice and maybe even sadness.
‘Life In A Day’ is a social experiment borne out of instant connection and rapid-fire technology. Through this documentary, the world seems small and at times, lives are uneventful. It’s no doubt however that we all have stories to tell that are worth seeing.