Life in A Day: 2011 revisited

If you want to search for something to watch over the holiday, this could be a fantastic alternative. It’s also probably one of my favorite movies I have watched in 2011.

Life in a Day is a movie sourced from 80,000 video clips shot by volunteers from all over the world. It’s a snapshot of what’s happening in the world on a single day last year.

Life in A Day trailer:

The film, on its own and judged from the traditional point of view of a documentary, may not appear to be anything so spectacular. The editing resembles a typical vignette type of short film or film made for corporate message. But what’s special about this film is the story and the vision behind it, as Director Kevin Macdonald put it in one of the interviews:

My aim was to create a whole movie from intimate moments – the extraordinary, the mundane, the preposterous – and thereby take the temperature of the planet on a single day, 24 July.

I think it is significant also because it was totally an offspring of the ‘now’ culture we all are so accustomed to. It is current and can easily be considered as a cultural milestone in the history of filmmaking in the future.

  • Instead of following the crowdsourcing model it is actually curated crowdsourcing, skillfully balancing democratization of content and professional manipulation
  • Breaking the mould of a traditional documentary, which typically require a point, narrative, conflict and goal, it’s a different genre altogether
  • The engagement with the audience started well before the process of completing the film, not to mention until the film had been released for the public. The public is then not being guided by any specific storyline or theme but create their own meaning out of the experience

Achievements like this do not come often. In fact it has already had its legacy. In October 2011, BBC News announced that Britain in a Day would be funded by BBC Learning as part of BBC’s “Cultural Olympiad”, with the Britain in a Day YouTube channel accepting video contributions from the public about their lives on a specific day: November 12, 2011.

Britain in a Day trailer:

Now, enjoy the movie ‘Life in a Day’ in full here:

Happy New Year, wherever you are!