Last night a nervous young girl climbed to the top of a tower of people, a young man revealed his sexuality to his grandmother, a new father fainted during his wife’s Caesarian section, an American teenager destroyed his face during his first shave, and a Peruvian boy made 5 soles polishing shoes. Well, more accurately, all these things actually happened on July 24th 2010, the day chosen by Kevin McDonald and Ridley Scott to embark on their innovative crowd-sourced documentary Life in a Day.
Via YouTube, people from around the world were asked to submit short films about any aspect of their day on that specific date; focusing on questions such as “what do you love?” “what are your fears?” and “what do you have in your pocket?”. 80,000 clips were sent to the producers in response to this, and the resulting film is a snapshot of the globe, of human beings, in a particular moment in time.
Following the screening, the film clubbers discussed how accurate a reflection of humanity this was, how representative was it of global culture including developing countries, and whether the film had substance or was it just the meaningless narcissistic ramblings of the YouTube and Twitter generation? Joe Walker, the film’s editor, echoed this concern: “I was fully expecting a film that’s closely integrated with YouTube to cover the subjects of cats and dogs and children falling over. What was totally surprising was how generous people were about turning these brave stories over, these things very close to their hearts.” It was promoted at Sundance, reviews of which can be seen here.
Of course, it would be impossible to be completely representative of an entire planet, or an entire day. But we did feel it had a spread of opinions, of people, of situations, that meant that certainly as individuals we were able to relate personally to many of the scenes presented in the film. And that it was a humbling, thought provoking and inspiring piece of filmmaking, linked thematically throughout.
It was interesting that the film also touched on some of the darker aspects of the day, such as the tragedy of the Love Parade festival in Berlin, images of animal slaughter, of monkey-begging in India, and fighting and rioting across the world. To include this footage was a brave choice by the producers, but I suppose when users had sent scenes like this in to them, they couldn’t be ignored.
We also agreed that it was beautifully shot, with some artistic flare from amateur film-makers, a point agreed by the director Kevin McDonald, who was amazed at the skill demonstrated in some shots like carrying a fly out of the window and watch it buzz off, in capturing skydiving with complete maintained deep-focus, and capturing the expressions of people jumping off the high board into a swimming pool.
The imagery from Life in a Day was also used as the backdrop to this amazing film on the website ‘Upworthy‘. I thoroughly recommend book-marking it for those days when everything sucks.
Last year I, along with Comrade Becca, took a photograph every single day. This was a tough challenge at times, but for me at least, made me appreciate more of the minutiae in life and the beauty of the small things around us. I’ve also become interested in mindfulness, being present in the moment, and recommend this website if anyone would like to find out more about this. It felt that Life in a Day in some way reflected this, particularly with the very last scene in which a girl lamented (ironically during an amazingly dramatic thunderstorm) that nothing really happened on that day, but it was important to be celebrated nonetheless.
For MNFC however, it was a significant day, as it was our 3rd birthday! We celebrated with a birthday cake and pizza, and probably too much red wine for a Monday night! It’s great to see how we are still going strong, with new members coming, over 1700 hits on our website, and we even had a blast from the past with Comrade Felix returning for the first time since Nuts in May. Here’s to our 4th year, and who knows what cinematic adventures we will undertake!
As has become a birthday tradition, and with the FAFTA award ceremony looming, I presented the montage of last year’s MNFC films, which can be seen here, and under the “Reviews of the Year” tab above. The fascists last night were very good at spotting each film, and guessing the soundtracks used in the review… an award for whoever guesses the tracks right in the ‘comments’ section, but no Shazam allowed!
In anticipation of showing Life in a Day, I thought it would be fun to get our members to film their days on 1st February 2014. The result is here, in a very sweet little film called, obviously, “MNFC in a Day”. Special thanks to all the MNFC-ers here in London and currently around the globe; to their partners, mothers, babies, pets, and random 3-year-old children’s birthday parties! Oh, and the “grown men on scooters”…
So, until Susan ushers in our 4th fantastic year in a few weeks,
What the day is it? BEST. DAY. EVER!