Excerpt from the full piece:
"Making a feature documentary with 200 collaborators from around the world is no stroll in the park. Nevertheless, producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin Macdonald have done just that via a unique partnership between Scott's Scott Free Films, YouTube and LG Electronics.
Conceived as a user-generated feature-length documentary, shot on a single day (July 24, 2010), Life in a Day empowers the global community to capture a moment of their lives on camera. The date chosen was a Saturday—a day the producers felt many people could devote more time to the project. Additionally Scott and Macdonald sent 500 small digital cameras to far-flung places around the globe, partnering with Against All Odds Productions, a California-based company that specializes in large-scale global photographic projects—such as the best-selling Day in the Life book series. Participants were invited to shoot on one of the SD cards in the preset camera, send back the card and keep the camera. The producers wanted to try out a melding of YouTube as a social media platform and traditional film formats. Having put out calls for clips on YouTube several times, the team ended up with a staggering amount of material: over 80,000 submissions, totaling 4,500 hours.
Macdonald's concept for the film was inspired by the work of one of his heroes, the British artist and filmmaker Humphrey Jennings. Best known for his beautifully poetic documentaries about Britain during the Second World War, Jennings was a major figure in the celebrated British Documentary Film Movement. His colleagues included John Grierson, John Ryerson, Basil Wright, Harry Watt and Alberto Cavalcanti among others. Like many before and during World War II, these filmmakers were deeply concerned about maintaining democracy in the face of the threat from Fascism. Grierson and his colleagues believed filmmaking could play a central role in expanding public knowledge and understanding so citizens could be active on social issues. A particular contribution by Jennings was a movement launched in the 1930s called "Mass Observation," an attempt to document the strangeness and beauty of ordinary lives. Volunteers wrote detailed diaries about their lives, answering questions such as, "What's on your mantelpiece?" and"What graffiti did you see today?"
"I always want to give an audience something new, something they haven't seen before—and of course experience something new myself," Macdonald writes via email. "It keeps you stimulated as a filmmaker to know you are trying something that might fail—and Life in Day was a risky experiment."..."