‘One Day on Earth’ Film Project Builds Worldwide Virtual Community

BY Larisa Epatko  November 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM EST

Tribewanted-Sierra Leone, Africa – Episode 1 from Martha Skolnik on Vimeo.

Friday is 11/11/11, and the minds behind the documentary and online video archive known as “One Day on Earth” are hoping thousands of people around the world will film a moment in their lives this day.

Other filmmakers have used crowd-sourced footage to recreate life in a day, but what sets “One Day on Earth” apart is the online community that has grown around it since its experimental launch around the date 10/10/10, said founder and director Kyle Ruddick, who conceptualized and started the project in 2008 by reaching out to people from his home laptop.

The project’s participants have since grown to 20,000, and they not only can submit their own video but can draw on the website’s archive to create their own masterpieces.

“For me this has always been a project about evolving the way we think about cinema from a point of view of interacting directly with its creation,” he said. “And the people in the audience are the people making the film. For me that’s been very exciting and been a lot of the draw.”

A participant filmed a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, in great detail.

Even after the first day of collaboration, people remained in touch via the website’s discussion groups, and have helped each other, said co-founder and executive producer Brandon Litman. “We had a filmmaker in Nepal who was traveling to India and his (camera) filter broke,” he said. “We have community members who are media creators all over the world, and he was actually able to get a filter to use.”

Some participants have decided this year that they want to create a global song. “We don’t know what the song will be, because everyone’s going to write within the same key and tempo and then it will be put together after the fact,” said Ruddick. “The lyrics may be from all over the world. As long as it’s in key and in the same rhythm, it will actually fit together.”

And the Occupy Wall Street protesters are collaborating about how they want to document themselves that day. “I would hope that someone might share a perspective on both sides and that we could have a visual and documentary-based dialogue on the site — that would be amazing,” Ruddick said.

The project has tapped into an international network of more than 60 nonprofit organizations, and the U.N. Development Program is providing logistical support for more annual video-a-thons until December 2015. These organizations have helped distribute more than 800 cameras to 153 countries to document some of the most pressing issues people there are facing with the hope that viewers will become more informed, said Litman.

View a U.N. Development Program use of the video:

“I think that as we grow and as more people do this and the more diversity there is within the content, we’re going to always see completely new unseen things from around the world that are shared,” Ruddick said.

The organizers plan to show a feature-length film drawn from the footage submitted on 10/10/10 in every country in the world on the same day in late February.

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