Crowd-sourced documentary to show life against backdrop of pandemic

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·3-min read

Director Kevin Macdonald has said he wants to show “intimacy and honesty” rather than “big political statements” when he reunites with Sir Ridley Scott to create a new Life In A Day film, 10 years after the original.

Life In A Day 2020 will be made up of footage filmed all over the world on July 25 and millions of people are encouraged to document their lives to tell a new story of a single day on earth.

It comes a decade after the first Life In A Day, which was filmed in July 2010 to mark YouTube’s fifth birthday and attracted 80,000 submissions.

Macdonald, who will reunite with executive producers Sir Ridley and Kai-Lu Hsiung, told the PA news agency: “We had been talking very vaguely about doing this on the tenth anniversary ever since we did the original one, but as the events of this year stacked up, about three months ago we thought this is really something we should revisit.

“In one way the purpose of the first film was to reflect just every day life, domestic personal life, to take a temperature of the world was the phrase that we used and I think it’s the same this time around.

“I don’t necessarily want people to be making big political statements  or telling me what’s happened to them with Covid, or whether they are pro-masks or anti-masks, I kind of just want to see their lives and hear something about their life.”

Macdonald said he thought the pandemic would play more of a background role, rather than taking centre stage adding: “That in itself is going to be the thing that makes it such an extraordinary time capsule of this moment, when we first started talking about it we thought Covid will be over by the end of June and things will be back to normal.

“Little did we know that the mayhem would continue, so I think that is going to be a backdrop of the whole thing and I think the sense of pervading anxiety that a lot of people have around Covid will be there, but I suspect people when they are at home, they are not necessarily talking about it, but it will be present.”

Macdonald continued: “I’ve been using the words ‘intimate’ and ‘honest’, those are the key things.

“It’s the opposite of the world of social media, it’s not meant to be perfect selfie moments, where things are just so.

“This is meant to show yourself and your life, or the life of people around you and what you think might be boring for you because you do it every day, actually might be totally fascinating for other people.”

The filmmaker said he hopes the way technology has spread around the world over the last 10 years will make the film even more representative of the global picture.

He added: “Last time 52% of material we had came from the US and part of the reason for that was because not everyone outside of America had YouTube, had internet, had phones they can film video on.

“Now everywhere you go in the world, everybody had a smart phone and they are filming videos and taking photos and I am hoping this will be a much more diverse, not just the digitally connected world, it pretty much will be the whole world because we are now digitally connected.”

Life In A Day 2020 will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and on YouTube in 2021.