There's been a bizarre bit of news developing in the past couple of days, as a powerhouse team - the Sundance Institute, YouTube, Ridley Scott and Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Kevin Macdonald - is emploring people to join in what they describe as "the first-ever user-generated film shot in a single day".
The organizers of LIFE IN A DAY are seeking folks from all over the world to shoot footage of their lives on Saturday, July 24. Then, according to the film's YouTube site:
"The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.
The film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 and will be available right hear on YouTube. If your footage makes it into the finished film, you'll be credited as a co-director and you could be one of 20 contributors brought ot Sundance to celebrate with Kevin Macdonald."
Hey, it sounds groovy and all, and congrats on one of the earliest Sundance selection notices of all time. But just one problem - it's not "the first-ever user-generated film shot in a single day", as Variety reported yesterday and as an email from the Sundance Institute trumpets today.
Hat tip to Christopher Campbell, who flagged this for us yesterday with his tweet:
"Someone tell Ridley Scott that @jeffdeutchman already made a user-generated documentary feature shot in one day."
Indeed, Jeff Deutchman debuted his user-generated, shot-in-one-day feature documentary, 11/4/08, at SXSW this year and it's gone on to have quite a life on the festival circuit and is now playing select dates around the US.
As Campbell later tweeted:
"Noticed that 11/4/08 is screening in Indianapolis on July 24. @jeffdeutchman should film at the event and then submit it to Life in a Day"
Now, Deutchman may or may not have made "the first-ever user-generated film shot in a single day" - it's the first I've heard of, but who knows what's been out there in the ether" - but LIFE IN A DAY certainly can't claim that title. It may be historic in other ways (there's that July announcement for a film screening at Sundance again), but Scott & Sundance & YouTube should give credit where credit is due.
Deutchman beat them to the punch.
Update: Numerous folks have weighed in on other "shot-in-one-day" documentaries that feature some variation on a similar theme. In particular, Movieline's S.T. VanAirsdale notes 140, a film that premiered at the 2010 Newport Beach Film Festival, that seems pretty much directly on the same page as what Scott & Co. are hyping, although it limited its user-generated material to 140 seconds, a reference to the number of characters allowed in a tweet.
Also, on this topic, Christopher Campbell writes further at Cinematical. And USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna (who comments below, arguing that 11/4/08 doesn't fit her idea of "user-generated" since Deutchman recruited some of his footage) talks to Kevin Macdonald about the film project.