SUNDANCE EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Films Nabs 'Life in a Day'
The user-generated global documentary directed by Kevin Macdonald has its world premiere Thursday night in Park City.
National Geographic Films has picked up U.S. distribution rights to the global feature experiment Life in a Day. The non-profit will release the film theatrically day-and-date along with YouTube, which helped orchestrate the massive project, July 24 – exactly a year after the film’s footage was shot around the world.
The film will have its world premiere Thursday night at the Eccles Theatre in Park City as part of the Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section.
Kevin Macdonald directed the user-generated film, which Ridley Scott executive produced through his Scott Free U.K. Last summer, YouTube users around the world were encouraged to film some part of their lives on July 24, 2010, and then submit the footage for potential inclusion in a feature-length documentary organized by Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) and edited by Joe Walker.
More than 80,000 submissions from 192 countries were eventually winnowed down to approximately 1,000 clips that are woven through the film. The final product will stream live on YouTube simultaneously with the Sundance premiere Thursday, followed by a Q&A with Macdonald, Walker and 20 amateur contributors to the film flown in from around the world for the event.
“Life in a Day is unique, contemporary and exciting, but what surprised me about the film is how emotional, powerful and involving it is,” said National Geographic Films president Daniel Battsek. “For that, the credit goes to all the amateur filmmakers who contributed and, of course, to Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald, who managed to create such an innovative and powerful cinematic experience.”
National Geographic exec Kattie Evans negotiated the deal with Tim Haslam of HanWay on behalf of Scott Free U.K.
“What started as an innovative idea has grown into an incredible film,” said Anna Bateson, director of marketing for YouTube, on which National Geographic has its own channel. “National Geographic’s support will create additional avenues for audiences across the U.S. to see Life in a Day.”
National Geographic Films has released the documentaries March of the Penguins, Arctic Tale and God Grew Tired of Us. The company also picked up the 2010 Sundance entry Restrepo, the Afghanistan war documentary directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger.