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Life in a Day

“Life in a Day” is a collaboration of production companies, filmmakers and people with video clips gathered from all over the world, 190 countries, to express life as it was on July 24th, 2010. The project started with You Tube and soon involved Scott Free, LG and director Kevin Macdonald (“Last King of Scotland”) and editor Joseph Walker. Walker is truly the star of this film as it was his task to tackle 4,500 hours of footage and turn it into a 95 minute documentary.

One year to the day that all those videos were filmed, there was a preview screening in numerous cities. I attended the Las Vegas, NV screening at Rave Motion Pictures – Town Square. It was extra special as one of the many filmmakers was a local recent UNLV graduate, Andrea Walter, whom had her footage as a part of the film. She had some of her colleagues there for support. Immediately following the film screening, there was a Q & A played for the audience (Filmed earlier in the year at Sundance). I didn’t know this was part of the screening. Awesome! John Cooper, the Director at the Sundance Film Festival, moderated a panel of some of the filmmakers including Kevin Macdonald and Joseph Walker.  Macdonald said there wasn’t any specific plan or theme for the film when they sent out 400 cameras to underdeveloped countries and had filmmakers just shoot whatever they wanted. The only thing that was shared was a few questions such as ‘What are you afraid of?” Many of the topics covered by the footage were very much about the universal building blocks of life; birth, death, sickness, marriage, family.

With a documentary you never know what you’re going to find in the footage. And with this film, there were hundreds of filmmakers and I use the term ‘filmmakers’ lightly as anyone with a camera and the internet could shoot and upload something to You Tube. And I’m sure the team of researchers saw there share of bad footage. Not to mention how many different formats they most likely received. The surprise is how amazing the clips were from all over the world. The filmmakers said that there were so many great clips that had to be cut from the film. The film is very touching. The team lead by its editor, Joseph Walker, found some great devices in the film to tie everything together and structure the film with strong storyline.

The film may turn some meat-eaters to vegetarians. Actually, the footage is not as bad as people say. The filmmakers also discussed the ending of the film as far as whether to go darker or lighter, but most of the footage they received were happy ones. It’s more than a great documentary. It’s a time capsule, a snapshot of our world. “Life in a Day” is a way to connect the world. See the film coming out late July/August. Get connected! Then grab a camera and make a movie!

“Restrepo” and Remembrance

WOW! Just watched 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize award winning documentary, “Restrepo.” This mind-blowing film grabs you and never lets go. Seeing these boys fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan day-in, day-out and getting each other through the difficult times, losing soldiers, their comrades, their friends, is incredibly heartfelt. The footage is very real and extremely powerful! You feel somewhat like you’re there in the mountains with them as the cameras follow them everywhere. And who are these brave cameramen?

Who are these courageous filmmakers willing to put their lives on the line to be able to share the lives of these soldiers putting their lives on the line? Sebastian Junger wrote the book, The Perfect Storm, made into a movie starring George Clooney in 2000. Tim Hetherington was a celebrated cinematographer who worked mainly on documentaries. Hetherington was covering the war in Libya on April 20, 2011 when he was killed in a mortar strike. His legacy will not be forgotten as the men that fight these battles will not be forgotten. We like to think of our soldiers as strong warriors that never express their feelings. Seeing this film makes you understand the importance of soldiers sharing their emotions. How does it feel to lose a brother? The rest of the family has to move on. At war, the enemy doesn’t wait for grievances, but it’s important that these soldiers take moments to pray and remember the dead.

“Restrepo” is such an important film for so many reasons. The war is a decade old. Osama bin Laden is dead, but the war is not over. Americans forget what it’s like to not be at war. It’s now such a part of our every day lives that people shrug it off. It’s only when soldiers die or innocent civilians are killed that it makes the news. “Restrepo” is a great reminder of who’s fighting this war and the fact that we are still over there fighting. You can feel the fear the men and boys are going through. America needs to be reminded about the war. Many Americans don’t think too much about it as they don’t know anyone fighting in Afghanistan. This film brings it home to those Americans that don’t have a brother or a father overseas putting their lives on the line. Support the troops while they’re still there. Support filmmakers in making important films, bringing home the insight that makes us think differently and change us for the better.

Tim Hetherington RIP

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