By Peter Rudegeair
NEW YORK (Reuters) - What began two years ago as an attempt to document on video one day's events all over the world has evolved into a network of tens of thousands of filmmakers able to provide a glimpse into experiences of people living in war zones, closed societies and otherwise inaccessible places.
Some 34,000 volunteer members of the One Day on Earth project, the organization leading the effort to create a series of global video time capsules, filmed scenes around the world on Wednesday - December 12, 2012 - that will be aggregated and edited to create a feature-length snapshot of the world that day, the organizers said.
The film will be the third in a trilogy. Previous installments used video captured on November 11, 2011, and October 10, 2010.
What distinguishes this latest movie, and what sets One Day on Earth apart from similar documentaries like Ridley Scott's 2011 film "Life in a Day," is the social network of filmmakers that the project helped establish in places like Libya and North Korea and can now tap going forward to obtain hard-to-come-by video, co-founders Brandon Litman and Kyle Ruddick said.
The organization has provided more than 1,000 cameras to its volunteer filmers.
In 2011, for instance, when news organizations were struggling to find footage of the uprising in Libya, One Day on Earth solicited contributions from its members in the country. Within hours, responses came in from Tripoli and Benghazi.
Filmmakers on the ground there were soon sending videos showing scenes of unrest, food shortages and the need for medical care that were passed onto media outlets, Litman said.
"Libya was an experiment," Ruddick told Reuters. "It was the moment we realized that this project had bigger legs than we could have imagined."
One Day on Earth plans to release a feature-length documentary in 2013 with the material it obtained in Libya, Litman said. The project also had groups of people filming in places like Syria, Egypt and North Korea on December 12, Ruddick and Litman said.
Partnerships with international organizations like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Human Rights Watch helped expand the project's reach, Litman said.
The UNDP, for instance, arranged for officers in the 166 countries in which it operates to both create their own footage and to transport independent filmmakers' footage to New York in countries with spotty internet access, said Boaz Paldi of the UNDP.
Though 2012 is the final year the project will attempt to document life in every country on a particular day, One Day on Earth will continue use its network to focus on specific topics or regions.
"I'd love to create ‘One Day in India' or ‘One Day in Brazil,'" Ruddick said.
December 12 also marked the video on demand and digital release date for the first film in the trilogy, which took a year and a half to complete, Litman said. The second film will likely be released in the spring of 2013. They do not yet have a release date scheduled for the 2012 chapter.
All the footage that One Day on Earth receives, which came to about 7,000 hours in 2010 and 2011, is posted to a shared archive online that anyone can access via www.onedayonearth.org, Litman said.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)