A Documentarian Collage of Humanity: 8 Billion Lives
A celebrity chef, a Buddhist monk and a gay rights activist walk into a bar…
By Maria Popova
While we do have a soft spot for pure layman voyeurism, we’re always more interested in projects that use this underlying, hard-wired mechanism of human curiosity about others to do something bigger, to celebrate diversity and build a sense of interconnectedness.
Enter 8 Billion Lives, an inspired effort to foster global citizenship by showcasing the work of independent and amateur filmmakers, who capture day-in-the-life stories about ordinary and extraordinary people alike. The short documentaries aren’t glamorous or glitzy. Their narrative isn’t always seamless and their cinematography is often questionable. But what they lack in production value they make up for in sheer candor, from the quiet humanity of mundane life to the raw richness of everyday triumphs and tragedies.
The films feature curious characters and everyday heroes alike, from Westpoint alum and gay rights activist Dan Choi, who was expelled from the army for being openly gay, to celebrity chef David Burke, from a Japanese lifelong learner to an American Buddhist nun.
The project reminds us of Yann-Arthus Bertrand’s 6 Billion Others, a digital anthology of 5,000 interviews filmed in 75 countries by 6 directors since 2003. Both projects paint a powerful, coherent portrait of humanity through the richness of diversity, weaving an intricate patchwork of personal stories that together form the great social quilt of our day.
Submit your own short documentary to 8 Billion Lives and become a part of this story.
Published March 18, 2010