Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Six Billion Others

Six Billion Others is a project by French photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand, which will tie in with Pangea Day, coming up on May 10th. It features video interviews with thousands of people from around the world on different subjects, such as love, liberty, anger, discrimination--the whole gamut of the human experience.

Attending a Tribeca Film Festival discussion on Pangea Day tonight, I learned more about that event's origins, too. Jehane Noujaim, director of the extraordinary documentary Control Room, provided the idea after winning a TED prize in 2006 for her film. The winner receives $100,000 and "a wish to change the world" and Pangea Day grew out of her wish to bring the world together with film or, as she described it, to create a "World Cup of storytelling."

Premiering this year, Pangea Day will be a four-hour event presenting live music, various speakers and, primarily, specially-commissioned short films from around the world. These films were made with camera phones, which were distributed around the planet. We saw some of the resulting footage tonight, and it was of surprisingly good quality on the big screen.

Noujaim closed out the night by paraphrasing this quote from Longfellow, which summarizes the intent behind Pangea Day:
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person's life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
(I should mention, too, that my employer Avenue A | Razorfish provided the design and marketing for the Pangea Day Web site, though I wasn't involved in the project.)

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