While online video has done much to connect the world by allowing us to share our stories with one another, we often enjoy the tales in front of our computer screens, alone. What if the connective and collective experience of enjoying a film could unite people across the world and the web? That is documentary filmmaker Jehane Noujaim’s goal with this Saturday’s Pangea Day, an event in which 24 different films from all over the world can be viewed in person, online, on TV and on your mobile phone.
Noujaim first presented her idea to Al Gore at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival; in 2006, she was awarded a TED Prize to fulfill her wish of bringing the world together for one day a year through the power of film. It’ll be like a multicultural celebration of the human spirit, akin to Al Gore’s decadent Live Earth concert series, but with fewer self-absorbed rock stars.
Now Nokia and Gore’s own Current have come on board to help collect and disseminate stories. Noujaim spoke to NewTeeVee in New York this week amid last-minute preparations.
Noujaim said TED organizer Chris Anderson provided the seed funding for what has grown into an event with over 1,300 screenings in over 100 countries. “It’s not one singular vision; it’s a lot of different visions coming together,” Noujaim explained. She also said that sifting through the more than 2,500 films that were submitted has been a significant challenge.
The event is being made widely available, through every medium possible. “We offered it
to all the networks for free,” Noujaim said of the television plans. “I was hoping Fox and Al Jazeera would carry it at the same time, but that’s a hope for next year.” Instead, Current’s television station will carry it in the States while it is telecast around the world subtitled in seven different languages.
On the mobile front, video-enabled mobile phones can tune in for the entire 4-hour affair at mobile.pangeaday.org. Additionally, you can upload your own Pangea Day video and pictures and chat live from your mobile at www.ovi.com/pangeaday.
While she’s excited about cutting-edge technology allowing more people to participate, Noujaim, a Harvard-trained visual artist, still sees unanswered questions as online video grows.
“How do you use these cameras to get as much varied content in through these [web sites]? How do you gather people together online to make for a live, communal experience? Me personally, I’d love to see this collect and gather people and then set up real-life screenings together with real people. I do think there is an experience people won’t want to lose of sitting in the dark and watching it together and communicating together face-to-face afterwards.”
NewTeeVee feels the same way. Remember our Pier Screenings?
Pangea Day will present the international community with a variety of questions. What did Tiananmen Square look like from inside the tank? What do Americans singing the Mexican national anthem on the border sound like? Can film unite a world? Find out this Saturday at a screening event near you or catch it online.