A sprawling surge of social media crested and washed up on the shores of Danielle Lauren’s computer. She and her team watched over 3000 pieces, both amateur and professional, all taken at the same precise moment. She cut it together into a film called the 11Eleven Project. It took three years to make, two hours to watch, and for the life of me I still have no idea what it’s about.
Neither does she, it would seem. She admits that she wanted to make a social media driven co-production that took place at the same time. Later, the idea to make that moment 11.11.11 at 11 minutes and 11 seconds past 11 emerged. Of course, across the world those moments are rather spread out across the time zones, but reality is subjective, is it not?
As she said herself “It was all completely intuitive”, which is not to say there was no driving vision, but when approaching such a monumental project as this, it would indeed be dangerous to be too prescriptive.
This is an ever-changing film, one that easily thwarts the notion of a linear perspective on life by providing the viewer with an overflowing cornucopia of the possibilities of life on this planet. The only overriding principle is that of diversity. Danielle said that “Life, death, celebration, love and hope” were the themes that emerged most strongly.
I asked Danielle if the process of submission via social networking sites seemed to limit the demographic, and she pointed out, quite rightly, that you would restrict the demographic no matter what form of communication is used.
She loves social media and the opportunity to connect that it represents: “I think people who are comfortable using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr naturally are proactive communicators and with no monetary reward, we needed to speak to a group of people who saw value in simply sharing their stories.”
If it sounds like an unholy mess, it is – and that is precisely the point. The tide of stories and moments both sad, obscure and hilarious jostle one another for pre-eminence, but never does anyone win outright. (Except maybe for the French kid with the camera strapped to his head)
The 11Eleven Project is screening as part of the Indie Gems Film Festival at the Parramatta Riverside Theatres from September 12.
It is but one small part of a very promising line-up of films that have not been pre-packaged by an elite team of marketing gurus in the bowels of an entertainment corporation. This festival is about films made by people with singular ideas who care about their subjects so much they probably mortgaged their houses to make them.
Don’t go because I told you so; go because you don’t know what you’re going to get, and will most likely be delighted by what you see.