11/4/08 is one of the films premiering at this year’s SXSW and one I really want to see. The premiere sees it’s debut as a film, but this is actually much more than a documentary, or even a piece of cinema. Jeff Deutchman has created an ongoing project with 11/4/08 in an effort to look at the ways you can capture history.
It’s an incredibly interesting project that will have a life beyond the film itself. 11/4/08 is primarily comprised of footage from 19 different contributing filmmakers, from 14 cities around the world, on the day of the US election and there is a global call for anyone with footage shot on that date to upload it to the site to add to the project for the future.
I’m enjoying seeing the different ways documentary filmmakers are looking into participation from their audience, but more so creating a life beyond the film. Documentaries often see their main outing through broadcast and then disappear to the ether unless they are lucky to get a minimal DVD release. Seeing filmmakers tackle ways to give their films a future beyond the theater/tv screen gives me hope that documentary is adapting and can reach wider audiences in the long term. The one question that has routinely popped up in most Q&As I’ve been to over the last year has been asking filmmakers what else they are doing in terms of the issue within the film, and so outreach seems to be something an audience is looking for.
Reading Jeff Deutchman’s filmmaker statement on the 11/4/08 is a fantastic insight into the theory behind capturing history in this way. Using an event which would be historic no matter what the outcome is a great way to create a record of united experience and feeling, and you definitely get a sense of that from the trailer. Aside from the project as a whole, the film shows the one aspect of the US election that hasn’t been shown before in such a encompassing way, the experience felt by the public on that day on a global scale and for that reason it’s a film I’m intrigued to see. As a an entire project I really think this will achieve it’s aim and create a record of historical experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the project progress.
For more information about the project the website is here