Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner web series wasn’t meant to be. A lack of funding stalled the production indefinitely. But opportunity is often born out of failure, and when it was apparent his replicant redux wasn’t going to see the light of a dystopian Los Angeles day, Scott took his newfound interest and knowhow in the internet as an entertainment medium, called up Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald, tapped some 80,000 YouTubers and made his next major motion picture.

Life in a Day is a crowdsourced, collaborative film made possible by YouTube’s massive global usership. On July 24, 2010, Scott, Macdonald, and YouTube asked participants from all around the world to capture their own lives on camera and submit the footage to the Life in a Day YouTube channel. Scott’s production company, Scott Free also distributed a few hundred cameras to non-profits and NGOs in 20 different countries “on the wrong side of the digital divide,” to ensure the film would have “a truly global voice.”

Kevin Macdonald and company pared down over 80,000 submissions from 192 countries to exactly 1,025 clips. Those were pieced together to construct the film, which aims to represent “the cohesive story of a single day on earth.”

life-in-a-dayLife in a Day will make its world premiere at Sundance this Thursday at 5PM PT / 8PM ET, but if you’re not in Utah no need to worry. YouTube will host a simultaneous live stream of the premiere at YouTube.com/LifeinaDay.

And if you want to catch the flick, but you’re not in Utah, can’t get to a computer later this week, and prefer to watch your documentaries in a theatre setting, you’re still in luck.

National Geographic Films picked up Life in a Day and will release the film theatrically day-and-date along with YouTube on July 24, 2011. The distribution company is behind a handful of well-known documentaries, including March of the Penguins, Arctic Tale, and God Grew Tired of Us.

It’ll be interesting to see how much National Geographic can earn in box office receipts considering the film will also be available on YouTube. Do you think a documentary depicting the yearly journey of Antarctica’s emperor penguins could have pulled in $77 million at the box office if everyone could’ve just as easily seen it online?

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