Celebrate 12/12/12 by participating in the One Day on Earth film and photo project


posted Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM EST


The Mayan calendar abruptly ends on December 21, 2012, and that supposedly means the world will end, too -- or something like that. So if you're looking for something meaningful and artistic to do before the coming cataclysm -- specifically on Dec. 12 aka "12.12.12" -- let me suggest you join me and participate in the "One Day on Earth" film and photo project. Appropriately enough, you have 12 days to get ready.

One Day on Earth is a grassroots project that, according to creator Kyle Ruddick, "captures the human experience in every country on earth on the same day." The project asks for filmmakers and photographers around the world to record footage and images all on Dec. 12, 2012, which will then be collected and woven together into a documentary film. “12.12.12’ will be the final movie in a trilogy of three days on earth that also includes “10.10.10” and “11.11.11.”

One Day on Earth - Release Trailer from One Day on Earth on Vimeo.

I got involved with the One Day on Earth project back in 2010 and had a great shoot planned for my contribution. Sadly, I got rained out by one of the largest storms of the year. I had better luck on Nov. 11, 2011. That day, of course, is Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Europe, and I wanted to capture what the day means for so many people.

November 11, 2011, turned out to be overcast and gray -- but not stormy -- which provided the perfect ambiance for my somber shoot. Panasonic GH2 in hand, I aimed to shoot a short video of the laying of a wreath at the little monument dedicated to the men of Tourbes, France -- the village where I live -- who had lost their lives in World War I and II. To make this video different, I recorded the moment of silence and the laying on of the wreath rather than the speech and parade to the monument. I shot the video with a cheap Holga HL (W)-PLG 25mm lens that gave me a lot of lovely vignetting. Recording in black-and-white and, using the recorded bugle call and music played on the village's cranky sound system for my soundtrack, I produced a video of less than two minutes that is surprisingly moving and is under consideration for inclusion in the final One Day on Earth "11.11.11" film. You can see my video contribution below.

Remembrance Day 11.11.11. Tourbes, France part 2 from Steve Meltzer on Vimeo.

For those of you who want to participate in this year's filming, the process is very simple. First, go to the One Day on Earth website and check out the video and still requirements. Second, make a plan for shooting. And third, on December 12, 2012, capture your stills and videos, and then submit compressed versions of them. If your material is selected, you will be asked to submit the original digital files -- so make sure you save them. Never fear, all the material you shoot remains under your copyright, and use of the One Day on Earth archive is restricted.

If you want some ideas for what to shoot, you can browse through the searchable archive from the last two year's projects that includes more than 6,000 hours of footage and thousands of photographs. From these contributions come the full-length movies that will be shown at screenings around the world. “10.10.10” premiered earlier this year in April.

I haven't yet decided what I will shoot for my "12.12.12" contribution. I am looking for something like the Remembrance Day shoot that combines simplicity with some meaning. It's a challenge that gets my creative juices flowing. And it's exciting to add my images and videos to such a communal, collaborative, wide-ranging artistic effort.

And, if the Mayans are right, at least we'll leave behind an interesting and invaluable record of the world we lived in.

Videos and photo courtesy of One Day on Earth.