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One Day on Earth is a stunning global snapshot (Q&A)

The first film shot in every country of the world, One Day on Earth is a record of how extraordinary a single day on our planet can be.

A bride in Kosovo prepares for her wedding in One Day on Earth.
One Day on Earth

Today is Earth Day, and to celebrate it filmmakers Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman have released "One Day on Earth," a remarkable snapshot of our planet that was shot in every country of the world on October 10, 2010.

More than 19,000 filmmakers, professional and novice, contributed more than 3,000 hours of footage to the project, which has the support of the United Nations and 60 nonprofit organizations. The archive is being hosted by Vimeo, with Ning hosting the related social network.

The project is said to have been the inspiration for Ridley Scott's "Life in a Day," which opened last year as a stitched-together series of YouTube videos.

"One Day on Earth," meanwhile, takes a hard look at pressing global issues like endangered species, carbon emissions, and poverty. It tells viewers that, for instance, 1.3 billion people have no access to clean water, and a species becomes extinct every 20 minutes.

It presents remarkable footage of the natural world and humanity, including a North Korean military parade, Peruvian acrobat beggars, and a Brazilian woman obsessed with clocks and time.

With the film's omniscient global perspective, what was an unremarkable day becomes something quite miraculous. It highlights the critical relationship between humanity and the environment and can expand even the broadest of horizons.

The film's founder/director Kyle Ruddick answered some of our questions about this ambitious project. Check out his answers, and the trailer, below.

Q: Why did you want to film in every country in the world?
Because we hoped to get a large, more encompassing view of humanity. It was really a way to show and guarantee a diversity of perspectives in the project.

Some countries get only seconds in the film while North Korea gets a lot of screen time. Why did you include North Korean rhetoric?
The North Korean military parade was a major news event that is rarely captured on film. The speech was used because it was the closest thing to an act of war on 10.10.10. that we saw filmed.

Was it a challenge to cover specific themes such as water scarcity and drug addiction? How did you assign topics to the filmmakers?
This whole project was a challenge but not because of these topics. We threw out a call to action for some topics, while others were explored naturally without any pre-producing. Ultimately, we really had little idea what everyone was going to do. The biggest excitement came when we saw the depth and range of topics covered as we dug our way through post production.

One Day on Earth - Global Screening Trailer from One Day on Earth on Vimeo

How did technology play a role in the film's creation?
It was essential -- from the creation of our own social network as a hub for creation, to improved camera technology, to the innovative distribution we are doing Earth Day with start-up Tugg, which is sort of like Groupon for movies.

There are some difficult scenes (e.g., religious self-mutilation). What was the most shocking or unusual footage you viewed and why did you leave it out?
I won't even describe the most shocking thing for the sake of your readers, but there was this one clip of a street performer in Ghana eating glass. We left it out because it was just a little too exploitative feeling if the performance was actually endangering the glass eater's health. It was also so bizarre that it was almost hard to understand.

Historically, did anything significant happen on October 10th, 2010? What did you miss?
Kim Jong-il announced his son would be the successor of power in North Korea. The Republic of China [Taiwan] had its 100th anniversary. There was a horrible bus crash in Malaysia. Strangely, it was considered a slow news day. The biggest U.S. news was a streaker at an Obama rally that we did not capture.

After screening all the footage, what struck you as the most pressing issues confronting humanity?
Poverty in a world of wealth.

What do you think viewers can learn from watching this film?
We hope people walk out of this movie feeling a little more interconnected with the rest of the world.

One Day on Earth is being screened at venues in 160 countries around the world today, Earth Day, including the U.N. building in New York. For more info on the film, see the Web site here.