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A Body Called Life

NY Premiere

Director: Spencer MacDonald

United States, 2024, 15 min

Shooting Format:RED

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Short

Genres:Trauma, Microbes, Science

WINNER: Best Original Score

Cast:James Weiss

Crew:Writer: Spencer MacDonald. Producer: Pascal Duschletta. Composer: Dan Deacon; Cinematographer: Fabian Kimoto; Executive Producer: Dalia Burde, Lea Fee; Creative Director: Amani King


A self-isolated young human known as "James" delves into the hidden world of microscopic organisms, forging a tender connection with these nearly invisible creatures and developing a massive online following, as he seeks to understand his own place in the cosmos and accept the scars of his past.

“A Body Called Life” is a film made in collaboration with James, with a screenplay adapted from the verbatim Instagram posts of James, and starring James as James. It is an experiment in storytelling, about a life spent observing other little lives, with a charming score by Dan Deacon.


About the director

Spencer MacDonald (b. 1990) is a filmmaker born in NYC, raised in San Francisco and currently based in Berlin. His work walks the line between documentary and fiction, and his current interests lay at the intersection of humanity and the environment. His previous film Scarlet Medusa, about an aging Japanese scientist working to unlock the biological secret of immortality held in the life cycle of a tiny jellyfish, screened at festivals around the world, including Palm Springs International Shortfest, and the Atlanta Film Festival, where it received honorable mention in the documentary shorts competition. Other films of his have been featured by many large media outlets, including The Atlantic, National Geographic, Vice, and Vimeo's "Best of the Year".


Filmmaker's note

Two-thirds of life on Earth is invisible to us. It hums in tune everywhere at all times and is the creator and destroyer of life as we know it. We wonder if there are aliens beyond Earth, yet we can see them right below us through a microscope: Rotifers, Waterbears, Paramecium, Ciliates... We don't seem to care about the protection of the non-human natural world, because we have lost our interest in it. "A Body Called Life" seeks to momentarily re-enchant audiences by offering a perspective on the usually overlooked phenomena of the natural world, presented through the lens of a queer individual from Turkey, who is living in self-isolation in Warsaw and processing c-PTSD through a tender connection with these creatures.

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