Lives in Transit

The Global Lives Project is currently seeking filmmakers in Africa to complete its curated series of ten 24-hour films — Lives in Transit.

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Lives In Transit

Global Lives is embarking on the next phase in the curation of a video library of global human experience. Our collaborative of filmmakers, photographers, programmers, students and scholars have begun recording the daily routines of the globe’s transit workers. This next set of videos will not only expand the volume of Global Lives coverage, but also add a level of depth to the discussion of global connectedness by highlighting the single parallel experience of working in transit.

From bus fare collectors to flight attendants, mule packers to bicycle rickshaw drivers, Lives in Transit will capture a full 240 hours of routines and rituals in the lives of 10 individuals instrumental in moving people and goods throughout our world. The production will bring together nearly 100 accomplished filmmakers and media artists to undertake a globally-collaborative work of art that raises questions about the relationship of human connection and disconnection, similarity and difference, distance and proximity. All new Global Lives Project shoots are free and open source under the Creative Commons BY-SA license.

Currently seeking filmmakers in Africa!

Lives in Transit has already documented 24 continuous hours in the lives of nine transportation workers around the world. These include a delivery man in Korea , a caterpillar fungus collector in Nepal, a cook on a sand barge on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, and a worker on a long distance train in China.

We now have one remaining: Africa!

We welcome inquiries from filmmakers in Africa who want to work with a dynamic collective of global artists to complete this series and to continue building our open source video library of human life experience. Since our last shoot on the African continent took place in Malawi, we are particularly interested in shoots from other regions of Africa, specifically Western, Central, Southern, and Northern Africa.

The participants presently featured in Global Lives Project’s video collection roughly represent current global demographics. This curated series, Lives in Transit, will document the lives of transportation workers, including:

  • six individuals in Asia, and one in Africa, North America, South America, and Europe
  • five urban and five rural workers
  • five men and five women
  • workers who represent the real income distribution of the world
  • the real age distribution of the world
  • the real religious distribution of the world


  • Filmmakers should produce a shoot that works with our unique filmmaking methodology — 24
    continuous, unedited hours of an average day in the life. To familiarize yourself, please read our
    production guide.
  • Global Lives Project is a volunteer-driven initiative. As such, the financial support for each shoot is

    • Global Lives shoots are expected to receive financial and in-kind support from multiple sources. Global Lives will allocate up to $1,500 for this shoot in Africa.
    • All producers and crew members volunteer their time for production and post-production. Producers generally use their own or borrowed equipment.
    • The approved amount will be disbursed in two payments, 50% after the contract is signed and 50% upon completion of all post-production requirements.
    • Global Lives can facilitate, but not be responsible for, any additional fundraising. For more information, see page three of “Pre-Production Guide”.
    • Contact us for a sample budget.
  • Preference will be given to a FEMALE on-screen participant. Not male.
  • Filmmakers should have a clear plan for transcription and translation into English.
  • We are also interested in having the class and socioeconomic status of our on-screen participants defy traditional stereotypes, i.e. we welcome proposals for higher-income individuals in lower-income countries and vice-versa.
  • What is a “life in transit”? Contact us to see if your idea might fit. It’s ok to list multiple options in your inquiry form. Here are our top priorities at this stage in the series:
    • workers in the airline industry such as a pilot or flight attendant (of particular interest)
    • taxi driver
    • autorickshaw driver
    • pedi-rickshaw driver

Submit a Producer Inquiry

Submit a Crew Member Inquiry

Global Lives Collective and staff members are excited to communicate with interested filmmakers about their ideas over email or Skype. Please contact us with any questions at Also, see our blog post about producing one of the first ten GLP shoots.

Lives in Transit is a project of the Global Lives Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. Lives in Transit is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and hundreds of individual donors like you.

We’re looking forward to hearing about you and your ideas for a Global Lives Project shoot. As a volunteer producer, you will be contributing towards our library of life experience which is exhibited in various forms around the world. Please complete a preliminary filmmaker inquiry using the form below. If your shoot is time-sensitive, please indicate this in the "shoot dates" section below. We thank you for your interest!
  • Please include city and country
  • Please include country code
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Please also explain how you plan to stabilize your camera and shots. This is vital to a successful Lives in Transit shoot.
  • Whom have you selected to feature in your shoot and why? Tell us about your participant's demographics (age, location, gender, marital status), occupation, religion, family, community and language(s). What is your relationship with this person and what is your relationship with his/her community? If you haven't yet picked an individual, describe the general characteristics of the participant you plan to seek out and his/her community.
  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Who are the key members of your production team and what will their roles be? If possible, include a short bio of each person, their websites and contact information.
  • The full proposal requires a translation lead for every shoot. This can be a crew member or a partner organization (university, language school etc)
  • Lives in Transit shoot production must be completed by July 1, 2016, and post-production by August 2016. Extensions may be available depending on seasons etc.
  • Use command+click (mac) or control+click (windows) to select more than one.

*Due to US law, we will lamentably not be able to send financial support to crews working in North Korea, though we still encourage submissions and can advise producers on how to execute shoots at minimal cost.