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Kevin Macdonald tells story of Christmas in a Day with new film for Sainsbury’s

The idea of a TV clip becoming a major news story isn’t a new one and around Christmas time each year there is usually one standout offering from a major brand that catches the public’s imagination. This goes on to become something set in the memory as defining that particular festive season.

This year it is sure to be Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day film, which is actually a 45-minute festive movie Directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Scott Free Films and Ridley Scott Associates.

Red Christmas present
By Petr  Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons


Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald takes inspiration from his own film ‘Life In A Day’ to create the amazing new work, which is made up from 360 hours of crowd sourced festive footage.

Macdonald, who is also known for his films Touching The Void and The Last King of Scotland, said of the project:

“I was overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm of the people up and down the country, from every walk of life, who filmed their Christmas and shared it with us.”


The idea for a full film, from which TV ads will be edited and for which an online trailer has already proved extremely popular, came about as an offshoot from Macdonald’s Life in a Day, which was also a crowd-sourced film.

However, the differences between the new work and his previous effort are marked, according to the director:

“It was completely unlike any film that I had made before, and it really was an experiment in creating the opportunity to hear and see ordinary people share their lives, their loves and their fears,’ said Macdonald.

“While we were working on it (the original film) we kept talking about what an “in a day” film might be like if we could just choose a particular day that was already significant to people, and thought it had to be Christmas, because it is the one time in the year when everyone steps back from ordinary life for a day and we get to stop and think about our lives in a way that we are all just too busy to during the rest of the year,” he explained.

Crowd sourced

Over 360 hours of footage was provided by members of the public, giving a unique insight into how a wide range of people prepare to celebrate Christmas and how much it means to them and their families.

“There are so many experiences which are common to so many of us, rituals and preparations, being with family and friends, or being alone, it was all there in the contributions that people sent in. I feel that the film stands out for many reasons, it is funny, moving, often beautifully shot, but above all there is beauty in the ordinariness of it,” offered Macdonald.


Although many major brands attempt to take the plaudits with their own Christmas campaigns, there can be little doubt that this year it is Sainsbury’s effort that will be the one people remember.

With a cinema release for the full version across the UK on 29 November and a subsequent cut down version shown across a wide range of media, the images of families set to a soundtrack of ‘Deck The Halls’ has the strap-line “The moments that make Christmas special”.

“I am immensely thankful to everyone who took part and to Sainsbury’s for making the film possible,” Macdonald concluded and so will you be once you watch the video online now.

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