Private Project

A Body Called Life

A self-isolated young human 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 universe and accept the scars of his past.

“A Body Called Life” is a film about this human named James, made in collaboration with James, with a screenplay adapted from the actual Instagram posts of James, and starring James as James. It is an experiment in storytelling, about finding meaning in life by observing other little lives, in a universe more mysterious than we can ever know.

  • Spencer MacDonald
    Scarlet Medusa
  • Spencer MacDonald
    Scarlet Medusa
  • James Weiss
    Key Cast
    "James Weiss"
  • Dan Deacon
    Strawberry Mansion, All Light Everywhere, Rat Film, Ascension
  • Pascal Duschletta
  • Fabian Kimoto
    Soul of a Beast
  • Dalia Burde
    Executive Producer
    Mountain Queen
  • Lea Fee
    Executive Producer
  • Amani King
    Creative Director
    Mountain Queen
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Science, Microbes, trauma
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 4, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Polish, Turkish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Spencer MacDonald

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 the human and more-than-human worlds. 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 of the largest media outlets in the world, including The Atlantic, National Geographic, Vice, and Vimeo's "Best of the Year". When not making films, he likes to ride his bicycle.

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Director Statement

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 in space 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 don’t feel how extraordinary it actually is. A Body Called Life is an attempt to momentarily re-enchant audiences with a glimpse into normally invisible wonders of the natural world, through the lens of someone who has been able to process c-PTSD through a tender connection with these creatures.