Tribeca to Screen AI-Generated Short Films Created by OpenAI’s Sora

Short films generated by artificial intelligence are popping up at more and more film festivals, and the largest event yet is dedicating an entire section to AI-generated movies.

The 2024 Tribeca Festival announced Friday it will host Sora Shorts, a new program featuring five original short films all made using OpenAI’s text-to-video AI model Sora. It’s not the first time AI films have made their way to a major film festival, but it is the first time movies made with Sora have.

Sora still hasn’t been released to the public and is new even for the most seasoned AI filmmakers, but OpenAI gave the cohort of five directors early access to the program — so long as they each agreed to the filmmaking terms surrounding AI as negotiated last year with the DGA, WGA, and SAG-AFTRA guilds.

Nikyatu Jusu, the director of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Nanny,” is among the five filmmakers who will screen Sora-made movies at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 15 at the Tribeca Film Center Screening Room. The other filmmakers are Bonnie Discepolo, Ellie Foumbi, Reza Sixo Safai, and Michaela Ternasky-Holland. All five will participate in a panel discussion after the screening.

Discepolo is known as an actor on “Fire Country” and “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” and has had films play Tribeca, SXSW, and Fantastic Fest. Foumbi is a Cameroonian American filmmaker who made the debut feature “Our Father, the Devil” and earned an Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award nomination for it. Jusu is the director of 2022’s “Nanny” and is in development on her follow-up feature as produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw. Sixo Safai is an Iranian-American filmmaker known for the short “The Mario Valdez Story” and is a producer and co-star of “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” Ternasky-Holland is a Peabody nominee and Emmy winner who is a leader in the XR and metaverse space.

“Tribeca is rooted in the foundational belief that storytelling inspires change. Humans need stories to thrive and make sense of our wonderful and broken world,” the co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, Jane Rosenthal, said in a statement to press. “Sometimes these stories come to us as a feature film, an immersive experience, a piece of art, or even an AI-generated short film. I can’t wait to see what this group of fiercely creative Tribeca alumni come up with.”

“It’s great to see how these filmmakers are extending their creativity with Sora, and we are honored for their works to debut at the Tribeca Festival,” COO of OpenAI Brad Lightcap said. “We’re excited for their short films, and eager to learn how we can make Sora a better tool for all creatives.”

Sora is capable of videos of up to 60 seconds where other models could only manage clips of 6-8 seconds in length. It also allows for distinct camera moves, distinct background characters with subjects capable of interacting with others, a strong sense of its surroundings, the ability to view the same scene from different perspectives or with different backgrounds, and even the ability to trigger events at separate moments in time. But it does not have audio to allow for dialogue, it restricts any sex or violence, and some have argued it lacks some of the hallucinatory, surreal qualities that have defined other AI text-to-video models.

Sam Altman speaks onstage during A Year In TIME at The Plaza Hotel on December 12, 2023Getty Images for TIME

Sora and OpenAI have been especially polarizing in recent days. When Sora’s ability to generate hyper-realistic images — leaps and bounds beyond what other text-based models have been able to create — was first demonstrated, Tyler Perry said he would be putting an $800 million studio expansion project on hold fearing the number of jobs that would be lost to the technology.

The OpenAI company has also come under fire recently from Scarlett Johansson, who alleged CEO Sam Altman (pictured above) approached her about using her voice for the latest ChatGPT model, only to decline and see the company created a voice that sounds eerily like her. Altman has said the voice is not Johansson’s or meant to mimic Johansson, rather it is the natural speaking voice of a hired actress. He has also stated that the “Sky” voice was cast before OpenAI reached out to the “Black Widow” star.

Tribeca runs between June 5-16.

SOURCE: Indie Wire

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