Arts & Entertainment

First ever AI International Film Festival coming to Park City next month

PARK CITY, Utah — Move over Sundance, an innovative new film festival is making its way to the Wasatch Back.

The AI International Film Festival will showcase 49 films from 20 countries produced by artificial intelligence (AI), or focused on the societal effects of AI. The festival will take place May 11-14 at the Metropolitan Redstone 8 Cinemas in Park City.

Bert Holland, the executive director of the AI International Film Festival, has been interested in the development for AI for several years. He began to contemplate hosting an AI film festival back in December 2021, and was surprised by the way the film community has embraced the idea.

“I was really surprised by the level of interest and the quality of films that came in,” Holland said. “The number of films coming in is pretty amazing. The last little while we’re getting up to about one film a day in terms of how many people are submitting, and the quality of the films is surprising.”

Although the films that will be screened all involve AI in some capacity, they cover a wide variety of subjects and genres. “Anima Possession,” a short film in Cantonese Chinese by Wai Mo Chan, follows a human-humanoid pair of lovers attempting to mend their relationship. “Artificial Justice,” a documentary feature film in Spanish by Simon Casal De Miguel, explores the role of AI within the Spanish justice system.

“I think there are two sides to this, there will be some viewers who will be really excited about the developments of AI and ChatGPT and things that are happening in our society today and the future of it,” said Madelaine Lamah, communications director for the AI International Film Festival. “And then there are some people who will be freaked out thinking whoa, what is happening? Where do we stand with everything?”

To Holland, hosting the festival in Park City was an obvious choice.

“I can’t tell you how excited these people are about coming to Park City… you don’t have to explain where Park City is, everybody already knows that,” said Holland. “So it’s great to have a venue that is already known and is in itself already an attraction to people, it’s made our jobs easier.”

The festival will include a panel workshop entitled “AI, GPT-4, and the Future of Humans,” which will be held on May 11 at Industry SLC. Speakers will include industry professionals, filmmakers, and faculty, who will discuss the impact of AI and GPT-4 on filmmaking, and society as a whole.

“The panel discussion serves two functions, one is to talk about where humanity is going with AI in an overall sense, and then where is this relevant for filmmaking,” Holland said. “We have an international filmmaker who’s gonna be joining us via Zoom from Germany, we have some research professors at the University of Utah, and some people from the film department at the University of Utah… we’re not prepared to announce the names yet.”

The festival will also host a student film contest open to Utah high school and college students. Participants in the GPT-4 / AI Student Film Contest are encouraged to make a 1-5 minute film of any genre, focused on the impact of GPT-4 and AI on society, or created using GPT-4 or AI technology in the production process.

The deadline for the competition is May 10, and the winner will receive over $1,000 in prize money, and have their film screened at the festival awards ceremony.

“The really special opportunity, which is why the students are so excited about this, is they get to see their work put on the big screen,” Holland said. “They’re going to be rubbing shoulders with international filmmakers.”

For more information on the AI International Film Festival or to purchase tickets, visit aifilmfest.org.

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