In a radical new announcement, Tribeca Film Festival has announced a programme of five original short films—nothing out of the ordinary there—except that this programme is in partnership with OpenAI, and the films have been made using their text-to-video AI “Sora”!

CEO of Tribeca Enterprises Jane Rosenthal states that “Tribeca is rooted in the foundational belief that storytelling inspires change,” and this new form of filmmaking is almost the reverse of that statement: change inspiring storytelling. You can see the capabilities of “Sora” right now, as Paul Trillo recently directed the music video for Washed Out’s “The Hardest Part” using the model, something which has provoked intense debates from all sides about the place for AI in the modern artistic landscape.

What is clear is that Tribeca is serious about this project, selecting five innovative and diverse filmmakers, wanting to present the very best this AI model has to offer. They include Bonnie Discepolo, who’s had films premiere at Tribeca previously in addition to SXSW and Fantastic Fest, Cameroonian American filmmaker Ellie Foumbi, whose debut “Our Father, the Devil” was nominated for both Independent Spirit and Gotham awards, and Nikyaty Jusu, the director behind 2022’s “Nanny,” which was the first horror film to win the Sundance Grand Jury prize and received a coveted Criterion Collection release. Reza Sixo Safri, an Iranian-American filmmaker, who has also won awards at Sundance and has previous experience in the realm of AI, helping to create the first AI feature-length film, and Michaela Ternasky-Holland, an Emmy-award winning director, round out the five filmmakers selected for the programme.

Whether this project marks a huge step forward for the medium or a hollow attempt to cash in on the latest trend, it is certainly an intriguing novelty. It is sure to fire up debate and draw eyes towards the film festival at the end of the month. The short films will debut on June 15th, followed by a talk from the filmmakers regarding their efforts to bring stories to life in boundary-pushing, innovative ways.

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