Could Artificial Intelligence Spell the End of Independent Filmmaking?


The following essay was produced as part of the 2019 Locarno Critics Academy, a workshop for aspiring film critics that took place during the 72nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival. Artificial intelligence is everywhere: It can drive a car, chat with customers, or help patients with neuronal damage to recover their potential. But if data-assisted moviemaking can help predict a movie's outcome, what room is there left for artistic freedom? At this year's Locarno Film Festival, Sami Arpa, CEO and co-founder of Largo Films, a startup based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and creator of the LargoAI technology, shared his insight about the evolution of this maybe-not-so-unnatural union. At Locarno last year to present, a VOD service for short films, Arpa recalled, "I was approached by industry professionals, mostly producers and distributors, who asked me if the AI developed for sofy could be used for their own purposes, to help them predict a movie's outcome. A few directors also approached me, although they were much more skeptical at first."

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