New Utah film festival focuses on the societal effects of AI

Festival passes for the AI International Film Festival, to be held in Park City, Salt Lake City, and online, are now available with early bird pricing. The festival showcases the most innovative films that explore the profound societal effects of GPT-4 and artificial intelligence, as well as films produced using AI technology. The event will showcase almost 60 films from 22 countries.

The event begins with an expert panel on May 11 at the University of Utah. In-person screenings will take place May 12 through 14 at the Metropolitan Redstone Cinemas in Park City, Utah.

The festival’s founder, Bert Holland, has been working on the idea for six years.

“With my former employer, I got involved with sponsoring the TED conferences and was inspired by their mission to spread ideas that can change the world,” he told QSaltLake. “Back in 2017, I became interested in the effects artificial intelligence will have on society. I was invited to guest lecture at the University of Utah on that subject, and I founded The AI Project to try to raise public awareness.”

“In late 2021, I started the film festival on [film festival submission site] FilmFreeway as a means of spreading public awareness on the potential effects of AI on society and capturing filmmakers’ creativity and vision,” Holland said. “The response was far stronger than I expected. Our first festival was scheduled at the Post Theater at the University of Utah last July, but it was canceled when the university designated the theater as a Covid testing site.”

Holland says the festival offers a unique platform for filmmakers to push creative boundaries and delve into AI-related topics. Attendees can expect a mind-bending film written by ChatGPT with a deepfake actor, a spine-chilling horror flick about AI assistants gone rogue, and an eye-opening documentary on the role of AI in the justice system. Other films will explore human-humanoid romance and the topic of designer babies born through AI-assisted genetic manipulation.

In addition to film screenings, the festival will feature a panel workshop on May 11th with industry professionals, faculty, and filmmakers discussing the profound impact of GPT-4 and AI on society. The festival also announced a film contest for Utah high school and college students, offering over $1,000 in prize money and screening at the festival’s awards ceremony.

For those unable to attend in person, nearly 60 films will be streamed on smart TVs, phones, and other devices. Both virtual and in-person attendees will be encouraged to rate the films and vote for Audience Choice Awards in several categories. In-person attendees can participate in live audience discussions with international directors, actors, and crew.

“Filmmakers are flying in from other countries to take part, and other filmmakers will be participating via Zoom from overseas in the panel discussion and in the audience discussions,” Holland said.

Holland says the festival is committed to nurturing talent and providing opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. A number of talented and enthusiastic film students have joined the festival team, providing key skills central to its success while gaining invaluable experience and contacts.

Tickets and the schedule of events can be found at aifilmfest.org/festival-passes

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