At the Sundance Film Festival, spotlight on artificial intelligence

As an actors’ strike concerning the place of AI in cinema comes to an end, the independent film festival is giving pride of place to the subject that is shaking Hollywood.

Artificial intelligence, as a technology and a theme, will be the center of attention in January at the Sundance film festival in the US Rockies, alongside Hollywood stars like Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg. The program for this independent film festival, unveiled on Wednesday, includes a musical film “generative» offering a different version each time it is broadcast and documentaries about people wanting to use artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with loved ones after death.

AI is going to be an interesting part of the festival this year», ured AFP its programming director Kim Yutani. “In preparing for the festival, it was striking to note thatshe kept coming up in the films and our discussions.» Already very present in the cinema industry, this technology and its consequences were at the heart of the demands of the screenwriters’ and actors’ unions during their respective strikes, which seized up the Hollywood machine for several months this year.

Among the films that will be shown in Park City, in the mountains of Utah, Eno explores the career of musician Brian Eno thanks to a “generative engine» which offers an almost infinite number of versions of the film by embling from hundreds of possible scenes. “A film that is never the same twice… It’s something new», Underlined the new festival director Eugene Hernandez.

Still in the vein of AI, Love Machina is a documentary that follows the efforts of a couple to perpetuate the love that binds them beyond their death, by transferring their consciousness to a humanoid called Bina48, whileEternal You follows start-ups that want to create avatars that people would use, for a fee, to stay in touch with their loved ones after their death.

A star-studded selection

Some 90 programs have been selected for this 2024 edition, from January 18 to 28, of the festival co-founded by Robert Redford, including 85 world premieres. Among them, two feature films with Kristen Stewartwhich Kim Yutani predicts will be “two of the films that will be the most talked about during the festival“. In Love Lies Bleedingthe former star of Twilight plays a gym manager whose relationship with a bi bodybuilder goes awry. She is also featured in Love mea film mysteriously presented as a love story “between a buoy and a satellite» in a post-human world. “I won’t say morequipped the programming director. That’s all we knew about this movie before we pressed play“.

Jesse Eisenberg is also starring twice: as director and actor in A Real Pain and as an actor in Sasquatch Sunset, two films with family ties as a backdrop. In The OutrunIrish-American actress Saoirse Ronan plays an alcoholic who leaves London for the wild beauty of the Scottish archipelago of Orkney.

Director Richard Linklater will present Hitmanthe story of a somewhat prim professor who turns into a fake in, and the documentary series God Save Texasportrait of his hometown, Huntsville, where there is a huge penitentiary.

A few months before the presidential election in the United States, and a few days after the first Republican primaries in Iowa, the documentary War Game will bring to the screen an unscripted role-playing game involving real American officials who must respond to a coup d’état after a disputed election. “It’s clearly disturbing to know that these games can be very close to reality», remarked Eugene Hernandez. “In this election year, this type of subject will allow for more in-depth debates“.

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