The Second Annual HOLL·AI·WOOD AI Film and AI Games Festival

The second annual HOLL·AI·WOOD AI Film and AI Games Festival took place in San Francisco on Tuesday night, providing a glimpse into the future of both passive and interactive entertainment. The event, organized by Fable Studios CEO Edward Saatchi, saw over 300 attendees from the AI, cinema, and gaming industries gather at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema. The festival featured a panel discussion on AI games, with speakers from notable companies including Andreessen Horowitz, Pixar, Inworld AI, Google AI, Pika Labs, PAC Capital, CRV VC, First Spark Capital, and Pillars Films.

Jack Soslow, partner at A16z, declared during the gaming panel: “There’s no better time for AI than now.”

Scott Lighthiser at Pillars Films also shared his perspective: “I see a lot of potential in CG characters being piloted by AI agents.”

HOLL·AI·WOOD was first launched last year, showcasing experiments and demos in the emerging field of AI cinema. This year, the festival featured full complex short films created using tools such as Runway, Pika, and PILLARS-1. In addition to films, the festival also presented previews of upcoming playable AI games.

According to Saatchi, about a third of the films shown were shot traditionally with AI elements, while the rest were entirely generated by AI. He stated, “I would consider only those films to be true AI movies.”

The festival team established a set of rules to define true AI films: “similar to the filmmaking rule set Dogme 95) to help people have a feeling for where we draw the line of a true AI film, rather than simply using AI in a way that’s similar to VFX.”

Throughout the event, attendees were able to experience a variety of films and games:

  • Hidden Door: presented a social roleplaying experience based on an AI-powered Dungeons and Dragons game, using the royalty-free property The Wizard of Oz to generate AI-created narratives.
  • Geppetto’s Workshop: a Garry’s Mod-style game set in the 1890s, allowing players to collaborate with an AI-powered Geppetto to build characters, sets, and create short films or game experiences.
  • Starlight Labs: showcased a top-down 2D AI simulation game, where AI characters in a small village make emergent plans.
  • Exit Valley: an AI-created TV show from The Simulation, providing a satirical AITV show called “Exit Valley” powered by a living simulation of San Francisco: Sim Francisco.
  • Looking Glass: an FPS horror game where NPCs are aware of the real world and plan to invade it, drawing inspiration from Doctor Strangelove to highlight the potential dangers of AI.
  • The Red: an AI horror film by Pillars, targeting to be the first AI feature narrative film for cinemas, utilizing Pillars’ in-house text-to-video model trained solely on horror themes.
  • White Mirror: an upcoming AI feature film anthology featuring short films made with various AI tools, exploring the theme of the relationship between man and machine across different time periods.
  • The Metamorphosis: a funny and disturbing AI short film adaptation of Franz Kafka’s famous story, visually capturing the protagonist’s transformation into a giant cockroach.
  • I’m Here 17.12.22 5:44: a heartwrenching and personal story about childbirth, with AI-generated imagery adding an impressionistic touch to the narrative.
  • Porco Dio: a short film powered by Pillars’ in-house text-to-video model PILLARS-1, which takes a horror-centric approach in its AI creation.
  • Inworld AI: presented a demo showcasing the power of dialogue between humans and NPCs to solve crimes, previously showcased at the Game Developers Conference.
  • Thank You For Not Answering: a surrealistic short film using AI to modify live-action characters into amorphous and soupy forms, accompanied by a powerful voiceover.
  • Absolve: an AI-constructed romp through a European museum, warping art into strange and unusual images.

The second AI Films festival marked a new beginning for film and technology, with panels full of excitement and enthusiasm from filmmakers and game companies. This growing industry aims to enhance traditional human filmmaking and game-making practices rather than replace them. The possibilities of AI in shaping the future of entertainment are both fascinating and promising.

Edward Saatchi will also be speaking on an AI panel at GamesBeat Next.

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