OpenAI’s Sora to Debut 5 Original Shorts Made Using AI at Tribeca Film Festival

Participating filmmakers include Bonnie Discepolo, Ellie Foumbi, Nikyatu Jusu, Reza Sixo Safai and Michaela Ternasky-Holland

he 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the Tribeca Film Festival Box Office on April 10, 2012 in New York City.
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OpenAI’s Sora will make its Tribeca Film Festival debut on June 15 as part of a new program that will showcase five original short films made with the text-to-video AI model. 

The artificial intelligence organization educated a group of TFF alumni about its tools and gave them early access to Sora to create a film on their own terms in only a few weeks. The filmmakers were required to adhere to the terms of the agreements negotiated with the DGA, WGA and SAG last year with respect to the use of AI, regardless of whether the films fell under the purview of such guilds.

“Tribeca is rooted in the foundational belief that storytelling inspires change. Humans need stories to thrive and make sense of our wonderful and broken world,” Tribeca Enterprises cofounder and CEO Jane Rosenthal said in a statement. “Sometimes these stories come to us as a feature film, an immersive experience, a piece of art or even an AI-generated short film. I can’t wait to see what this group of fiercely creative Tribeca alumni come up with.”

The participating filmmakers include Bonnie Discepolo, Ellie Foumbi, Nikyatu Jusu, Reza Sixo Safai and Michaela Ternasky-Holland.

Discepolo is a filmmaker and actor who writes and directs genre films about women’s bodily autonomy, which feature grounded characters in heightened or magical worlds. She is also interested in stories about time travel, metaphysics and climate change. Her films have played at Tribeca, SXSW, Fantastic Fest, Overlook Film Festival and many more and she is an alum of “Rebel Without a Crew the Series.” In addition to writing and directing, Discepolo is an actor who can be seen on “Fire Country,” “Chicago Med,” “Shazam: Fury of the Gods,” and Robert Rodriguez’s “Hypnotic.”

Foumbi is an award-winning Cameroonian-American filmmaker, alumna of Berlinale Talents and AFTA Breakthrough USA Fellow whose debut feature, “Our Father, the Devil,” screened at over 50 international film festivals, went on to win several prizes and was nominated for Independent Spirit and Gotham awards.

Jusu is an independent writer, director and tenured film and video professor at George Mason University, whose short films have screened at festivals nationally and internationally. Her films include “Suicide by Sunlight” and her feature debut “Nanny” was the first horror film to win the Sundance Grand Jury Prize (U.S. Dramatic). Jusu is currently in development on her follow-up feature film.

Safai is an Iranian-American filmmaker whose credits include the short film “The Mario Valdez Story,” which won second prize at Cannes, and “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” which he produced and costarred in. He also appeared in the Sundance-winning “Circumstance” and worked on the post-apocalyptic samurai western “Prisoners of the Ghostland” and an Iranian reimagining of “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.”

Ternasky-Holland is a Peabody-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director who specializes in creating socially impactful stories using immersive and interactive technology. She was recently nominated for the Producers Guild of America’s Innovation Award and her past work has been curated by top institutions and festivals, such as the New York Public Library, Museum of the Moving Image, Nobel Peace Center, The United Nations, Venice International Film Festival, SXSW and the Tribeca Festival.

The partnership with Tribeca comes as OpenAI recently struck licensing agreements with Vox Media, The Atlantic, People owner DotDash Meredith and NewsCorp.

Following the screening, Tribeca and OpenAI will host a conversation with the filmmakers about the importance of artists pushing boundaries, challenging ideas and bringing stories to life in innovative ways.

“It’s great to see how these filmmakers are extending their creativity with Sora, and we are honored for their works to debut at the Tribeca Festival,” OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap said. “We’re excited for their short films and eager to learn how we can make Sora a better tool for all creatives.”

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