Generative film could make movies infinitely rewatchable

What if each time you watched a movie, it played out differently? That’s the idea behind generative film, a new genre that some filmmakers are starting to experiment with. The idea is to use AI to mix up scenes and create completely different versions of the same movie each time it is played.

So far, there’s only been one film created like this—at least that we know of—and that’s a new documentary called Eno. The film is a “generative documentary” designed to take audiences on a deep dive into legendary music industry icon Brian Eno’s career. The kicker is that nobody will ever see the same film as you unless they’re watching it right there in the same room.

Headed by Gary Hustwit, the generative film is set to release sometime this year, and Hustwit says that it has an astonishing 52 quintillion variations. It’s crazy to think that a movie could have so many different versions—and that all those versions are going to be created by AI whenever the movie starts.

There are, of course, some really big implications here. And it’s likely that this kind of AI usage won’t work in other types of film—I can’t imagine something like Avengers playing very well with an AI that just throws scenes in wherever it wants them to go.

A documentary like Eno, though, where you’re mostly dealing with interviews and clips, probably has a bit more wiggle room, and I can definitely see the appeal behind making something that is unique and interesting to help highlight such a revolutionary icon in the music industry.

That said, there are still growing concerns about the part AI and generative film as a whole will play in the film industry going forward. So far, though, the response to the documentary has seen it well received. I guess only time will tell just how far AI bleeds into the film industry, and whether or not that’s a good thing.

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