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One of the longest strikes in Hollywood history ended recently with a victory for writers and actors who won protections against job-threatening uses of artificial intelligence in the filmmaking process. But Expo City Dubai is embracing the creative potential of the tool with its inaugural Artificial Intelligence Film Festival.

“Through the AI film festival, we are exploring the relationship between creativity and technology, between human ingenuity and artificial intelligence. We recognize that AI plays a role in supporting the understanding, emotional depth and imagination that artists exclusively possess,” says Magd Zoroob, senior vice president of Future Technologies, Expo City Dubai.

“AI opens the door to enthusiasts who may have previously found the industry inaccessible by giving them the tools to supplement and enhance their creativity,” Zoroob adds.

The film festival jury reviewed entries from around the world and narrowed the list to 10 finalists. Members of the public are invited to weigh in on the shortlisted films for a People’s Choice award.

In addition to showcasing finished films, the festival also hosts workshops for aspiring filmmakers as well as discussions about ethical uses of the technology, Zoroob says.

“We are looking for creators who strike a balance and use AI tools to enhance their creativity, bringing it to life in new and exciting ways, while also respecting copyright laws and regulations,” he adds.

Finalists are:

“Buyer Beware” by Christian Fleischer (Germany): In a last-ditch attempt to save his career, a dodgy salesman tries to sell the Earth to aliens, but they refuse his offer, triggering an eruptive event to save humanity.
“The Enfilade of Worlds” by Artem Golenkov (UAE): An exploration of the lives of those who have traveled between worlds – eternal wanderers who have witnessed wonders but lost their homes and identities along the way.
“The Final Ascent” by Emad Khalid (Pakistan): After surviving an avalanche, a lone mountaineer hears a mysterious voice guiding him to the summit.
“My Word” by Carme Puche Moré (Spain): Who defines who we are? What happens when images betray our words? How do we survive in a world that constantly misunderstands us? Follow in the steps of a woman on a journey to define herself.
“One More Pumpkin” by Hansl von Kwon (Republic of Korea): An elderly couple farming pumpkins in a rural Korean village are rumoured to have lived more than 200 years. Once the messengers of death hear about this, they visit the couple to investigate.
“Oracle” by Thibaud and Claire Zamora (France): Dive into the adventures of the Oracle’s guardians as we follow three inseparable friends on their perilous journey, where each step unveils a secret world with challenges to overcome.
“PLSTC” by Laen Sanches (Netherlands): Welcome to the world of PLSTC, an undersea dystopia that submerges you in the disturbing reality of plastic pollution in our oceans. The film confronts the devastating consequences of our habits on marine life.
“The Sad Clown Pagliacci” by Alessandro Carnevale (Switzerland): A sad clown born and raised in a traveling circus decides to leave and follow his dreams.
“The Seed” by Daniel Ortiz (Spain): A solitary man, haunted by a pervasive sense of detachment, shares his troubles with an attentive bartender and seeks solace and answers from his psychiatrist and an enigmatic woman.
“TRETA” by Francesco Siro (Italy): A dreamy fable, full of symbolism, where man is unconsciously controlled by an evil jester, while in another mysterious dimension an advanced civilization of sentient beings lines up for battle.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony Feb. 28 at Expo City Dubai. Film fans can view the finalists and vote here.

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