The Tribeca Festival in New York City recently showcased five original short films created using a new text-to-video platform powered by artificial intelligence, sparking discussions about AI’s role in the future of filmmaking.

Known for hosting numerous screenings, discussion panels, speaker series, and immersive experiences, the Tribeca Festival is one of the largest spring film festivals.

OpenAI provided early access to its program called Sora to five filmmakers, enabling them to generate short videos based on textual descriptions or prompts. Award-winning virtual reality filmmaker Michaela Ternasky-Holland was among the chosen directors, creating an AI-based short film titled “Thank You, Mom” for this year’s festival.

Ternasky-Holland’s SORA Short “Thank You, Mom” offers an autobiographical glimpse into her experience growing up as the daughter of a widow navigating her grief journey. The production involved a team of eight individuals, including animators, voiceover talent, and a composer.

During an interview at Onassis ONX Studio, Ternasky-Holland highlighted the use of AI technology, emphasizing its potential to enhance storytelling while acknowledging the importance of human connection in the creative process.

While Sora served as the foundation for the production, Ternasky-Holland mentioned utilizing editing programs like Adobe Premiere for refining the visual elements. She sees the integration of AI technology in filmmaking as a natural progression in the industry’s evolution.

The festival further explored the theme of AI with the premiere of the documentary “How I Faked My Life with AI” directed by Kyle Vorbach, prompting discussions on human connection in a technology-driven world. Vorbach questioned the essence of humanity in art generated by AI, pondering its impact on storytelling and emotional resonance.

As debates on the use of AI in filmmaking continue, both the Writers Guild of America East and the Directors Guild of America declined to comment when approached by NBC New York. The exploration of AI’s potential in storytelling and filmmaking remains ongoing, offering new perspectives on creativity and innovation.

NBC New York and Telemundo 47 are proud partners of the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival.


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