AI Music Video ‘Étoile filante’ Booed by Annecy Crowds

France’s Annecy Animation Festival opened on Sunday, and among the event’s first activities was a screening of titles from the Commission Films in Competition Lineup. During the projection, the French music video for Chien Méchant’s “Étoile filante,” produced using generative artificial intelligence software, earned the extraordinary distinction of being booed by the Annecy audience.

According to the French VFX, animation and gaming website 3DVF, which was at the screening, all of the other titles presented during the event received applause of varying degrees. When the “Étoile Filante” video – directed by Kelzang Ravach and produced by Temple Caché and Mélusine Caillau – finished, a few people clapped, but most of the audience remained silent while “some spectators started booing the clip.”

Made up mostly of animation students and professionals, Annecy crowds, packed by students from some of the best animation schools in Europe, generally express very little cynicism towards films playing at the festival. Audiences will applaud nearly anything that screens if only to show their support for the tremendous amount of work that goes into creating an animated film.

So, a competition title, especially a French competition title, being booed by the majority of the hometown audience is an exceptional occurrence and one that may be repeated throughout the week.

When Annecy unveiled this year’s lineups in late April, word quickly got out about the inclusion of Ryo Nakajima’s “Who Said Death is Beautiful?”, a 68-minute Japanese feature that used the Stable Diffusion AI software during development, alongside other techniques such as VR, motion capture and virtual camera shooting with a tablet.

After the film’s inclusion went viral, Annecy’s artistic director Marcel Jean released a statement about the decision to include films made with AI, explaining “It is important to be attentive to the evolution of things and to react with the discernment, sensitivity, and artistic sense that justify our presence within the selection committees.”

Critics of the decision argue that image-generating software has illegally been trained using copyrighted materials, and therefore, showcasing titles that used those programs in development or production is no different than celebrating theft.

Whether Annecy audiences agree with the festival’s justification remains to be seen, but based on Sunday night’s commissioned film screenings, it seems unlikely.

Read Jean’s full statement below, translated from French:

Firstly, we have no rule prohibiting the use of artificial intelligence. In this matter, as in many others, it is important to be attentive to the evolution of things and to react with the discernment, sensitivity, and artistic sense that justify our presence within the selection committees. Rules prevent us from having to think further, whereas the arrival of AI in creation precisely raises a series of questions that require reflection.

Last year, we selected the short film “Algodreams” by Australian filmmaker Vladimir Todorovic in the Off-Limits competitive section. In 2021, this filmmaker had also won the Prize for this section for his previous film, “Tunable Mimoid.· Todorovic precisely used AI in his film to highlight the mechanisms of creation.

This year – and this is no surprise – we are receiving a greater number of works using AI. The majority of them do not deceive: it is quickly noticed that there is no vision, no thought, no singular sensitivity behind the use of the technology. However, a minority of these works seek to embark on a fertile path. These works provoke questioning that we must share with the public, with the industry, with the juries… Hence the selection of what seems to us the most relevant, the most capable of stimulating or provoking debates.

We also notice that music videos, due to the speed of their production and the often modest budgets allocated to their production, are the ideal breeding ground for AI. Artists seem to turn to technology because they are constantly asked to propose new imagery, to do it quickly and at a lower cost. In the end, this often results in imagery that is very dated, exposing its limits, to the point where we will probably be able to say, in a few years, during which specific quarter of 2023 this music video was produced…

Marcel Jean – Artistic Director, Annecy Festival

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.