National Film Board of Canadas Montrea Mila

NFB, Mila collabore to boost artists, AI research community

eAwaz Entertainment

Montreal – Together, art and science can generate projects of almost limitless potential, mutually nurturing creation and research and pushing back the frontiers of experimentation and knowledge. This is the goal of a new partnership between the National Film Board of Canada’s Montreal-based Interactive Studio and Mila, the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, which brings together more than 1,000 researchers specialized in deep learning.

Since its founding in 2009, the NFB French Program Interactive Studio has harnessed data and technology to amplify artists’ creative spaces and support them in their explorations of a new storytelling grammar. From Stir (2017, Rebecca Lieberman and Julia Irwin, part of the Very Very Short collection) and Do Not Track (2015, Brett Gaylor), to Megaphone (2013, Moment Factory and NFB) and, more recently, CHOM5KY vs CHOMSKY (Sandra Rodriguez, 2022), which will have its world premiere in Berlin on November 4, as well as The Sound of Laughter (Étienne Paquette, in development since 2018), a growing number of NFB projects employ AI while addressing highly relevant social issues.

“With this partnership, the Interactive Studio is putting creators at the centre of its decision making, in keeping with the NFB’s Strategic Plan, and working to broaden the field of possibilities, decompartmentalize practices and provide stimulating access to applied knowledge, in order to help open up an expansive space for creation and experimentation.” − Louis-Richard Tremblay, Executive Producer, NFB French Program Interactive Studio

“AI has the potential to allow creators to approach large databases, especially visual and audio, from new angles. Mila intends to be even more involved in the cultural sphere and this partnership with the NFB, a leading institution in this sector, is an important step in that direction.” – Stéphane Létourneau, Executive Vice President at Mila.

“I feel like this [The Sound of Laughter] is a beautiful application of my research. It’s hard to build a system that can touch a large amount of people, beyond a small community of researchers. Actually, making art, supporting creators is one of the closest applications we can make of generative models [like in this case a gan (generative adversarial network)]. This project is a beautiful proof of concept that we can already, today, support new creations and tell new stories with these models.” − Gauthier Gidel, Assistant Professor at Université de Montréal, Core Academic Member of Mila and a Canada CIFAR AI Chair, during the conference Bringing Technology Closer to People: How UX Is at the Heart of the Reflection, presented by the NFB at EAI 2022