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Berlinale 2024 - EFM

Dossier industrie: Nouveaux médias

L'EFM explore les applications de l'IA en matière d'audience design pour les documentaires

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BERLINALE 2024 : Un groupe d'experts ont fourni une présentation exhaustive des différentes applications possibles des outils IA pour toucher son public cible

L'EFM explore les applications de l'IA en matière d'audience design pour les documentaires
Un moment du panel

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

The European Film Market Industry Session titled "AI for Audience Design in Documentary'' aimed to explore the diverse applications of AI beyond the conventional realms of generative AI in filmmaking. Rather than solely focus on filmmaking techniques, the discussion centred on the potential of AI to transform audience engagement and marketing strategies within the realm of documentary filmmaking. Led by Joanna Solecka, film marketing expert and head of Alphapanda Warsaw, the session brought together leading figures in the field to explore how AI could deepen connections with viewers, enrich storytelling, and forge meaningful relationships, thereby bringing filmmakers' visions to life in compelling ways.

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Niels Alberg, co-founder of PUBLIKUM from Denmark, provided a detailed examination of AI-enhanced anthropology in filmmaking, emphasising its role in early script development for both fiction and documentary projects. Alberg outlined a meticulous process involving initial analysis of the project's vision, followed by the selection of relevant societal topics for investigation using AI tools. These tools were employed to sift through large volumes of discussions, discerning emotional responses and societal attitudes towards chosen topics. This preliminary analysis informed subsequent in-depth interviews and discussions with 30 participants over a week, yielding qualitative insights crucial for shaping narrative, character development, and thematic exploration. Alberg presented a case study of the fiction film Stardust set in Iceland, where AI analysis uncovered themes of control, youth attitudes towards adulthood, and evolving perceptions of nature, providing valuable insights for script development and thematic exploration.

The second phase involved mobile ethnography, with participants providing qualitative inputs, offering diverse perspectives on the narrative, particularly regarding the portrayal of nature and character expectations. Alberg highlighted the challenge of reconciling different audience interpretations, underscoring the collaborative process where AI serves as a tool to inform and enrich creative decision-making, rather than dictating the storyline. Overall, Alberg's presentation elucidated a nuanced methodology seamlessly integrating AI insights with human creativity to enhance storytelling in filmmaking.

Sami Arpa, CEO of Largo.ai, elucidated the capabilities of their platform, primarily utilising predictive AI with elements of generative AI. Their tool generated patterns of content, incorporating genres, target age groups, expected audience emotions, and more, aiding in casting, character development, and financial projections for box office and streaming success. Arpa demonstrated examples of documentaries analysed for expected audience emotions, aiding in content positioning, and provided insights into audience demographics and streaming forecasts for various countries. Their fairway calculation offered a negotiating tool for platforms based on expected audience engagement and revenue potential, presenting a comprehensive approach to leveraging AI for content creation and distribution strategies.

Paul Rieth, strategist, speaker, and author from GET YOUR CROWD in Germany, provided insights into audience design and its integration with AI. Rieth emphasised the importance of defining project goals early on, collaborating with film teams to analyse themes, emotions, and character biographies to align with filmmaker intentions and project goals. Employing methodologies like design thinking and brainstorming, audience designers iterated strategies in a collaborative and agile environment. Rieth envisioned AI as a supportive "copilot" aiding in data analysis, text generation, and image creation to enhance early-stage branding and testing processes. He highlighted his involvement in academia, experimenting with various AI tools to optimise audience engagement strategies and project development. Rieth emphasised AI's role in refining audience design methodologies, allowing for more informed decision-making and strategic planning in film production.

Enrica Capra, CEO of Graffiti Film in Italy, brought a refreshing perspective to the panel, representing passionate documentary producers who prioritise engaging subjects over technological considerations. Capra expressed optimism about AI's potential to enhance their work but stressed the importance of preserving the uniqueness and novelty of documentary storytelling. She advocated for cooperation between filmmakers and technologists to ensure that new perspectives effectively reach their audience, without succumbing to formulaic approaches.

In response to Solecka's query regarding the ideal timing for documentary producers to engage with AI and audience tools, panellists offered nuanced perspectives. Alberg emphasised starting at the passion-driven inception of a project, encouraging alignment with audience interests without necessitating conformity to prevailing discussions. Arpa highlighted the significance of early engagement, even at the treatment stage, for effective content positioning and audience targeting. Rieth underscored the importance of defining project goals at the outset, asserting that audience design strategies can adapt throughout a film's lifecycle. He acknowledged the challenge of building trust with filmmakers but emphasised that audience designers aim to enhance rather than alter their vision, advocating for mutual understanding and collaboration between filmmakers and technologists.

In the final round of discussion, panellists emphasised the importance of human interaction in audience engagement despite the availability of AI tools for data visualisation and analysis. Rieth underscored the necessity of reaching out to audiences, building connections, and creating impact, particularly in documentaries. He acknowledged the role of AI but stressed the need for a hybrid approach, combining data analytics with human-driven audience design strategies. The conversation highlighted the ongoing relevance of audience designers in the filmmaking process, despite advancements in AI technology.

Following this, one of the Dutch producers of Stardust shared firsthand experience with financing audience design services through collaborations with film funds and agencies like Publikum. He emphasised the benefits of incorporating audience design into development budgets and leveraging funding sources like Creative Europe or co-development funds. Rieth reflected on the challenges faced by documentary producers, particularly regarding access to funding for audience design services, and encouraged a flexible approach to accommodate varying budget sizes and project needs, urging funders to consider supporting audience design initiatives.

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