by Tiffany Pritchard in Festivals & Events
on Feb 27, 2018 Artificial intelligence (AI), the blockchain and mixed reality were at the center of the recently completed Berlin Film Festival’s newly expanded Horizons section. Taking place within the European Film Market (EFM), the 2018 program’s focus on buzzy technological innovations bucked the predictions of some skeptics by drawing sold-out crowds and with several tech companies choosing the festival to launch their platforms. The continued expansion of virtual reality (VR) was also in discussion, with a wide range of projects, including the virtual behind-the-scenes of Wes Anderson’s opener Isle of Dogs, available for viewing in the festival’s inaugural VR cinema.

EFM Director Matthijs Wouter Knol explained at the event that the industry is in a digital transformation. Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, he said, will affect the way the film industry does business, and the way it will choose films to fund, buy or sell in the future.

“They [AI and blockchains] offer the possibility to rethink how systems are working and for us to find out if and how the involved changes are adaptable to the film industry,” he said. Bewildered yet curious filmmakers attended the blockchain workshop, where a range of startups and executives explained the fundamentals behind the decentralized system that uses cryptography to create and keep secure exchanges and crypto-currency to process financial transactions.

“We should not confuse this with bitcoin,” insisted Digital Media and Blockchain consultant Manuel Badel, who separated the utility of blockchain technology from the current spate of ICOs (initial coin offerings), which can appear to be nothing more than digital currency “pump and dump” schemes. He instead said the blockchain would ultimately find uses outside of pure currency exchange and offer alternative ways for both film industry individuals and companies to conduct business.

Badel provided examples where the service could benefit media organizations, including intellectual property (IP) protection, digital rights management for tracking royalties, automated contracts with stakeholders, residual payment systems for production members and distribution companies, crowdfunding support, open sourced creative collaboration like scriptwriting and decentralized content distribution. Announced during the EFM was Swedish start-up Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment AB, that deems itself the first decentralized and community-driven blockchain video-on-demand (BVOD) distribution model. Read more from…

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