• Film

Producer and Director Lee Wells Premieres his First AI Movie

As the founder of the International Fine Arts Consortium (IFAC) – an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts on a global scale – Lee Wells has been immersed in the world of creativity for decades. An artist in his own right, he recently did something that went beyond what’s ordinary: premiering his first AI movie, Marcel Duchamp and His Girlfriend Love to Eat Spaghetti out of the Toilet and Laugh, with no screening room needed. Through posters around the world, enthusiasts can scan the bar code on display and watch the movie, just like that. Wells agreed to an interview over Zoom to talk about his process and the future of cinema in the era of Artificial Intelligence.


What made you do a movie using only AI?

I was very curious to see how far technology could be used to produce a narrative. The world of AI fascinates me. After being acquainted with Chat GPT, I began to be very interested in seeing how text-to-video platforms operate. When I stumbled in RunwayML, I got the inspiration for the movie. Even though we can’t create photorealistic cinema with AI yet, we can create stories with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s about rolling with the medium.

It takes a while to learn the process and really master how to massage images out of tech. It took me months to really grasp it. The platform only generates four-second clips. That enabled me to create the movie in a similar way Duchamp and his sisters created their only musical score: by pulling randomly musical bits out of a hat and putting them together. Directing this movie mirrored that process. The narrative was created out of tiny clips that I shuffled around.

However, immediacy is key to keep the aesthetic coherent. It’s sort of addictive. I had to have a clear idea of what I wanted so that my prompts and the platform could come up with something that made sense.

Why a movie about Marcel Duchamp?

I am a fan and I think that AI movie-making can really help transpire the philosophy behind Duchamp’s work. Marcel Duchamp and his Girlfriend Love to Eat Spaghetti Out of the Toilet and Laugh intertwines Duchamp’s audacious spirit with the cutting-edge capabilities of the latest AI Text to Video Synthesis technology.

It unfolds in harmony with the randomized rhythm of Duchamp’s composition, “Erratum Musical”. It echoes Duchamp’s ready-made philosophy. It pays homage to Duchamp’s controversial artwork “Fountain” and integrates the spaghetti meme, a recurring trope in the early development of Text to Video AI. The narrative progression in this surreal, Duchampian world blurs the line between the ordinary and the artistic, reflecting Duchamp’s enduring legacy.

This piece serves not just as entertainment but as a profound exploration of Duchamp’s impactful influence on art and its continual evolution in the digital age.  The groundbreaking technology developed by RunwayML Gen-2 allows us to leverage AI’s capability to transform text into a visual narrative mirrors Duchamp’s own transformation of ordinary objects into art.

This process, devoid of human interference, embodies a form of creation untainted by conscious intention, reflecting Duchamp’s philosophy of allowing art to exist independently of the artist. 

Is AI going to democratize the whole process of moviemaking?

Today, we are witnessing a democratization of art enabled by technology, yes. Art is no longer confined to galleries, museums, and cinema rooms. It has found a home on digital platforms. Social media, NFTs, virtual exhibitions – these all provide access to art for a much larger audience and give artists a global platform to display their work.

Is Artificial intelligence dramatically reshaping the creative landscape?

AI can now generate art autonomously, creating pieces that can rival those crafted by human hands. However, this brings forth questions about originality and authenticity. If an AI creates art, who is the artist? The programmer, the AI, or both? By embracing AI as a tool for artistic exploration and pushing the boundaries of cinematic language, we can shape the future of avant-garde cinema and video art, enriching the artistic landscape with new perspectives, forms, and modes of expression. AI is just another variant that will change moviemaking in the same way after effects did. We will be able to beta test our ideas quicker. We shall not forget, though, that technology is only as good as the human behind it.