Yoann Stehr is the producer of the short film ECHT! - Cheesecake, Finalist in the category Best Film Made with AI, at Experimental Brasil 2023.
1. Olá Yoann. How are you? Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
My name is Yoann Stehr, and two years ago I created a small production company called SUPER TCHIP, with the idea of bringing together independent filmmakers and musicians to create surprising music videos. We've made around twenty clips in the last two years, with a wide variety of artists.
For this clip, I surrounded myself with two young directors, Lukas Gevaert, who has just finished his studies as a cinematographer, and Diogo Heinen, who is passionate about new technologies and artificial intelligence in particular.
2. Your movie ECHT! - Cheesecake was a Finalist in our festival. Did you expect such a result?
Not at all! We weren't expecting anything. It's always a pleasure and an honor when our work is appreciated and rewarded. It was only his second time at a festival, and his second "prize". Let's hope it continue that way!
3. Why experimental cinema?
We wouldn't exactly describe our work as experimental. But we do love experimentations! There's nothing more enjoyable than trying to produce new images, throwing away, starting again, trying to surprise and provoke emotions, just with images.
4. In the long run, what benefits and harms do you think the AI revolution will bring to cinema as a whole?
I really see AI as a new tool for creators. I think we need to collaborate with this machine, tame it, have fun with it, hijack it.
We're still in our infancy, but we can imagine that we'll be able to do great things very quickly. What I particularly like about it is its accessibility. I can just imagine a 15-year-old being able to produce, with a bit of mischief, images worthy of Hollywood productions, all from the comfort of his bedroom. I have the feeling that this will enable new creators, less fortunate, to produce more ambitious and surprising images.
5. And for experimental cinema specifically, how big should the changes brought by the AI revolution be?
I don't know what qualifies as experimental and what doesn't, but I'm convinced that AI will bring a little freshness and craziness to many productions.
6. To what extent do you believe that the inclusion of AI should be allowed in artistic creations?
100% in favor, for any medium, for any person, as long as the tool is re-appropriated, diverted or cleverly used.
7. Are film schools essential for the formation of a filmmaker? Why?
Not necessarily, I think. But it can be a plus. For me, the major advantage of going to a school is to have 3, 4 or 5 years to experiment, without pressure, and above all surrounded by (a priori) talented and inspiring young people. These are often contacts that stay with you for life and enable you to collaborate later on.
That said, not going to school is no barrier to making films. I know many very talented self-taught filmmakers.
8. How will the filmmaker of the future look like?
Less rich, less old, less white, less male.
When you see who was making movies in the 70s, and who's making movies today, it's a step in the right direction!
9. How far do you want to go as a filmmaker?
I don't have any very specific ideas on that, but I'm going to keep experimenting, meeting great partners, trying out new formats, and why not one day make a feature-length film.
10. What is the worst sin an artist can commit?
A sin? Self-censorship perhaps... Society is prudish enough as it is, so we might as well try not to put up any more barriers ourselves.
11. Is there a movie (or movies) that has not only influenced you as a filmmaker, but also as a human being?
Probably a lot! But if I have to name just one, it's probably “La Haine” by Matthieu Kassovitz, because it was the first film that made me want to go into cinema, at a very young age, and gave me a different view of a population often denigrated in the media.
12. If you were to meet your favorite filmmaker in person, what would you ask him/her?
“What did you dream about last night?”