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Fran Gas Huertas

Fran Gas (Orihuela, 1984) is a Spanish film director, producer, screenwriter, editor and musician. He has directed more than 90 video clips for artists from Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music and RLM among others; Spots for brands like Jeep, Repsol, Ikea or Milka; and her short films 'El fotoviaje de Carla' (2018) and 'Peas. Industrial Symphony in Four Movements' (2019) add more than 90 selections worldwide and accumulate numerous awards.

Your film 'Of Youth' was the big winner in the Experimental AI-Created Film category at Experimental Brasil 2024.


1- Could you please introduce yourself and share what drew you to the world of cinema?


My name is Fran Gas, I am a filmmaker, this has been my profession for more than 10 years. I specialized in directing music videos, since I am also a musician and I love this audiovisual discipline, I have directed more than 100, and I also direct advertising.

As for my own work, I have directed several short films and am very interested in narrative and cinematographic experimentation. I am currently incorporating AI into my projects. As a teenager I began to be interested in the world of cinema and after finishing my computer science degree I realized that what I really liked was making films and music, so I decided to focus on that.

2- Could you tell us a bit about your movie Of Youth and the inspiration behind it?


'Of youth' is a reflection on old age and the threat of youth. We live in a society where the wisdom of years is increasingly less valuable and the 'young spirit' is valued more. Furthermore, new technological advances, such as AI itself, pose a threat to many and the elderly feel displaced with each change. The film tries to reflect how someone feels in the middle of an old-age crisis, threatened by the new generations, to such a point that it is as if they were abducted by aliens and their youth was taken from them in a matter of seconds.

For this film I have used artificial intelligence techniques to manipulate pre-existing material, images filmed by me and archive images.

3- How do you define the purpose of experimental cinema in a world saturated with traditional narratives?

Experimentation in art has always been part of being human. We need to move forward, we are hungry for new ways of expression, we want to continue feeling. Many people are tired of narrative clichés and are looking for something different that excites them and makes them think. Experimental cinema is the antidote.


4- What are the greatest challenges you face when trying to communicate abstract or complex emotional concepts through the medium of film?

For me the power of sound and image is very important. A feeling can be communicated with form and sound. In 'Of Youth', for example, the experimental treatment of the music I composed (under my musical alter ego Lavenzza) is essential to convey the threat facing the protagonist. At the image level I try to create a narrative code that represents what I want to tell. For example, in 'Of Youth' I use eyes that I place, like a collage, in different images with different styles, to create continuity in the story and tell the viewer that I am still talking about the same girl. Or more radically, I invented a Retro Science Fiction style movie to talk about loneliness and old age, it's a metaphor. In any case, the interesting thing about the experimental is how the viewer receives it, their conclusions are probably not the same as mine, and that is fascinating.

5- How do you balance the pursuit of originality and innovation with the need to connect with the audience?


I try to be as faithful as possible to myself, it is the only way to achieve something with its own identity, and in experimental territory there are no limits. The connection with the public comes later, I honestly don't feel like such a special person to think that no one is going to connect with my work, I think you have to let yourself go. I once read that when David Lycnh first showed 'Erased Head' to his friends, he asked, "Do you understand the movie? If someone said yes, then I'd say 'let's edit the movie again until no one understands it.'


6- What is the role of technology, especially artificial intelligence, in the evolution of experimental cinema?


AI is not going to experiment on its own, it is the artist who must use it to generate his own original and innovative work. The good thing about AI is that ideas can be realized quickly, for example in terms of image generation, human-machine feedback is a fascinating creative process, no one expects it. From my experience, I feel like I can now do millions of ideas that I couldn't before because of the resources I needed. I feel more productive than ever and that is thanks to being able to use tools like AI.


7- To what extent do you believe artificial intelligence can challenge the boundaries of human creativity in cinema?


Human creativity is really the only creativity possible. AI is the tool. Let's not forget that AI feeds on what we already know, on what has already been created. It will be the filmmakers who will use their generations to create a new work.


8- How do you imagine the integration of artificial intelligence in creative processes could affect the authorship and identity of the director in experimental cinema?


I think work is everything. The fact that AI-generated images were used to be part of that work does not mean that an artistic identity does not exist. It is as if in a collage we were saying that the artist has no merit because he used magazine clippings with images that already existed. If that collage moves me it is because of the artistic discourse behind it.

9- Do you see artificial intelligence as a complementary or potentially substitutive tool for certain aspects of experimental film production?


I think it's complementary. The existence of generative AI does not mean that the artist stops drawing, filming or photographing. You will use what your work needs. Sometimes you'll have to use it because it will be cheaper for certain aspects of the production, but in an ideal scenario, you'll use it because you need it to tell your story.


10- What are the ethical considerations you take into account when exploring the use of artificial intelligence in your films?


I try to find my own identity in what I do. I use clear concepts that I experiment with and never use artistic references. I am quite demanding until I find something that really represents the artistic discourse of the work I want to do. I don't want it to look like or remember something or someone, I want it to have its own identity.


11- How do you believe the audience reacts and interacts with experimental films that incorporate elements of artificial intelligence?

I suppose many will look at them in amazement, wondering: Can this be done with AI? But what should happen is that they judge the work without knowing what technique it is made with, simply that they reflect and get excited, that is really what is important. One of the things that has happened to me with 'Of Youth' is that it has participated in many film festivals where there was no section for films with AI, it has simply been judged as just another film. Art has never been the tool.

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