Art Tech Unleashed: HKBU’s Transformative Projects at FILMART 2024

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) is presented an array of projects that merge artificial intelligence (AI) with artistic technology (art tech) at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), hosted at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. These initiatives, developed in partnership with industry leaders, aim to redefine the future of film and television production with innovative technology.

In conjunction with FILMART, HKBU celebrated a significant milestone with the event "15 Years of Cinematic Legacy: HKBU Academy of Film," marking the 15th anniversary of its Academy of Film (AF). This event served as a platform for industry experts to discuss and discover the transformative role of art tech in cinema's evolution.

The FILMART event, running from March 11th to 14th, is orchestrated by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The inauguration on March 11th saw distinguished visitors, including Mr. Chan Kwok-ki, the HKSAR Government's Chief Secretary for Administration; Dr. Peter Lam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council; and Mr. Shi Zhi-yan, Counsel from the National Radio and Television Administration's Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan Affairs Office. These officials were greeted by Professor Alex Wai, HKBU's President and Vice-Chancellor, along with other leading HKBU academics and representatives. They showcased the University's art tech research and the five startups that sprang from these innovations, explaining the integration of art tech into practical applications and its potential to revitalize film, TV, and creative media.

Pioneering the practical application of art tech, HKBU-supported startups are making waves in the industry.

One such startup harnesses AI to create detailed visuals and animations, offering intuitive controls over a digital avatar's looks and movements with simple script and visual cues, paving the way for engaging, interactive narratives.

Another innovative venture employs a Large Language Model AI algorithm to compose Cantonese music, promising a transformative impact on the music scene. Meanwhile, an HKBU research team is delving into the use of new media technologies in experimental cinema and interactive narrative formats, aiming to offer unique cultural and entertainment experiences to audiences.

HKBU's pavilion also features a suite of art tech endeavors, including Future Cinema Systems, Panoramic Navigator, AI-driven motion solutions, and groundbreaking digital avatar customization technologies.

Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Academy of Film

The “15 Years of Cinematic Legacy: HKBU Academy of Film” event, held on March 12th, included a panel discussion on "Spotlight on New Horizons in Filmmaking and Beyond – a Hong Kong Vision," moderated by Professor Ellen Seiter, Director and Chair Professor of AF. Insights were shared by esteemed colleagues such as Professor Jeffrey Shaw of the Academy of Visual Arts and Mr. Gordon Cheng of Cameron Pace Group China.

A second discussion titled “Cross-Generational Cinematic Journeys: Exploring the Future of Film with Art Tech and AI” featured veteran film critic Mr. Thomas Shin as the moderator. Esteemed members of the local film industry, including Dr. Johnnie To Kei-fung and HKBU alumni filmmakers and writers, participated in a thought-provoking exchange.

HKBU has been a pioneer in film education since the 1970s, offering the first film and video production course in Hong Kong. The Department of Cinema and Television was officially established in 1991 and evolved into the Academy of Film in 2009 to align with the rapid advancements in the Greater China media industry. Over the past 15 years, AF has flourished with substantial support from the HKSAR Government, the Hong Kong Film Development Council, and the film industry.