H ow can AI assist documentary makers and factual filmmakers tell rich but previously inert stories? Here's a case.
A 25-year-old policeman in Kumasi, the Gold Coast (Ghana), wins a scholarship in 1955 to study in the UK. He's excited eyeing up opportunities.
But he is also nervous. He has never been to England before and he doesn't know what to expect. On arrival he's faced with several problems and soon is literally drowning in challenges. London is very different.
Racism, the colour bar, he struggles and looks to a new career. He starts a family with his new wife who joins him from Ghana. Their children find themselves in and out of foster care. He develops a reputation for being Mr fixer in South London.
Eventually, London takes its toll and he returns with his children to Ghana. There, he’s courted by politicians and CEOs and is affecionately called Chairman - a recognisable phrase of endearment across West Africa . He will face fresh problems with Flt Lt Jerry Rawling's coup d'état in 1979 (Click here chilling audio ).
A recently discovered cache of letters, correspondence and this mind boggling passport he kept in a suitcase reveal a colourful life; that he travelled to the UK on a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) passport that classified him as a British subject and eventually in 1983 as a citizen.
The hypothesis is how AI impacts factual storytelling and what are its limitations and challenges, ethically and professionally, towards audiences in general and a new industry in particularly?
By 2030 such an enquiry may be a moot point given Gen AI's increasing use. Can Gen AI ethically substitute real photographic and audio/video archive? And what manner of evidential research accords the language, as well as the use of existing real visual markers in the expanding linguistics of "prompts". Furthemore, what guardrails and ethical guidelines are required?
Journalist, academic and filmmaker David Dunkley Gyimah behind this personal biopic of his father points to the dearth of personal narratives of Africans, Ghanaians, who went through extraordinary ordeals.
This story although unique is allegorical of many West Africans who travelled to the UK and returned.
Today, Brits of African origin are the largest Black group in the UK and many of their rich stories remain untold. Could AI play a role, pedagogical too in historical factual storytelling predicated on practices such as the 1900s artist-painter as newsmaker.
Fifty percent of the Chairman promo trailer, as well as the poster image above is AI generated. Is the slogan “If you can IA it” (Imagine ‘appening), he says “you can AI it ?”
David is working with other academics. The feedback has been overwhelming and several readers are looking to creating their own stories. Ai in storytelling is set to be as disruptive as it will be creative.
If you're an academic or hosting an event, or a commissioner and would like to know more please get in touch. If you're able to sponsor and would like to be attached to the completion of this project please get in touch below. Think of the Chairman as a real but different life version of BBC's popular series "Luther" with actor Idris Elba, in the 1950s .
The AI Filmmaker
D avid speaking at the UK's Creative Coalition Festival 2023. His work bridges academic excellence and commercial enterprise . He's an expert in innovation and storytelling recently hired by Google, an academic (Associate Professor at Cardiff University), international award-winning videojournalist, and global speaker at venues like SXSW, Apple and BBC Global Exec meetings. David is an international trainer (Ghana, China, India, and Russia) and a former artist in residence at the Southbank Centre. He's reported from Apartheid South Africa for the BBC Caribbean/ R4/ African and World Service, the Syrian border, and has a deep understanding of the intersection of technology, creativity, and the human experience. A graduate in Chemistry and Maths, his PhD is in the cogntive science of storytelling and journalism which fuses cinema and future of journalism .
David's been working online since 1995, and the AI space for the last eight years in the UK and Canada. Chairman is a project indicative of the fusion of academic research in AI and industry and part of an international breakthrough project end of 2003.
* He's the first Brit to win the Knight Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism.
* He's given key speeches at SXSW, BBC Execs etc.
* He's trained over 1,000 video journalists around the world.
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