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Published: Jun 19, 2018
Updated: Jun 19, 2018

Behind the Scenes: Meet the SHAPE AT&T Film Awards Co-Winner for Best Emerging Artist–Cameo Wood

Author: Dave Okamoto

In February, we called for groundbreaking short films from aspiring storytellers using forward-looking techniques for the 2018 AT&T SHAPE edition of the AT&T Film Awards.

Filmmakers answered the call, with more than 1,500 outstanding entrants vying for a chance to win their share of $60,000 in prizes. We’re pleased to spotlight director Cameo Wood, one of the three co-winners of the Best Emerging Artist prize of $20,000.

The film stars Tamlyn Tomita as an executive at a prestigious film enterprise and Tiffany Hines as aspiring artist Sophia Baker. We spoke with Wood to learn more about the message of Real Artists and what she hoped would resonate with audiences.

Cameo Wood
Filmmaker Cameo Wood

Q: Describe your project and what you aim to achieve with it.

A: Real Artists is a glimpse into a world where the future of work is sometimes dependent upon our ability to work with AI in artistic endeavors. It also addresses questions of morality in corporations and what working relationships between women might be like in a future animation studio where women have positions of authority. But finally, I aimed to make a beautiful film that captures a potentially uncomfortable future.


Q: How did you come up with the idea for your film?

A: My film is based partially on the short story of the same name by Ken Liu. I came up with the unique ending. I have an academic background in artificial intelligence and neuroscience, so I wanted to harness that knowledge and experience to make a hard sci-fi film.


Q: Tell us a little bit about your team and how you worked together to create your project.

A: We are all based in San Francisco. Ryon Lane and Alexa Fraser-Herron worked with me as producers on this film one day a week for about six months, while we organized the shoot. Then, we spent three days shooting with no rehearsals. Matt Evans, Anna Rottke, Russell August Anderson, James LeBrecht, and I worked for almost eight months to complete all the VFX, edits, and sound design on the film. We raised all the funds for the movie by crowdfunding on Seed & Spark, where we pre-sold the film.


Real Artists poster

Q: What is the filmmaking background of your team?

A: This is my first scripted short film. Previously, I worked as a script supervisor, costume designer, and second AD on local film productions. Ryon Lane worked for many years in entertainment law at Lionsgate before moving to the Bay Area. Alexa has made some short films as both producer and director, including a Palm Springs International Film Festival opening night film, Mini Supreme.


Q: Did you use a variety of filming techniques (mobile, drone, 360 video) to shoot your film?

A: Yes. We used 35mm film, with a Panavision Millennium XL2 to film post of the movie, but some shots were made with drones and others with a small DSLR. We used a Phantom DJI for our drone shots and a Sony S7iii for shots from the POV of Big Semi.


Q: What video technologies do you see shaping the future of film and content creation?

A: I think AI will be a massive influence—more than it already is. I think AI will be used to do initial analysis of scripts, to create budgets and market analysis, and to help determine which films should be made. CGI and VFX will become cheaper and become easier for consumers to use. Cameras will be more programmable for movement and focus.


Q: What do AT&T SHAPE and contests like the AT&T Film Awards mean to you?

A: My film Real Artists is focused on technology and society, and I think that is what AT&T SHAPE is all about. I love events that have audiences focused on the future of society and technology, because they are the ones that most appreciate my film.


Q: What are your plans for your film?

A: We hope to keep helping the film find its audience and to develop our next film—a time travel movie.


Q: What will you do with the prize money?

A: Put it toward our next film and pay everyone!

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