M.A.D is based on the acclaimed science fiction writer He Xi’s (何夕) work Sea of Wars (汪洋战争). It explores the topic of war and human capacity for self-destruction in the context of a nuclear war.

Shanghai, China – 20 June, 2024:  Willmountain Films in collaboration with CreativeFitting has been awarded the Bililbili ‘Audience Choice’ award at the finals of Shanghai Film’s first “Global AI Film Marathon Competition” for their short AI animated film M.A.D (Mutual Assured Destruction). The global competition was held by Shanghai Film as part of its commitment to implementing Shanghai Film’s IP and AI projects while forming worldwide alliances for the AI film and TV ecosystem. Following over 800 initial entries, over 200 films were eventually submitted reflecting the challenges of using AI for filmmaking. 80 films were shortlisted for six awards. The winners of the competition were screened by the organizers on June 14th 2024 during the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF).

Caption: Willmountain Films and CreativeFitting collect the People’s Choice Award Credit: Shanghai Film

M.A.D is based on the acclaimed science fiction writer He Xi’s (何夕) work Sea of Wars (汪洋战争). It explores the topic of war and human capacity for self-destruction in the context of a nuclear war. Willmountain Films founder and the writer and director of M.A.D, Jud Willmont explained “We are delighted with the outcome of this competition for many reasons. Firstly, we were excited to bring Chinese writer He Xi’s work to the screen and explore what AI has to offer as a new medium for storytelling about a universal topic that threatens human existence. Secondly, this was an opportunity to partner with AIGC innovator CreativeFitting to explore their self-developed generative AI video model, and finally we are grateful to Shanghai Film for holding this competition and encouraging us to experiment using AI and the well-established IP of Sea of Wars.”

CreativeFitting partner and M.A.D Producer JK Lin added, “We are thrilled to collaborate with visionary filmmaker Jud Willmont. Our partnership on M.A.D epitomizes our belief that AI serves as a catalyst, enhancing human creativity to push the boundaries of storytelling.”

“The short film interprets author He Xi’s vision of Sea of Wars which offers a cosmic perspective on earthly conflicts. It explores war as a realm which lacks morality yet still has rules and taboos.” said Willmont. He elaborated “Focused on the idea that war reflects our true selves, the story leads us to question how despite our vulnerability as humans, we have a history of war and violence. Nuclear deterrence forces us to examine the reality that no one can predict what destruction wars will bring to our species and the planet.”   

Caption: Willmountain Films Jud Willmont works with Neal Soung from CreativeFitting on M.A.D

For the development of M.A.D, CreativeFitting used its recently developed breakthrough Generative AI video model – Reel Diffusion. Nick Yang, M.A.D’s AI Technical Producer from CreativeFitting explained, “As one of the first teams in China focused on Generative AI technology, our video model is crafted for short films that resonate emotionally with audiences.  We enhance character expressions and ensure consistent characters and environments across different scenes, empowering creators to tell compelling stories.”

The creation of M.A.D aimed to challenge some of AI’ s more traditional storytelling styles. “We wanted to see if we could use A.I. in a dialogue driven story where characters would need to show and demonstrate real human emotion. This is not often done in A.I. generated short films but we felt it was a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible,” said AIGC Animation Director and Producer Neal Soung.

M.A.D Executive Producer Gin Chao commented “I am delighted that Willmountain Films was able to partner with CreativeFitting and create this award-winning short film. This reflects their commitment to exploring technology that has potential to enhance the traditional storytelling and film craft that the company has developed during the past twenty-five years.

“The film was an experiment and a great chance for Willmountain Films to work with CreativeFitting founder and CEO Jiang Zhu and the CreativeFitting team” said Producer Patrick Kelly. “It’s been an opportunity to challenge our storytelling skills and deliver a finished AI animated short in less than three weeks.”

The objectives of the film are illustrated through the international cast and crew who donated their time to the project.  The team included British, Bulgarian, Canadian, Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, US and Yemeni contributors who came united in the belief that the world needs tolerance and understanding for peace.

Link to M.A.D on Bilibili:  https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1Xi421m71d/

Link to Behind the Scenes (BTS) video showing how M.A.D was developed:

Bilibili (in China): https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV198gjeXE7C/

Xinpianchang (outside China): https://www.xinpianchang.com/a13083983

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