The Future Of Film Dubbing? ‘Fall’ AI Firm Flawless Partners With XYZ & Tea Shop To Acquire & “Visually Translate” Foreign Language Movies — Cannes Market
EXCLUSIVE: AI is in the eye of the storm in LA right now amid the writers’ strike and is also a talking point at the Cannes Film Festival due to the de-aging of Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny.
We can reveal an interesting development in the Cannes market with news that generative AI firm Flawless, co-founded by filmmaker Scott Mann (Fall), is partnering with U.S. seller and distributor XYZ Films (Run Rabbit Run) and UK producer Tea Shop Productions (47 Meters Down) to acquire rights to foreign-language films, converting them to English for distribution in English-speaking territories.
More from Deadline
How To Deal With Waning Arthouse Box Office? There's A Takeaway In 'Asteroid City' Says Wes Anderson - Cannes
Elena Martín Gimeno's 'Creatura' Wins Europa Cinemas Prize As Best European Film At Cannes Directors' Fortnight
'A Brighter Tomorrow' Review: Nanni Moretti's Fitfully Funny Portrait Of a Fuddy-Duddy Film-Maker - Cannes Film Festival
The plan is for Flawless’ TrueSync technology to create lip-synced versions of acquired titles, and XYZ will distribute them. The idea is to offer an alternative to subtitles and out-of-sync dubs. The company will also distribute the original versions alongside.
The TrueSync tech was used in recent breakout hit Fall to paper over more than 30 F bombs that impacted the film’s initial rating. The tech helped propel the $3M-budgeted pic to six times that at the box office. The clip below gives an idea of how the tech can be used to seamlessly dub, too.
Our software harnesses the power of generative AI to change filmed dialogue.
TrueSync opens a new world of possibilities from fast and efficient AI reshoots to the creation of immersive, visual translations, for any language around the world.#GenerativeAI #Hollywood pic.twitter.com/Mx384s6RbD
— Flawless (@Flawlessai) January 27, 2023
The partnership has launched with the acquisition of Crazy Pictures’ UFO Sweden, the sci-fi adventure film that earned three nominations at Sweden’s 2023 Guldbagge Awards.
The group tells us it plans to acquire a number of “high-potential” titles during the Cannes Film Festival — where Flawless execs will be showcasing the brand’s different technology — and intends to release its initial slate of translated films in Q4, 2023.
James Emanuel Shapiro, EVP of U.S. Distribution for XYZ Films, Ryan Black, Head of Acquisitions for Flawless, and James Harris of Tea Shop will lead acquisitions for the new venture.
Peter Ahlén, Sales Manager at REinvent International Sales which represents UFO Sweden, negotiated the Flawless acquisition.
Flawless was not particularly controversial when it launched in 2018, but it’s hard to ignore that AI is currently something of a dirty word in the film sector due to concerns raised during the WGA strike, especially around ChatGTP-type tech which could be used for scripts. Flawless’ tech, which is designed to streamline production and reduce costs, could potentially raise concerns for those in the dubbing sector and for actors who specialise in dubbing, but the company is collaborating with the industry to ensure it is at the responsible end of AI.
To that end, Flawless execs tell us they will be using original voice artists for their “visual translations” and not synthetic AI voice tech.
Flawless says it has “proactively developed relationships with industry unions and guilds, working together to develop tools that empower them while protecting their rights and interests”. Mann is a WGA and DGA member whose movies include Fall, The Tournament, Heist and Final Score.
Indeed, SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland has recently spoken positively about the company, calling it a “more authentic translation product” than traditional dubbing, and something which can maximize an actor’s availability to take on more work by reducing the need for reshoots.
The need for real actors to voice Flawless tech also comes about thanks to copyright implications. Currently, AI-generated content doesn’t qualify for copyright protection.
The partnership revealed today also comes about at a time when foreign-language content has never been in more demand. All Quiet On The Western Front is the latest non-English language movie to have taken Hollywood by storm.
In a joint statement, Flawless Co-CEOs and Founders Scott Mann and Nick Lynes said today about their new partnership: “There is an abundance of world-class cinema yet to be unlocked, and we are thrilled to be able to leverage our technology, as well as XYZ and Tea Shop’s sterling track records with top-quality films and filmmakers, to help these titles reach the global audiences they deserve. We look forward to demonstrating the immense potential of this model in Cannes, setting the stage for even greater growth.”
XYZ’s Maxime Cottray added: “Having spent over 15 years curating and scouring the globe for unique stories and visionary talent, international films and filmmakers have always been at the core of XYZ’s DNA. By utilizing Flawless’ groundbreaking TrueSync technology, in collaboration with our frequent collaborators at Tea Shop, we’re excited by the opportunity to bring these exciting filmmakers and their films to a wider global audience.”
Flawless, which was named to Times 100 Best Inventions in 2021, also comprises DeepEditor, which enables filmmakers to edit and transfer an actor’s performance from one shot to another, and AI Reshoot, which is designed to minimize reshoots by allowing filmmakers to replace onscreen filmed dialogue with alternate lines.
Best of Deadline
Cannes Film Festival Photos Day 10: Andie MacDowell, Wim Wenders, 'Last Summer' Premiere, amfAR Gala & More
TV Shows Affected By WGA Strike: 'Duster', 'The Really Loud House', 'The Old Man' & More - Updated List
2023 Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series On Broadcast, Cable & Streaming
Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.