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Can you love a machine?

Date: 02. juni

There’s a ton of buzz around After Yang following its world premiere during the Cannes Film Festival and screening at Sundance. This unique sci-fi film has impressed critics with its low-key metaphysical melancholy and now Kosmorama in collaboration with NTNU’s Hyfer festival is giving locals an opportunity to be the first in Norway to enjoy it on the big screen.

More than just going to the movies

“We’re incredibly happy to be able to throw this pre-premiere before it goes up in cinemas in Norway,” says Silje Engeness, director of Kosmorama, Trondheim’s annual international film festival and one of Hyfer’s partners. “It’s rare to be able to go ahead of the publication schedule — especially when there’s hype around a movie — but Arthouse, the film’s distribution company, was excited by Hyfer and our collaboration with NTNU as it brings art and science together.”

The film will be screened at Nova Kino on September 22nd at 18:30 and tells the story of a small family in the near future. Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) live with their adopted daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and Yang (Justin H. Min), an AI sibling meant to teach Mika about her culture and language. When Yang unexpectedly shuts off, the family is forced to reckon with questions of love, connection, and loss.

“I think After Yang is a great movie,” says Silje. “The actors are incredible, the story is evocative, and Kogonada is an exciting new director. I also believe the timing of the film is perfect for our society. It raises questions about how far our current technology will go and how closely AI can emulate real humanity. While many films have raised similar questions before, After Yang brings a fresh new perspective.”

In order to answer some of the questions raised by the film, Kosmorama’s Mads Outzen will interview a panel of scientists right after the pre-premiere at Hyfer. They’ll dig deeper into the themes of the movie with the audience and explore how they compare to current scientific research and their own experiences.

AI researcher Inga Strümke is one of the experts participating in the panel, and she’s super excited to see the film. “I absolutely love sci-fi and I think many researchers do. Like a good astrophysicist friend of mine often says ‘the way to the stars is paved by science fiction’.”

Inga concedes that some researchers might get annoyed when their field is misrepresented on the screen, but she genuinely enjoys it when artists grapple with AI and stir up philosophical questions about the technology, because that’s exactly why she joined the field originally.

“The only thing I find a bit tiring is Hollywood’s simplistic storylines about AI taking over the world. But that’s why I’m so excited for After Yang because it isn’t fear-based,” Inga explains. “What drives this movie isn’t the threat of the AI turning evil, instead it’s about family missing it, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.”

Inga says fresh perspectives like this act as inspiration for researchers and help communicate science because it involves more people in the conversation. “And that’s especially important for AI because it’s all around us already and in our daily lives. So I’m hoping as broad of an audience as possible will see and think about this movie!”

After Yang will be pre-premiered during the Hyfer festival at Nova Kino on September 22nd at 18:30. Following the screening, a panel of scientists will discuss the film and the questions it evokes.