Real Artists

Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios -- who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged.

Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, Real Artists asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that?

  • Cameo Wood
  • Cameo Wood
  • Cameo Wood
  • Ryon Lane
    Bleeding Audio
  • Alexa Fraser-Herron
    Mini Supreme
  • Tamlyn Tomita
    Key Cast
    The Joy Luck Club
  • Tiffany Hines
    Key Cast
    Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 2, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Cinequest
    San Jose
    United States
    March 2, 2017
    World Premiere
  • San Francisco International Film Festival
    San Francisco
    United States
    April 9, 2017
  • Hollyshorts Film Festival
    Hollywood, CA
    United States
    August 12, 2017
    Best VFX
  • LA Shorts International Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    August 5, 2017
  • Encounters International Short Film Festival
    Bristol, UK
    United Kingdom
    September 20, 2017
    Bristol Premiere
  • AT&T Film Awards
    Burbank, CA
    United States
    June 2, 2018
    Best Emerging Filmmaker
  • Northern California EMMY Awards
    San Francisco
    United States
    June 8, 2019
    EMMY Award
Distribution Information
  • Hewes
    Rights: Free TV, Paid TV
Director Biography - Cameo Wood

Cameo Wood is an EMMY® nominated filmmaker. Her most recent film, “Real Artists”, is available to stream online. She is working on her first feature. In 2018 she was a co-winner at the AT&T Film Awards for 'Best Emerging Artist' award presented by Ava DuVernay. Real Artists has won over 35 awards and has been nominated for dozens more, including a regional EMMY® nomination, and has continued to enjoy screenings at festivals, museums, and television stations throughout the world.

She produced and co-directed episodes of The Alternative Guide to Secret Beijing which was featured on Atlas Obscura. Her first film, Dukha in Summer, premiered at the St. Louis Film International Film Festival and was nominated for best short at five others. Cameo is a member of Cinefemme, Women in Film, Alliance of Women Directors, Film Independent, WomenNMedia, and the co-founder of the SF chapter of Dinner with Dames. She co-founded the COVEN Film Festival, a showcase of films made by women. She is a regular speaker at the Camp Reel Stories' Girls Day Workshop. Cameo has participated in the inaugural Sundance Co//ab Screenwriting, Episodic, and Fiction Directing programs.

Cameo has completed Medical Neuroscience at Duke University, Futurism at Stanford University, Witchcraft & Magic at Bennington College, Aerospace Engineering at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and recently completed courses in Egyptology at University of Pennsylvania. From 1995-2008 She was an engineer at GTE Labs, Sprint, Lucent, and Cisco. In 2008 She founded Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper; the first urban beekeeping store in America, and serves on the board of the beekeeping non-profit SF Bee-Cause.

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Director Statement

What might it be like to have your main creative collaborator be an Artificial Intelligence? Already, biometric data is used for neuromarketing in many different contexts. Film plots are influenced by how test audiences respond during key points in the film. The creation of entertainment is no longer passed on guesswork. Enjoyment is quantitatively measured.

We are envisioning a near future when its more efficient to have an artificial intelligence create a film and test it on a human audience than it is to support artistic invention from concept through execution. Where 'taste' is not yet captured by code and still has to be measured by a human’s reactions. This is a story of what it means to be human. It is a question posed of what humanity is when creativity is in the realm of an artificial intelligence, leaving us to consume and react. Through science-fiction, we focus on rapidly-approaching question of ethics in neuromarketing and the power of corporations to craft products in response to our biometric responses. We are also telling a story of a young woman's dream, and how she might hold the key to the future of storytelling.

Sophia seems closer to a superhero; she’s a genius editor, hard working, beautiful and cries at the sight of her favorite cartoon. She is confident in her artistic taste, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to make the best movies the world has ever seen. But young people are rebellious - and Sophia was willing to risk her career and reputation in order to create what she knew was a superior edit to her favorite film. Sophia is on fire with her youth: and this is how she resists Palladon’s enticements toward an artistic life of being merely a barometer of taste.

We all love products designed especially for us. We willingly forgo our privacy for sake of being a part of the new, the trendy, what’s hot. But when young people like Sophia are confronted with ultimatums, their actions — sometimes heroic, sometimes tragic — can rewrite many stories, not just their own.

Cameo Wood, San Francisco, September 2016