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Mavericks: The Truth About Robots in Documentary | DOC CONFERENCE | TIFF 2018


While robots are not yet able to direct or photograph a film independently, advances in artificial intelligence have had many significant and often unexpected consequences for film production. One of the first films ever to employ an automated narrator, The Truth About Killer Robots — a global portrait of automation overtaking humanity — raises intriguing questions about the effects of robotic technology on the creative arts. This panel, with director Maxim Pozdorovkin and director of photography Joe Bender, considers how innovations in computer vision, language processing, and software advances have transformed the filmmaking process.

Joe Bender
Joe Bender is a cinematographer and producer whose award-winning films have screened in festivals around the world. He produced Our New President, which won a Jury Award at Sundance 2018. His latest film as director of photography, Clinica de Migrantes (HBO), won multiple festival prizes and an IDA Award nomination. He holds a PhD from Harvard University.

Maxim Pozdorovkin
Maxim Pozdorovkin is a Russian documentary filmmaker. He obtained his PhD at Harvard. His documentary features include Capital (11), Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (13), The Notorious Mr. Bout (14), and Our New President (17). The Truth About Killer Robots (18) is his latest film.

Thom Powers
Documentary Programmer, TIFF – HOST
Powers has served as an International Documentary Programmer for the Festival since 2006. He created and leads the Festival’s Doc Conference; and hosts the podcast Pure Nonfiction interviewing documentary filmmakers. He curates for the digital streaming service SundanceNOW Doc Club, and for the Miami International Film Festival. He and his wife, Raphaela Neihausen, serve as directors of DOC NYC, run the weekly documentary screening series Stranger than Fiction at Manhattan’s IFC Center, and host WNYC’s radio segment Documentary of the Week. Powers teaches at the School of Visual Arts MFA SocDoc program.