Launched by Runway Studios (aka Runway ML, one of the leading AI companies in the image and video space) and Artefacto Fílmico (a film factory by Anna Giralt Gris and Jorge Caballero), a new OpenDocs program is set to provide production support and creative AI to documentarians from diverse communities and regions.

To many in the film and video industry who have been following the rise of artificial intelligence and its terrifying promises of possibly replacing creative artists, this all seems a bit redundant, right?

Still, with the jury still ultimately out on whether the time-saving and community-supporting pros outweigh the job-replacement and creative automation cons of AI, this new program should be of interest to both documentarian filmmakers and worry-wart AI opposers.

So let’s explore!

What Is Runway Studios?

Founded back in 2018, Runway’s goal has been to invent the next generation of storytelling tools with AI. Their mission, as their website states, is to “make content creation accessible through innovative technology and unleash a new wave of creativity.”

Runway Studios is the entertainment and production division of Runway and is really meant to serve as a production partner and platform for this aforementioned next generation of (presumably AI-friendly) storytellers.

We’ve covered Runway and its AI tools several times now as they continue to be at the forefront of many AI video generation and editing tools and features including their new Director Mode AI motion controls and color grading AI.

Runway almost might be most famous though to the overall film community as the tool which was used on Oscar-winning films like Everything Everywhere All at Once as a resource for providing some of the more outlandish and creative alternate timeline flashes.

Runway Studios’ OpenDocs Program

Now, moving on to this new OpenDocs program. This initiative comes from Runway Studios and @artefactofilmico, the team that will manage executive production in order to supervise the selected projects through their production processes from inception to completion.

OpenDocs was launched to ideally support short non-fiction films that are focused on exploring contemporary global issues, while—of course—leveraging generative AI as a core storytelling component in their various and diverse projects.

Runway Studios promises to promote and foster this access to generative AI and general creative tooling for documentary filmmakers while also providing selected filmmakers with financial support, mentorship, and production backing for said selected projects.

Selected filmmakers are set to be provided with $2,500 and an Unlimited Runway plan to help bring projects to life.

Runway Studios' OpenDocs on a background of traffic

Credit: Runway

How to Apply for Runway Studios' OpenDocs

Regardless of how you feel about the nature of AI itself, it is admittedly nice to see an AI company make a proactive and direct step to help and support filmmakers.

Documentary filmmakers in particular often struggle the most to secure funding and support and can find themselves with low budgets and resources.

If you’re interested in finding out more, here are the steps to apply:

  1. No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or participate.
  2. Scope of Projects: This grant is open to supporting original non-fiction projects: documentaries, animations rooted in reality, and any other innovative experimentations around the documentary genre. Projects that blend real-life footage with imagery generated by Runway's generative models, or exclusively utilize Runway models.
  3. Project Stage: Projects can be in the late development stage or early production phase. Completed projects will NOT be accepted.
  4. Originality & Ownership: Projects must be original and must not be encumbered by third-party rights. The authorship should be wholly recognized by the applicant.
  5. Technical Requirements: Projects submitted should, to some degree, employ techniques or methodologies based on generative video technology enhanced by AI models and AI-powered tools. Additionally, they must provide an English-subtitled version of the finished film.
  6. Duration: projects must adhere to a maximum duration of 7 minutes to maintain a focused and engaging narrative experience.
  7. Production Time: the production timeline should not exceed 3 months from the moment the grant is received.
This OpenDocs program is open now and can be accessed here. Runway Studios says that it is currently accepting submissions and will provide support on a rolling basis.