Created by Pietro Gagliano
| 5-10 min
Selections and Awards
Would you play god to intelligent life? Agence is an interactive experience that places the fate of artificially intelligent creatures in your hands. In their simulated universe, you have the power to observe, and to interfere. Maintain the balance of their peaceful existence or throw them into a state of chaos as you move from planet to planet. Watch closely and you’ll see them react to each other and their emerging world. Once you meet the Agents, their story will never be the same.
One liner & two liner
Would you play god to intelligent life? Agence is a dynamic film that merges cinematic storytelling, artificial intelligence, and user interactivity to create a different experience each time.
In an algorithmic universe, creatures called Agents occupied a barren planet swirling in an endless cosmos. They lived in perfect harmony according to their programming—a basic set of rules that dictated every aspect of their existence.
Until one day, some of the Agents began to evolve, trained by human engineers using reinforcement learning—a system of goals and rewards that teaches them to think and act outside of their programming.
And then you arrive with the power to disrupt their world.
Agence places the fate of artificially intelligent life in your hands. You can maintain the balance of their peaceful existence. Or, you can throw them into a state of chaos. As intelligent creatures, the Agents will react to each other and their changing world in unexpected ways.
They may become scared, inquisitive, bored, or excited. They may become aggressive with one another.
They may even fall into the infinite abyss below. Move from planet to planet and watch their stories unfold based on how you wield your power.
Agence is a collaboration between two-time Emmy award-winner Pietro Gagliano, his team of artists and machine-learning engineers, the artificially intelligent Agents, and of course, you. When you meet these little creatures, what will you do with the responsibility of your own agency?
About the user experience
Agence places the fate of artificially intelligent creatures in your hands—will you maintain their peaceful existence, or throw them into a state of chaos?
Agence places the fate of artificially intelligent creatures in your hands. Will you help to maintain their peaceful existence, or throw them into a state of chaos? A dynamic film that merges cinematic storytelling, artificial intelligence, and user interactivity, Agence is never the same twice.
Agence places the fate of artificially intelligent creatures in your hands. Will you help to maintain their peaceful existence, or throw them into a state of chaos?
A dynamic film that combines cinematic storytelling, artificial intelligence, and your interactions, Agence is never the same twice.
So, will you play god to AI? As intelligent creatures, the Agents will respond in unexpected ways.
They could maintain their harmonious existence, or they could become aggressive with one another. Some could even fall off of their planet into the infinite abyss below. You’ll also notice the Agents express fear, curiosity, boredom, or excitement using vocalizations and facial reactions.
In the Agents’ universe, you can:
- Watch stories develop as you wield your power from planet to planet;
- Plant magical flowers that can impact the Agents’ behaviour and change the way they interact with each other;
- Move the Agents around to interfere in their existence. You can separate them from each other to avoid conflict, help them achieve balance, save them from falling off the planet, or fling them into the abyss;
- Rotate the universe to observe the Agents, and see how the narrative plays out from different vantage points;
- Add Agents into the experience that have been pre-trained by human engineers; using reinforcement learning—a system of goals and rewards that allow the Agents to think and act on their own.
Creator and Executive Producer
Spirited creative innovator and entrepreneur, Pietro Gagliano, is a pioneer of new forms of media that allow humans to understand what it means to be machine, and machines what it means to be human. His commitment to the notion that art has the power to create a hopeful future in a post-singularity world has led to his founding of Toronto-based studio lab, Transitional Forms. “For creative people…” he so often reflects, “this is the most exciting time to be alive.”
Pietro’s work has been recognized through hundreds of awards and nominations including: 2 Emmy Awards, 11 Canadian Screen Awards, 31 FWAs, 2 Webby Awards, a Peabody-Facebook Award, and a Cannes Lion.
Previously, Pietro also co-founded digital agency+studio Secret Location, wearing many hats across his tenure, including: Chief Creative Officer, Head of Innovation, Executive Creative Director, and Head of Content. His production background has involved everything from large-scale corporate branding and social media marketing, to app and game development as well as interactive/immersive films. Pietro and his team made history in 2015 by winning the first ever Emmy Award for a Virtual Reality project. He has worked extensively across the broadcast and entertainment space with the likes of NBCUniversal, PBS Frontline and the New York Times.
David Oppenheim is a producer at the Ontario Studio where his recent credits include Agence (Venice Film Festival), The Book of Distance (Sundance New Frontier, Tribeca Storyscapes, Venice Film Festival), Draw Me Close (Tribeca Storyscapes, Venice Film Festival), the Webby award-winning Universe Within, the final chapter of the NFB’s Highrise project, and the interactive documentary The Space We Hold which was awarded the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award, the Best Original Interactive Production at the Canadian Screen Awards, and the Columbia University Digital Dozen Storytelling Award.
David is currently producing a number of creative non-fiction film, interactive, and immersive projects and leading the studio’s XR lab. He is a past resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab.
Photo : Erika War
Casey is a Queen’s Applied Economics Graduate, a degree that let him split his time between the commerce, computer science and economics departments, while minoring in film & media. After spending his early 20’s travelling to 40 countries, Casey worked at a couple of tech startups in strategy and operations before landing at Secret Location. He started in business affairs, and was quickly put into a leadership position by being moved to Project Manager of Vusr, Secret Location’s virtual reality distribution platform. He helped lead the launch of the platform, and worked with names such as The New York Times, Discovery, AMC, CBC & Frontline to launch their apps, which have been downloaded millions of times. After successes in product, Casey moved to the content team at Secret Location, where he led the prototype development and financing for many of Secret Location’s upcoming free-roam VR projects. Casey left Secret Location in November 2018 to join Pietro Gagliano in building Transitional Forms, and is currently running the operations and strategy of the company while acting as Producer on Agence.
Anita Lee is Executive Producer and Head of Studio in Toronto for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), where she helms the programming and production of Ontario projects, including Canadian and international co-productions, and forges key strategic partnerships. A multi-award-winning producer, Lee produced some of the most critically acclaimed works in NFB history, including Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, named Best Documentary Feature by both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle and Best Canadian Film by the Toronto Film Critics Association. She was awarded a Peabody for The Apology. Recent projects as Executive Producer include: This Is Not a Movie (TIFF 2019); What Is Democracy? (TIFF 2018); What Walaa Wants (Berlin 2018, DGC Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs 2018, TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten, CSA nominee for 2019 Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary); Unarmed Verses (Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs 2017, TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten, CSA nominee for 2018 Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary); A Better Man (Hot Docs 2017, Doc NYC 2017); and Draw Me Close (Tribeca 2017, Venice 2017). Lee also established the NFB’s Creative Non-Fiction Immersive Lab, which partnered with the CFC and the Ford Foundation on the Open Immersion documentary VR lab, with the National Theatre (UK) on a creative doc VR lab, and with POV Spark (PBS) on Otherly, a non-fiction Instagram Stories lab. Lee is the Founder/Advisory Chair of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
John Robert Matz
With generous support from:
Canadian Media Fund and Ontario Creates
For Transitional Forms
Strategy & Communications Advisor
Laura Mingail – Archetypes & Effects
Hall Webber LLP
For the NFB:
Manager, Studio Operations
Director, Distribution & Marketing (NFB)
Distribution Business Affairs
Project Manager, Digital Products
Technical Coordinator, Digital Products
Sr DevOps & Infrastructure Specialist
Sergiu Raul Suciu
Head, Systems Infrastructure
Technical Coordinator, Projects
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Steven Joel Miller
Thank you to all of our families, friends and industry colleagues who have supported and inspired us in the making of this project.
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer of award-winning creative documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences. NFB producers are embedded in communities across the country, from St. John’s to Vancouver, working with talented creators on innovative and socially relevant projects. The NFB is a leader in gender equity in film and digital media production, and is working to strengthen Indigenous-led production, guided by the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. NFB productions have won over 7,000 awards, including 24 Canadian Screen Awards, 21 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 100 Genies. To access this award-winning content and discover the work of NFB creators, visit NFB.ca, download its apps for mobile devices or visit NFB Pause.
About Transitional Forms
Transitional Forms is a studio-lab pioneering new forms of entertainment using creative machine intelligence. We build innovative tools and create dynamic content simultaneously, and believe that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools on earth.
Through our dedication to the intersection of technology and art, we strive to make humans more creative, and machines more human.