The startup CYBERFILM.AI CORPORATION (known as CyberFilm) was founded in 2021 by brothers Russell and Andrew Palmer of Toronto, Canada.
Russell Palmer (President & CEO) was inspired a few years ago when he saw his first GPT-3 demo and got access to the playground, to see what stories AI could write and what it would tell us about it and humanity. He has worked for the last 15 years as a Product Manager from Seattle to Silicon Valley, at Microsoft, Samsung, JPMorgan Chase, and the pioneering AI start-up Viv Labs.
Andrew Palmer (Chief Story Officer) is an Author, Screenwriter, and award-winning Director/Producer. He founded Synapz Productions Entertainment Company to create, develop and produce Canadian entertainment content. Andrew has worked as an Assistant Director (AD) for the last 15 years on movie and television sets in Toronto and Vancouver, and is a member of the CMPA, DGC, and WGC.
CyberFilm makes software products for content creators and filmmakers. Their expertise is in Artificial Intelligence, particularly Generative AI.
CyberFilm's first product "SAGA" was initially launched in April of 2023, with an upgraded version rolling out in Fall 2023. It assists filmmakers ideate, plan, and write all aspects of a feature film (including the plot, b-story, characters, acts, one-pager, beatsheet, screenplay, and to draw all of the storyboards). Their upcoming version in Q1 2024 will add pre-viz, animation, and video capabilities for generating cartoon animation.
CyberFilm's headquarters is in San Francisco with a satellite office in Toronto, and remote employees in Montreal.
We raised a Friends & Family round earlier in 2023 including Shed Capital, followed by a Pre-Seed investment from famed Angel Jason Calacanis (LAUNCH Fund 4; All-In and This Week In Startups podcasts).
"Generative AI-powered tools for the next generation of filmmakers, helping them make more of their best work faster!"
The mission of our company is to democratize Hollywood filmmaking, empowering anyone with the passion and desire to create a Blockbuster-quality movie on an Indie budget. Silicon Valley startups have a mindset to do more with less, but Hollywood budgets have blown way out of control - becoming almost a bragging point and validation of a quality story. However, diverse original stories are no longer being told in favor of built in audiences through franchises, and VFX artists are overworked and out of reach of all but top studios. We think Generative AI can help; help grow the industry, grow jobs, grow quality and quantity, and grow the world's enjoyment of cinema in to the future.
As children, our co-founders Russell and Andrew were obsessed with movies - so much their parents hardly needed babysitter (they could just put on a VHS tape of Ghostbusters or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). After watching the tapes so often the brothers literally burned up the VCR watching so often. With no tape left the Palmer brothers would act out the scenes for fun - after realizing they were memorized. With some skills learned, after a few school plays, the boys had short stints as child actors for the CBC. Landing a few "paid gigs" with some Sears advertisements. They also made home movies using the family video camera to and at Computer Camp programs (perfecting stop-motion and claymation using their favorite toys). This blossomed into dozens of vidos filmed through summer camps and programs in High School, making a number of short films and learning tools of the trade like editing, blocking, and other skills of production.
While both studying Computer Science & Engineering in University, the brothers differed in their paths when Russell moved to Silicon Valley to work as a Product Manager building Artificial Intelligence, and Andrew went back to Film School (majoring in Creative Writing) to pursue a career in the film industry, working his way up on Hollywood production sets from Toronto to Vancouver now as an AD (Assistant Director), having worked on shows like "Suits" and "The Boys".
In the summer of 2021 while taking a Stanford course on AI Product Management, Russell received an A+ on his course paper on 'how AI could disrupt an industry' (writing on Hollywood) with insight from Andrew. They wrote about notably how it could improve and grow the film industry (while noting things to watch out for and push back against in terms of ethics and jobs). His professor at Stanford serial entrepreneur Dr. Ronjon Nag encouraged them to start a company. After time researching at Y Combinator "Startup School" they built a working prototype, performed customer interviews, and were ready to incorporate their startup CyberFilm in the Fall of 2021.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, after Russell graduated from the Computer Science & Engineering Program at the University of Western Ontario, Russell soon landed a job as a Product Manager on the Microsoft Office team in Redmond, Washington. Afterwards, Russell moved to Silicon Valley in 2017 to work as a Product Manager at Viv Labs,
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, after Russell graduated from the Computer Science & Engineering Program at the University of Western Ontario, Russell soon landed a job as a Product Manager on the Microsoft Office team in Redmond, Washington. Afterwards, Russell moved to Silicon Valley in 2017 to work as a Product Manager at Viv Labs, an AI start-up pioneered by the founders of Siri, where he saw firsthand an AI company being built from the ground up to being acquired by Samsung. Afterwards in 2020, Russell was recruited by JPMorgan's West Coast AI Lab at Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, with a team of AI experts from Google, Facebook, and other top companies to dive deeper into Machine Learning and Big Data. The sum of all this experience was invaluable to Russell. After working for the biggest software company in the world, the biggest hardware company, and the oldest and biggest Wall Street bank, Russell felt the time was right to start his own venture and he co-founded CyberFilm AI with his brother Andrew, a filmmaker.
After graduating from Computer Engineering at McMaster University, Andrew joined the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), where he harnessed his unique blend of technical expertise and storytelling prowess. Andrew has worked on a variety of productions from independent features to network television and streaming series, to multimillion dolla
After graduating from Computer Engineering at McMaster University, Andrew joined the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), where he harnessed his unique blend of technical expertise and storytelling prowess. Andrew has worked on a variety of productions from independent features to network television and streaming series, to multimillion dollar blockbuster films. In 2014, he founded Synapz Productions, an enterprise that has since crafted a diverse and captivating portfolio. This includes the publication of five literary works, the release of nine memorable songs, and the production of three award-winning films. Notably, Synapz Productions has given life to the animated series 'Yuki vs. Panda,' adapted from the Source Point Press comic series, 'Turf Wars,' a gripping one-hour drama set in the Toronto tow-truck industry, and 'Awake,' a thrilling 90-minute sci-fi feature produced in Unreal Engine with motion capture. Andrew is very excited about working with his brother, Russell, to build SaaS tools for the next generation of filmmakers.
Panel on the future of creativity (co-founder Russell Palmer)
Pitching Jason Calacanis live on TWiST with Q&A
A 3-part essay on the founding mission of our company, and how we think AI can help - not hurt - the Hollywood film industry.
Our speech from the 2022 IQ Conference (International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers) in Edmonton Alberta, turned unofficial TEDx talk for the metaverse.
Feature and Q&A interview with co-founder Russell in the October issue of Unicorner News.
Interview with Western Engineering and Alum Russell Palmer, Co-Founder of CyberFilm AI and creator of SAGA.
The Filmmaking Assistant Hollywood Didn't Know It Needed - How Russell Palmer is leading Hollywood into the AI era
Quick talk about AI and Hollywood on the Twelve Labs Multimodal Weekly podcast.
AI Venture Pulse presents the AI On Tap podcast. Interview with Russell Palmer on Revolutionizing the Film Industry with AI.
CyberFilm AI is rewriting the Hollywood script. Plus: CEO Russell on AI x creativity and the future of Hollywood...
DirectMediaLab conducted an interview with Russell Palmer, CEO of CyberFilm, in early January 2024.
A 4-minute demo overview of our app SAGA
A 15-minute recording of a user writing fan fiction on SAGA
The first 10-minute video in a series teaching screenwriting
Part 1 of 3 in a guide to writing a Feature Film with SAGA
Our co-founder Andrew writing an original screenplay using SAGA
"The app helped me put together a better story than I could have done alone. It helped me play the What If game in ways I couldn't have imagined."
- Rhys Ryan (Founder of Scenechronize)
"It asks the questions you need the answers for."
- Stew Lyons (Producer of Breaking Bad; Better Call Saul; Everybody Loves Raymond)
"I tested out your amazing SAGA program and was really impressed with how it works – pretty amazing tool for story development for filmmakers."
- Tim Peternel (Producer of Buffalo '66; American Psycho)
"This is really intriguing, because you are correct that almost all storytelling (movies, books, tv commercials, plays, speeches) uses a similar structure that has evolved over thousands of years. I would love to play with it. Curious to see if you build in a 'twist' engine, since some of the most iconic movies (books, etc) take these familiar models and 'break' one aspect. (Think of Pulp Fiction scrambling the time line, or Memento going in reverse, etc).
I can't help it. This is just such a cool use case for AI."
- Marc Randolph (Founder of Netflix; Entrepreneur and Investor)
"The app is useful overall and the Logline component and Script tab was quite helpful. The UI was nice to have everything in a centralized place. Interesting suggestions in the Acts that sparked ideas.
Have been integrating SAGA into my current screenwriting workflow and what Russell and the team have built thus far is super promising. The help of the SAGA platform structure and AI assistance has been great and allowed me to maintain creative control of my process."
- Kenny Geiler (Indie Screenwriter/Producer)
"The storyboarding feature is amazing. I loved playing around with it. With a little time spent on prompt engineering/tweaking it captured my vision with ease. It almost distracted me from the writing."
- Jared Levine (USC School of Cinematic Arts; Business of Cinematic Arts; Screenwriter)
"First, thanks a lot for saga, it’s an amazing tool. I love it, really. The language, the dialogues, the actions are more reliable than chatgpt."
- Vincent T. (Hollywood Screenwriter)
"I really liked this [vision] on how one would use AI in the cinema industry. A really original commentary [and great write up]."
- Stanford Prof. Ronjon Nag (SCI 52 - Artificial Intelligence: Deep Learning, Human-Centered AI, and Beyond) 2021