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New Technology Changes Faces in Film to Protect Identities

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New Technology Changes Faces in Film to Protect Identities
Photo caption:  A scene from “Welcome to Chechnya.” (HBO Documentary Films via AP)

(Newser) – In documentaries, people whose identities need to be kept secret have often been reduced to shadowy, voice-distorted figures—or worse, pixelated blurs. But a documentary premiering Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival has, with the aid of advanced digital technology, gone to greater lengths to preserve the secrecy of its sources while still conveying their humanity, the AP reports. Welcome to Chechnya, directed by David France, is about an underground pipeline created to rescue LGBTQ Chechens from the Russian republic, where the government has waged a campaign against gays. In the predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia ruled by strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, LGBTQ Chechens have been detained, tortured, and killed. France couldn’t reveal the identities, or the faces, of his main characters. Their lives depended on staying anonymous. The usual methods of disguise can be dehumanizing, he said.

So in his film, the faces of all the LGBTQ Chechens have been replaced, using artificial intelligence, with those of 22 volunteers. […]

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