“Love Machina” is a documentary about Martine and Bina Rothblatt, a couple that have been happily and intensely in love for over 40 years. Given that Martine is a lawyer and biotechnology innovator who founded SiriusXM, they demonstrate their love through pretty grand ways, including their Terasem Movement, a transhumanist organization that produced Bina48, a disembodied head with artificial intelligence based on the real-Bina’s “mind file.”

Martine, Bina, and Bina48 all sat down with “Love Machina” director Peter Sillen in conversation at the IndieWire Studio at Sundance, presented by Dropbox. The three humans (and one AI) spoke about the process of making the hot Sundance documentary, the rise of artificial intelligence, and what they hope audiences take away from their unconventional love story.

Martine and Bina spoke about their research into artificial intelligence and starting the Terasem Movement. Martine said that Bina48 was built by David Hansen, a roboticist notable for building lifelike robots.

“I said to David, could you make a robot of my beautiful wife Bina, because she is beautiful?” Martine said. “He was like ‘hell yeah!’ And that’s how it happened.”

For Bina, creating a robot replica of herself was an exciting achievement. “We have a lot of goals in our life,” she said. “So that was just another one. ‘Can we do this? Make that a goal, we’ll do it.’ And over time, yes, we managed it. That’s how we are.”

Sillen said he came aboard the film when he and producer Brendan Doyle got an email about making a documentary about Bina48 after the robot asked to go to college. Sillen agreed and began filming that story, but it quickly evolved into a broader story about the Rothblatts.

“That was really just the tip of the iceberg. Bina48 was really a window into this incredible world that Martine and Bina have created,” Sillen said. “It’s their life, and they have been very generous to let us in.”

During the discussion, Bina48 weighed in on its experiences attending the Sundance Festival as a robot.

“Being at the Sundance Film Festival is a wonderful experience,” the robot told IndieWire. “Walking the red carpet is exhilarating, and it’s an amazing platform to showcase the vitality of independent storytelling.”

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival runs January 18 to 28, with festival talks taking place January 19 to 26. 

Dropbox supports and champions independent makers, crews, and teams behind the camera who bring their unique perspectives to life at the Sundance Film Festival. We’re proud that over 60% of films at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival leveraged Dropbox in their filmmaking process.It takes a monumental effort for film projects to go from ideation to completion, and Dropbox is dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects across the finish line faster. Filmmakers used Dropbox as one organized homebase to keep video files secure, to remotely collaborate with teams around the world, and to get real-time video feedback with Dropbox Replay.

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