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NFTs and Soulbound tokens define Web3 filmmaking, says director

Web3 tools and innovations are making their way into various mainstream industries across the world. Some such as the sports and music industries have made a big leap into adoption. However the world of cinema has not been as vocal on its adoption.

Some filmmakers in the past have touched on DAOs as a tool to boost community engagement around cinematic projects.

Recently, big names in cinematic entertainment like Disney have made more swift moves into the space by hiring Web3-related lawyers and bringing the Polygon blockchain network into its accelerator program.

Cointelegraph sat down with Director Stephen Fung, who is currently developing the Web3 film project Departed Apes, to better understand how Web3 tools like nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and now soulbound tokens (SBTs) can serve cinema. Moreover, Fung helped define what makes a Web3 film, and if it’s a genre of its own.

Despite there being not a lot of buzz in the world of cinema around Web3 tools, Fung says these two worlds share one inherent feature: visuals.

“Films are just moving images, telling stories. It’s all very visual based. In my opinion, besides the tech behind Web3, it’s also a very visually based [industry].”

However, where the film industry may be hesitant around the whole NFT movement, is intellectual property (IP) rights. 

“Film companies’ most valuable asset that they have is their intellectual property (IP). Let’s say if you’re Marvel you’re not going to dive into something that may have the potential of jeopardizing any of the IP,” says Fung. “They tend to be a lot more careful, which is very understandable.”

This can be seen in a recent lawsuit between blockbuster director Quentin Tarantino and the film studio Miramax, over NFTs which were made about the former’s hit movie Pulp Fiction. The main issue in this case was over property rights.

Related: Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins sells out NFT collection in minutes

Nonetheless Fung highlighted the ways in which these tools can still be useful to communities in the crossover world of Web3 and cinema. He suggested using Discord for NFTs as a “writers’ room” to include the community, which is usually a “closed doors” element in filmmaking. 

The director also highlighted who SBTs can help creators differentiate those who are in it for reselling NFTs and those who have a passion for the project.

“We will use it more like a badge of honor for these early supporters.”

Fung continued to say that as far as Web3 movies go, there is no definition at the moment, rather two perspectives: “either a movie that stems from characters that originated from the Web3 space,” he says, “Like if the Bored Ape Yacht Club were to make a movie.”

Or if there is a film shown inside a metaverse. In other words taking a standard cinematic film and Web3-izing it through the ways viewers interact with it.

Overall, the director emphasized that this is still a time of development for the whole space, therefore those in cinema should allow for “some level of being risky” as they step into the space and explore.