Trey Parker and Matt Stone are going deeper into Deep Voodoo.
The creators of “South Park” have secured a $20 million investment for their AI entertainment startup Deep Voodoo. The funding was led by Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between CAA and venture-capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). It’s the first outside capital raised by Deep Voodoo, which previously was funded entirely by Parker and Stone’s independent entertainment company, Park County.
Stone and Parker plan to use the new funding to “accelerate Deep Voodoo’s development of its leading deepfake technology, cost-effective visual effects services and original synthetic media projects,” according to the announcement.
“We stumbled upon this amazing technology and ended up recruiting the best deepfake artists in the world,” Stone said in a statement. “We are psyched to share their brilliance with the Hollywood creative community.”
Stone and Parker’s Deep Voodoo began building their proprietary deepfake technology in early 2020, and the duo assembled a team of artists for a feature film about Donald Trump they had developed. In October of that year, they released “Sassy Justice,” a 14-minute comedy short featuring a deepfaked Trump (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz), which went viral. But they suspended the movie project due to the COVID pandemic, and pivoted Deep Voodoo to be a provider of deepfake tools to the industry.
Deep Voodoo provided VFX for Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5” music video, released in May 2022, in which Lamar’s face transforms into the visages of OJ Simpson, Jussie Smollett, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant and Kanye West.
“Deep Voodoo has established itself as a leading synthetic media technology platform that has already impacted traditional entertainment,” said Connect Ventures’ Michael Blank, who is head of consumer investments at CAA. “Deep Voodoo uses artificial intelligence to support productions in innovative ways that are faster and more cost-effective than traditional VFX technology. Connect Ventures is thrilled to lead the investment in Deep Voodoo, providing unique access to CAA and NEA’s resources and relationships.”
With Connect Ventures’ investment, Deep Voodoo has begun offering its “unrivaled face-swapping visual effects” to artists, producers and creators across the industry, per the announcement.