Over the weekend at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Steven Soderbergh discussed the state of cinema—particularly how the art of filmmaking now relates to big studios, financing, and marketing. In a few minutes, the director (former director?) manages to sum up everything that's great about filmmaking, everything that's shitty about the current, blockbuster-dominated system, and... shit. Look. If you've wondered why movies today are the way they are, read this. If you want to see where movies are headed, read this. If you plan on ever watching a movie again, read this.
Just about every single thing Soderbergh said is worth sticking to a pull quote, but I'll settle for this one:
When I was coming up, making an independent film and trying to reach an audience I thought was like trying to hit a thrown baseball. This is like trying to hit a thrown baseball—but with another thrown baseball. That’s why I’m spending so much time talking to you about the business and the money, because this is the force that is pushing cinema out of mainstream movies. I’ve been in meetings where I can feel it slipping away, where I can feel that the ideas I’m tossing out, they’re too scary or too weird, and I can feel the thing. I can tell: It’s not going to happen, I’m not going to be able to convince them to do this the way I think it should be done. I want to jump up on the table and scream, “Do you know how lucky we are to be doing this? Do you understand that the only way to repay that karmic debt is to make something good, is to make something ambitious, something beautiful, something memorable?” But I didn’t do that. I just sat there, and I smiled.
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