Soderbergh on Cinema – A Specificity of Vision

The title is just one of the many thought-provoking statements Steven Soderbergh made in his “State of Cinema” presentation at the San Francisco Film Festival. Contextually, Soderbergh on cinema might be polarizing to some…he wraps his vision with insightful, intelligent and at times sarcastic jibes at how the art of cinema is changing with his own specific views of filmmaking. The changes, good or bad, largely depend on which side of the equation you’re on.

On the new side, more and more people are interested in film and entertainment content creation, including a growing worldwide audience, creating more opportunities for filmmaking. On the other side, Soderbergh questions the very nature of the studio and distribution system, and how its ability to choose what films to make are less and less about the art of cinema and more about the numbers.

We couldn’t have asked for anyone to fuel thought about the state of cinema better than the Academy Award® winning film director…here’s an excerpt from his presentation at the San Francisco Film Festival on April 27, 2013.

The idea of cinema as I’m defining it is not on the radar in the studios. This is not a conversation anybody’s having; it’s not a word you would ever want to use in a meeting.

Speaking of meetings, the meetings have gotten pretty weird. There are fewer and fewer executives who are in the business because they love movies. There are fewer and fewer executives that know movies. So it can become a very strange situation. I mean, I know how to drive a car, but I wouldn’t presume to sit in a meeting with an engineer and tell him how to build one, and that’s kind of what you feel like when you’re in these meetings. You’ve got people who don’t know movies and don’t watch movies for pleasure deciding what movie you’re going to be allowed to make.

That’s one reason studio movies aren’t better than they are, and that’s one reason that cinema, as I’m defining it, is shrinking.

Read the complete transcript on and watch the entire Steven Soderbergh presentation on 4.27.13 at SFIFF on


[divider]About the Filmmaker[/divider]

Steven Soderbergh is an American film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and an Academy Award–winning film director. A few of his films:

Erin Brockovitch
The Informant
Ocean’s 11,12,13
Sex, Lives & Videotape
Side Effects

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