By now you’ve probably heard about the address Steven Soderbergh gave yesterday at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) concerning the state of modern cinema.
The speech was intended, originally, only for the live audience. The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) documented the address in its entirety for archiving purposes, but never intended to release it publicly. But after audio of the speech leaked onto the internet yesterday, a critical mass of film lovers and moviemakers demanded SFFS Soderbergh’s entire, 38-minute Sermon on the Mount.
What begins as an anecdote about the frustrations of air travel and the annoying ubiquity of muzak ultimately segues to what Soderbergh considers the biggest problem facing cinema today: that film culture is “under assault by the studios.” In his mind, this degradation is the result of economic pressures, rather than a shift in philosophy. Highlighting the culpability of studio execs, Soderbergh posits:
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 strange situation… You’ve got people who don’t know movies and don’t watch movies for pleasure deciding what movie you’re going 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.
To read the entirety of Soderbergh’s enlightening and hilarious State of Cinema rant, check out the transcript done by the good people at Deadline. For more information about how to subscribe to MovieMaker Magazine, please visit the MovieMaker home page.