Steven Soderbergh delivered an impressive speech on “The State of Cinema” at this year’s San Francisco Film Festival. Transcripts of his speech immediately went viral and the festival soon released an official video, embedded below.
Soderbergh begins by separating films into two classes: cinema and movies. As Soderbergh defines them:
Cinema is a specificity of vision. It’s as unique as a fingerprint. If it’s done well, you know exactly who made it…Is there a difference between cinema and movies? If I ran Team America, I’d say fuck ya. Cinema is something that is made, movies are seen.
Unfortunately, as Soderbergh points out, “cinema” is an endangered species. The drive of his speech is devoted to asking the question: why?
Soderbergh is an especially good person to answer this question. His effort to make and promote auteur-style films within the studio system has constantly thrown him face-to-face with the concerns of studio executives. This insider knowledge (especially about the financial requirements of distribution) makes his speech a must-see for any filmmaker.