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Soderbergh Pushes Industry Boundaries

2005_steven_soderbergh.jpg Hollywood Reporter has an in depth look at the filmmaker Steven Soderbergh's ability to straddle both the independent and studio worlds in the film industry. Soderbergh has directed many big studio productions like "Ocean's Eleven" and "Traffic." However, many more of his films have been independent films that have utilized novel ways of doing things. Once of the films highlighted in the piece, "Bubble" was shot entirely with digital cameras and used unknowns from Ohio. He was able to shoot in this type of style by drawing from his experience shooting "K-Street" which was shot in a method that required on the fly shooting, and an improvisational sense.

Readers of this site might note the departure in tone about what might be considered gimmicks from this article about Soderbergh's often partner in crime, George Clooney. The difference here is that Soderbergh is using his "gimmicks" to serve business ends, not artistic ones, and he touts them as such. Artistically, making a film on digital video with unknown and untrained actors has got to be a train wreck, but from a business stand point it's brilliant. No number of psuedo-artistic justifications are going to make up for the fact that the movie is not going to be as good as one made on film with real actors. (For now that is, digital video may well advance past film any day now.) Bubble was made for $1.6 million. That's fantastic business if the movie is at all watchable.

These are the type of innovations that the film industry sorely needs. These all lead to cheaper films that somehow don't end up being cheesy B movies. With movies costing less, more content risks can be made, and smaller audiences have to be attracted to make the film profitable. These are the type of choices we need to reward at the box office to make sure more are made like this... That is assuming the movie is watchable. --Terrence Ryan.


Posted by on September 23, 2005 2:39 PM
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