Director Steven Soderbergh often has numerous projects on his plate and not just film ones. With the upcoming Criterion Collection regular Blu-ray release of his famous 1989 debut film “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” he sat down with Filmmaker Magazine to discuss the new edition and revealed plans for something more ambitious.
Soderbergh has shot on various cameras over the years from handicams to proper film production cameras, but in the new interview he revealed he aims to get his entire filmography remastered and brought forward into today’s highest home video standard – 4K HDR:
“When the movie was first released we were still looking at cassettes, and we had the glory of laserdiscs. Then DVDs showed up, so we had to prepare for that. Then high-def showed up and we had to prepare for that. The technology that exists to create these masters continues to improve. So for instance, even though we might’ve ingested the movie at 4K 10 or 12 years ago for the Sony Blu-ray, the scanners that exist today are a lot better – and now we have HDR.
So even though, in this case, it was just coming out on Blu-ray, I requested, and Criterion agreed, to create a 4K HDR version of the master in preparation for a time when either Criterion starts making those kinds of streams available or there’s a decision down the road to put out a physical 4K HDR Blu-ray. I wanted to be ready for all of that.
It also coincided with a project that I think is going to take a long, long time, which is to attempt to get everything I’ve done re-mastered and brought into the 4K HDR world. We’ve been spending a lot of time lately focusing on some of the titles that have reverted back to me and that I control.
I’m reaching out to all the companies that I’ve worked with in the past to see if they’d be interested in going back and re-mastering the films in this new format. The good news is that totally coincidentally, Fox decided on their own to go back and re-master “Solaris” in 4K HDR and I just saw that two weeks ago. So we’re chipping away at it.
Soderbergh was also asked about his future projects – would he go back to studios or follow self-distribution models like he did with “Logan Lucky”? His upcoming Panama Papers project is expected to go straight to streaming and he reveals he’d be fine with all his future films following that path:
“It’s difficult for me to imagine a scenario in which I would literally make a movie for a studio. I’m too frustrated by the way that system works, both economically and creatively. That’s one of the reasons the Panama Papers project will probably end up at Netflix, because it’s right in that zone of movies that the studios are not interested in, mid-level budget movies for grown-ups We didn’t even take it out. We went to Netflix first and they seemed inclined to do it.
When we had a meeting, they said, ‘So we’re assuming you’re going to want some kind of theatrical release or festivals?’ And I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care if it never shows in a theater and I don’t care if I ever go to a festival again. You do whatever you need to do to get eyeballs on this thing. If that’s the way you want to do it, that’s fine. I’m just telling you, I don’t care.’ I have a creative process now that I’m happy with, both in terms of developing projects and then making them and then putting them out. I’m now driven solely by what stories attract me.”
Soderbergh also has “High Flying Bird” in post-production, no word on a release date as yet.