Steven Soderbergh will deliver the tenth annual State of Cinema Address at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society announced on Wednesday.
The Academy Award-winning director of "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," "Traffic" and "Side Effects," will speak at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on April 27 — a month before what may be his final feature-length film, "Behind the Candelabra," premieres on HBO.
Soderbergh declared his intentions to retire from filmmaking to focus on painting in several interviews in 2011. He later commented that retirement may be too strong of a word and "sabbatical" was more appropriate.
Either way, Ted Hope, the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, believes the filmmaker's plans for the future, paired with his experience, will make whatever he decides to say very interesting.
"Steven Soderbergh has been a one-man force for change in the film business, never neglecting the art, entertainment or process, pushing the industry forever forward," Hope said. "His keen awareness of the current moment in the development of this art form makes him particularly well suited to deliver the Festival's State of Cinema Address, especially considering his apparent intention to retire from filmmaking."
Previous State of Cinema speakers at the San Francisco Film Fest have been author Jonathan Lethem, film producer Christine Vachon, film editor Walter Murch, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, Wired publisher Kevin Kelly, actress Tilda Swinton, writer/director Brad Bird, cultural commentator B. Ruby Rich and Michel Ciment, the longtime editor of the influential French film magazine Positif.
The festival kicks off on April 25 and runs through May 9.
"Who better to point the way forward than this artist whose career has embodied the spirit of independence from the very beginning?" Hope added. "I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear what he has to say."