Steven Soderbergh

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Steven Soderbergh at the 2009 Venice Film Festival

Steven Andrew Soderbergh (born January 14, 1963 in Atlanta , Georgia ) is an American film director , film producer , screenwriter , cameraman and film editor .

Under the pseudonym Peter Andrews he also works as a cameraman , mainly in his own films, he also appears more often in the credits for editing than Mary Ann Bernard . His film Sex, Lies and Video received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1989 . This made Soderbergh the youngest filmmaker to receive this important award. He also received an Oscar in 2001 for Traffic - Power of the Cartel .

After video productions he made independent films (Sex, Lügen und Video , 1989; Kafka , 1991). Playing with time and action levels became a trademark of his later films ( Out of Sight , 1998, Traffic - Macht des Kartell , 2000; Ocean's Eleven , 2001).


Steven Soderbergh was the fifth of six children in Atlanta ( Georgia ) to the east of the United States born. His father, Peter Andrew Soderbergh, was a professor of education and his mother, Mary Ann Soderbergh, used to work as a psychologist . His paternal grandfather was a Swedish immigrant from Stockholm. Three months after his birth the family moved to Austin ( Texas ), 1967 for Pittsburgh ( Pennsylvania ) and 1973 to Charlottesville ( Louisiana ) around. In 1977 the company finally moved to Baton Rouge , Louisiana. Soderbergh's father became dean of the education department at Louisiana State University . In 1979 his parents separated. Steven Soderbergh was a gifted baseball player but then discovered his love for film. During his school days he enrolled in the animation film class and at the age of 13 he started making his first short films with a Super 8 camera that he had borrowed from university. In his youth he saw the movie Jaws from Steven Spielberg 28 times and American Graffiti from George Lucas 14 times. He practically learned the settings and cuts of the films by heart. After graduating from high school, the then 18-year-old worked as an editor in Los Angeles for the television series Games People Play . However, he soon returned unsatisfied to Baton Rouge, where he wrote scripts and shot other small self-productions.

Through a friend, he became aware of the rock band Yes , who were looking for a director who could capture their tour on film. Soderbergh got the job and filmed the group performing. The band liked the result so much that they asked him to make another film about them. Soderbergh agreed and the concert film 9012Live: The Solos was made . In 1986 the film was nominated for the Grammy Awards for Best Long Video Video. In 1988 Soderbergh married actress Betsy Brantley , and in 1994 they divorced. There is a daughter in common.

Brad Pitt , George Clooney , Matt Damon , Andy García , Julia Roberts and Soderbergh in December 2001

In 1989 the independent film Sex, Lügen und Video followed , for which he wrote the script in just eight days. The film was screened with applause and praise at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1989 and won the Palme d'Or . This was followed by films with little financial success, such as Kafka (1991) and King of the Marble Players (1993).

His commercial breakthrough came in 1998 with the crook comedy Out of Sight , which was based on a template by Elmore Leonard . For Traffic - Macht des Kartell (2000), Soderbergh received the Oscar for best director. Since then he has made some artistically challenging films that he was able to cast with top stars such as Brad Pitt , George Clooney and Julia Roberts , which also increased his commercial success.

In 2000, Soderbergh and George Clooney founded the production company Section Eight Productions , with which they from then on produced films. In 2006 Clooney left the company.

With the crook comedy Ocean's Eleven (2001) Soderbergh achieved his greatest commercial success. The film grossed 451 million worldwide US dollar one. He also directed the sequels Ocean's 12 (2004) and Ocean's 13 (2006).

In addition, there were also more sophisticated films such as The Good German - In the Ruins of Berlin (2006) or Che - Revolución / Che - Guerrilla (2008), which flopped at the box office despite critical praise .

Soderbergh has been making his films with digital cinema cameras since 2008 . The films Unsane and High Flying Bird were shot with an iPhone .

After the box office successes Contagion (2011) and Magic Mike (2012), Soderbergh's next feature film was made in 2013 with Side Effects . Even before it was released, the director announced that he would then withdraw from the film business for an indefinite period. Soderbergh justified this, among other things, with increasingly complicated working conditions in Hollywood and too much stress from his work. At the end of April 2013, Soderbergh gave a highly acclaimed speech at the San Francisco International Film Festival on the "State of the Film", in which, in addition to the studios' increasing focus on the production of tentpole releases with a story that was as easy to understand as possible, he also discussed the massive increase in marketing costs and criticized the growing discrepancy between filmmakers and film producers .

After several movie studios had rejected the production, Soderbergh turned the biography of the entertainer Liberace as a television film Liberace - Too much of a good thing is wonderful for the Pay TV transmitter HBO with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the lead roles. The film was awarded 11 Emmys (including Best Miniseries or TV Movie and Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie ) and was shown in theaters in Europe. In 2014 and 2015 he directed the television series The Knick . He also directed The Library , an adaptation of Dave Cullen's book Columbine, about the Littleton School Massacre, at the New York Public Theater in 2014 . He is involved in Magic Mike XXL from 2015 as a cameraman, film editor and executive producer.

Filmography (selection)


Feature films


Short films

  • 1987: Winston
  • 2004: Equilibrium (short film segment in the film Eros )

TV films and series

  • 1993: Perfect Crimes (Fallen Angels) (TV series, episodes The Quiet Room and The Professional Man )
  • 2003: K Street (TV series)
  • 2005: Unscripted (pilot of the television series)
  • 2013: Liberace - Too much of a good thing is wonderful ( Behind the Candelabra , TV movie)
  • 2014–2015: The Knick (TV series)



  • Stefan Rogall: Steven Soderbergh and his films . Schüren, Marburg 2003 - ISBN 3-89472-340-8
  • Frank Arnold: Experiments in Hollywood: Steven Soderbergh and his films . Bender, Mainz 2003 - ISBN 3-9806528-8-2
  • "Making art is like war". Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh breathes elegance into action cinema - and thinks out loud about quitting. A conversation with someone who wants to reinvent himself. In: Welt am Sonntag , March 4, 2012, p. 44. (Interview: Holger Kreitling ) Online

Web links

Commons : Steven Soderbergh  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Time Encyclopedia volume 13, page 482: Soderbergh, Steven - ISBN 3-411-17573-7 .
  2. Steven Soderbergh on ( Memento from April 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  3. a b Friday of April 25, 2013, page 18
  4. A filmmaker's celluloid feats. In: The Hindu . The Hindu, July 18, 2003, accessed on June 1, 2019 (English): "Soderbergh wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles ..."
  6. Read the Full Transcript of Steven Soderbergh's Impassioned 'State of Cinema' Address From the San Francisco Film Festival at, accessed May 15, 2013
  7. Steven Soderbergh State Of Cinema Address At SFIFF: 'Fewer & Fewer Studio Executives Know Movies' at, accessed May 15, 2013
  8. SPIEGEL.Online : Article on Behind the Candelabra
  9. ^ John Horn: 'The Library' rewrites the book on Columbine. In: The Los Angeles Times. April 24, 2014, accessed January 28, 2020.