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OPINION: So When Steven Soderbergh Makes a Film on an iPhone It’s “Daring” But When I Do It, I’m Not Allowed Back in The Winter Garden?

 by Garrett Brown. @garrettbrownproductions.



As an up-and-coming filmmaker, it is distressing to see how much gatekeeping there is amongst artists in New York City. Specifically, gatekeeping from the House Staff at the Winter Garden Theatre, who removed me last week from a matinee performance of Back to the Future: The Musical after I refused to stop filming the performance on my iPhone.


The development of the camera phone has ushered in the democratization of cinema, allowing any aspiring director to create. Even mainstream filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh have embraced the iPhone, eschewing traditional equipment that is often cost-prohibitive for new creators. So let me ask you, Shubert Organization: why is Steven Soderbergh celebrated for filming High Flying Bird entirely via iPhone, but my attempt to capture and document the realism of Marty McFly inventing rock n' roll ends up with me being “permanently banned” from attending all future productions?


Am I comparing myself to the Academy Award winning director of Traffic? Yes. Like Soderbergh, I have a wide variety of films that capture the range of human experience.


My 2018 film Spongebob Square Pants Slime Tutorial is equivalent in quality to the entire Ocean’s trilogy. In 2012, Soderbergh delighted audiences with Magic Mike, and a few years later, I released my thematic companion piece Magic Mike Live Vegas Show via a special Google Drive link.


These producers want you to believe they support the arts, yet they are actively preventing me from pursuing my craft. If I am not allowed back, who else will tell the story of Marty as he tries to return to the 1980’s?


Without my phone hidden in my breast-pocket, who else will be able to capture the torment that Biff inflicts upon Marty and his father George without adjusting for the muffled sound as I accidentally cover the speaker?


I vow here and now that I will make this film, with or without the support of the Shubert Organization! True artists can never be contained, and I will resume production just as soon as some stagehand accidentally leaves the stage door open a little too long and I’m able to slip inside.

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