Presence | Steven Soderbergh’s supernatural thriller acquired by Neon

Presence, directed by Steven Soderbergh
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Indie distributor Neon has snapped up Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, the supernatural thriller Presence, at the Sundance Film Festival.

A director who’s long experimented with genres and filmmaking styles, Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, the supernatural thriller Presence, sounds as formally unconventional as his 2018 iPhone-shot thriller, Unsane. It’s shot entirely in one location – a surburban house – and reportedly filmed entirely from the perspective of a ghost stalking an increasingly unsettled family.

It’s an experimental concept that has evidently paid off, with its debut at the Sundance film festival joined by some positive reviews, with even the less glowing ones conceding that it’s an intriguing technical exercise. The aura surrounding the film – no doubt helped by Steven Soderbergh’s reputation – is such that independent production/distribution company Neon has now acquired the film.

Deadline reports that, although the amount Neon paid for the film hasn’t been disclosed, it had to fend off interest from at least nine other interested bidders, so it’s likely to be a fairly high sum – more than a round of drinks at your local Wetherspoons, put it that way.

That Neon is so interested in Presence is of note in itself, given that the company – which is only seven years old – has a remarkably high hit-rate when it comes to film choices. It picked up Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite for distribution in 2019, and that quickly became both a huge box office success and a Best Picture winner at the Oscars.

Other acclaimed films swept under its banner include I, Tonya, Triangle Of Sadness, Michael Mann’s Ferrari, and Anatomy Of A Fall, which has a strong chance of garnering a Best Picture win following its Oscar nomination on the 23rd January.

Starring Lucy Liu and Chris Sullivan as the parents of two teenagers, Presence sees the family move into an old house which soon turns out to be haunted. Veteran screenwriter David Koepp wrote the contained genre piece, and it’s the latest in a series of collaborations between he and Soderbergh. The nifty, under-seen Kimi was their first outing together in 2022; with Presence finished, they’re next working on a much bigger project, the spy thriller Black Bag. Starring Cate Blanchett and Michael Fassbender, it’s due to begin filming in May.

With Presence now under the Neon banner, it’s likely we’ll be hearing about release dates soon. We’ll bring you those as we get them.

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