Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has always been somewhat of a vanguard, as the creator of such critical touchstones as Sex, Lies and Videotape and The Girlfriend Experience. Now, the visionary director is taking the medium to new heights, with an immersive storytelling app and subsequent HBO limited series called Mosaic.
According to a press release from HBO, Soderbergh debuted a first look of the groundbreaking app at the Future of Storytelling Festival. He told the audience: "MOSAIC is a branching narrative piece. While branching narratives have been around forever, technology now allows, I hope, for a more elegant, intuitive form of engagement than used to be possible. Also, we weren’t reverse engineering the story to fit an existing piece of technology; the story was being created in lockstep with the technical team. The fluidity of that relationship made me feel comfortable because I wanted it to be a simple, intuitive experience. I didn’t want moments where you are making a decision to feel like interruptions.”
What exactly this will entail is hard to say. But if this trailer is any indication, the app will allow users to navigate the story through different storylines and clips, much like players would in analogous video games. People will be able to download the app for free in November. Then, in January, HBO will air a six-part version of the story that unfolds linearly, allowing viewers to see how their experience of it compares to Soderbergh's. The series stars Sharon Stone, Beau Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Paul Reubens, so that alone is pretty exciting. And regardless, it should be an interesting experiment. Who knows? Looking back 25 years from now, we could be saying "this was the first."