High Flying Bird

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High Flying Bird
High Flying Bird (2019 poster).png
Official poster
Directed bySteven Soderbergh
Produced byJoseph Malloch
Written byTarell Alvin McCraney
Music byDavid Wilder Savage
CinematographySteven Soderbergh
(as Peter Andrews)
Edited bySteven Soderbergh
(as Mary Ann Bernard)
  • Extension 765
  • Harper Road Films
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • January 27, 2019 (2019-01-27) (Slamdance)
  • February 8, 2019 (2019-02-08) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[2]

High Flying Bird is a 2019 American sports drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh, from a story suggested by André Holland, with the screenplay by Tarell Alvin McCraney.[3] The film stars Holland, Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Glenn Fleshler, Jeryl Prescott, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley, Caleb McLaughlin, Bobbi Bordley, Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Duke.

The film had its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 27, 2019, and was released on February 8, 2019, by Netflix.


Sports agent Ray Burke works to break a basketball lockdown with the help of rookie basketball player Erick Scott, by pitching a business opportunity which causes an earthquake in the world of sports.


Additionally, Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe, Joy Taylor, Evan Rosenblum, Van Lathan, and Kristina Pink, appear as themselves. Basketball players Reggie Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Donovan Mitchell make appearances as themselves in individual interview scenes.


In October 2017, it was announced André Holland had been cast in the film, with Steven Soderbergh directing from a screenplay written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, with Extenstion 765 producing.[4][5] In March 2018, Zazie Beetz and Kyle MacLachlan joined the cast of the film.[6][7] In April 2018, Melvin Gregg joined the cast of the film.[8]


Principal photography began in February 2018, in New York City[9] and the film wrapped on March 15, 2018.[10] The film was shot using an iPhone 8 smartphone, equipped with an anamorphic lens produced by Moondog Labs.[11]


In September 2018, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film.[12] Speaking about how Netflix got involved with the film, director Steven Soderbergh explained:

"I'd been in conversations with Netflix during Unsane [also shot on an iPhone], and when I ended up going in a different way, I said, 'Look, I have this other thing, I will make sure you get eyes on it early.' When it was basically finished, I brought it to them and they said, 'Great, we'd like to buy it.' It felt like, the kind of film it is, the best way to maximize eyeballs. It's got a better shot at finding all the people who will like it. Otherwise, it's a slow-rolling platform release, which are expensive and you're bound by where the big arthouse theaters are. You can't just go anywhere. I just felt I'd rather have it drop and have everybody be able to see it."[13]

It had its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 27, 2019.[14] It was released on February 8, 2019.[15]


High Flying Bird received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 92% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 104 reviews, with a weighted average of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "High Flying Bird takes a thoughtful and engrossing look at professional sports that sees Steven Soderbergh continuing to test the limits of new filmmaking technology."[16] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 78 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]


  1. ^ "High Flying Bird". Slamdance Film Festival. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (March 25, 2018). "Steven Soderbergh, interview: 'I'm hoping that #metoo will expand into a general discussion about arseholes'". iNews. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Collis, Clark (February 6, 2019). "André Holland, interview: 'André Holland on sports drama High Flying Bird and why Steven Soderbergh is a baller'". EW.
  4. ^ "Exclusive: Post-"Logan Lucky" Steven Soderbergh Plots Next Film, "High Flying Bird"". Showbiz411. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "High Flying Bird". Production Listing. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  6. ^ Elise-Sandeberg, Bryn (March 8, 2018). "'Atlanta' Star Zazie Beetz on the Show's "Male Gaze" and Training for 'Deadpool 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kyle MacLachlan Talks About The Series Finale Of 'Portlandia'". YouTube. March 21, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2018). "Russell Hornsby Joins 'Creed II'; Melvin Gregg Cast In 'High Flying Bird'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  9. ^ Raup, Jordan (February 5, 2018). "Steven Soderbergh Reteams with André Holland for NBA Drama 'High Flying Bird,' Shooting This Month". The Film Stage. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Sharf, Zack (March 18, 2018). "Steven Soderbergh Wraps André Holland Film 'High Flying Bird' and Has First Cut Done Three Hours Later". IndieWire. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  11. ^ "High Flying Bird improves on Steven Soderbergh's iPhone experiment". The Verge. 2019-02-08. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  12. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (September 11, 2018). "Netflix Swoops On Global Rights To Steven Soderbergh's NBA Drama 'High Flying Bird' Starring André Holland & Zazie Beetz". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Slamdance: Steven Soderbergh Talks Filming 'High Flying Bird' With an iPhone". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Welk, Brian (December 11, 2018). "Steven Soderbergh to Receive 2019 Founders Award at Slamdance Festival". The Wrap. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  15. ^ McNary, Dave (December 11, 2018). "Slamdance Festival Selects Steven Soderbergh for Founders Award". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  16. ^ "High Flying Bird". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "High Flying Bird". Metacritic. Retrieved February 8, 2019.

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