Indie filmmaker Kevin Smith debuted his latest offering Red State to a mixed reaction at Sundance on Sunday evening, but the biggest news came from the subsequent Q&A session in which the Clerks director announced that he would be adopting the unusual approach of distributing the film himself via ‘SModcast Pictures’. Smith’s plan is to take Red State out on the road touring the US from March 5th without spending “a fucking dime on marketing” and charging between six and ten times the usual price of a ticket in return for a screening of the film and special Q&A.
Furthermore, along with turning his back on the Hollywood distribution system, Smith also revealed that following his next project – the hockey comedy-drama Hit Somebody – he would be retiring from directing in order to focus on releasing independent features through SModcast Pictures in what he describes as ‘Indie Film 2.0’.
Kevin Smith talks Red State at Sundance…
Should Smith’s experiment fail you have to suspect that he’s burned quite a few bridges with his anti-Hollywood rant (not to mention his recent comments on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast where he described the experience of working with Cop Out star Bruce Willis as “fucking soul crushing”) although I’m sure that even with charging upwards of $50 a ticket for the ‘Red State Experience’ he’ll be able to rely on his rabid fan-base to turn a tidy profit.
However, will that same fan-base be willing to throw down their hard earned money on a film just because it’s got the old ‘Kevin Smith presents…’ tag attached to its title? I’m not so sure, and given that he’s come in for quite a bit of criticism for his last few movies – and failed to find a traditional distributor for Red State – could this whole thing be a simple case of throwing his toys out of the pram?