So there’s the director, Kevin Smith, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. The guy’s not comfortable promoting his own stuff, so it’s possible you haven’t. Anyway, he premiered his new movie, “Red State,” at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, and though he had claimed he was planning to auction the film off to distributors after the screening, he wound up spending his Q&A instead announcing his plans to self-distribute his film throughout the country. All of this garnered no reaction at all from the media. (The last link gives you our own thoughts, courtesy of my colleague Stephen Saito)
There are a lot of heated emotions surrounding Smith’s work of late. In recent months he’s repeatedly attacked critics for their negative reviews of his last movie “Cop Out,” and he came through on his vow not to have a press screening of “Red State” at Sundance, forcing the press to scrounge for a public ticket to the premiere when tickets were going for as high as $500 bucks a pop. The media claim they help create Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith claims he made himself, and all the media has try to do in recent years is tear him down. In truth, they’re both probably right to various degrees.
Which is why I like this video. It is the full 26 minutes of Smith’s speech, uncolored by journalists who might be a wee bit peeved at this guy for crapping on their whole line of work or by Smith himself who might be a wee bit peeved at these journalists for crapping on his whole body of work. If there’s one thing Smith is without question, it is candid, even to a fault. And while he’s bashing the people who’ve helped release his earlier films (I believe “people who just don’t fucking get it” is how he described them), he’s talking openly about the economics of Hollywood movies, something you don’t hear directors often do.
I remain skeptical that this model would work for anyone who doesn’t have Smith’s audience or talents as a promoter. But I don’t doubt it’s going to work for him. Have a listen: