Monday, January 24, 2011

Red State and Kevin Smith: Warrior Poet or Rogue Filmmaker? UPDATE- Full Sundance Speech

The Sundance Film Festival started this past week. Already, film blogs are posting reviews only hours after the screenings conclude. One film that I have been following closely is the latest Kevin Smith Film RED STATE, a controversial horror film about an evangelical preacher in the mid west who captures and kills people whom he labels as "sinners" in the name of God. People who are familiar with Kevin Smith know him as the indy filmmaker who created a comic empire with his characters Jay and Silent Bob. It's usually the film students who prefer his serious work, Chasing Amy. However, in Smith's 17 year career, he hasn't strayed far from his dialogue heavy comedies filled with the wit, charm, and insider knowledge of the tri-state area.
The premiere screening of RED STATE last night was an event buzzing with discussion, not only about the film but the mission of the filmmaker. Kevin Smith has decided to distribute and promote this film on his own, making deals with art-house cinemas and spreading viral campaigns. In his official statement he says:
"The Harvey Boys (production company) have witnessed first hand the vagaries of "studio math" - the byzantine numbers game that sees an uneducated media and public celebrating "huge" openings at the box office while ignoring the obscene marketing costs attached to reach those figures. We believe it's a pyrrhic victory to simply "buy" an opening weekend by pouring millions of dollars into TV spots, billboards and print ads. As storytellers, why not instead use our creative abilities that resulted in a film in the first place to also creatively SELL that film directly to our public? We believe the state of film marketing has become ridiculously expensive and exclusionary to the average filmmaker longing simply to tell their story. When the costs of marketing and releasing a movie are four times that film's budget, it's apparent the traditional distribution mechanism is woefully out of touch with not only the current global economy, but also the age of social media." For the full statement click on this link
No matter your opinions of Kevin Smith's work, this is a situation that is worth your attention. I believe this approach is appropriate for the times we now live in. Often, I hear many of you discouraged over the cost of making a film. Even when a film is made, there are additional costs to screen, distribute, and market the film. Kevin Smith's reaction to the current big budget system of film making is one that should be taken with curiosity and consideration. I encourage all of you to look into this movement and follow Smith to see if his efforts become fruitful or disappointing.
Since I am a horror movie fan, personally, I am looking forward to this change and hope that Smith's endeavors are successful. If this film makes a profit using this method of distribution, do you think that business of filmmaking will be changed forever? Let us know.
Here are some more links to educate yourself on the film and the controversy: - Red State Home Page *NY Screening March 5th !!!!
FS Review on Red State Controversy
FS Review for Red State Film
/Film Quest for Red State Tickets
/Film Review Red State
NY Times Blog: Red State
Smodcast: Red State Podcast

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