Sundance Journal: ‘Red State’ Premiere

Monday was a day of rest. I only had one movie to go to, and that was the big premiere of Kevin Smith’s ‘Red State’. My wife came down from our house in Logan, Utah to hang out with me. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about what we did all day, so I’ll skip straight to the festival-related stuff.

There were indeed protesters at the premiere of ‘Red State’. Kevin Smith and his entourage showed up in a chartered bus and got out to protest the protesters. Later on, after the movie was over, Smith showed us some of the signs that he was most proud of. One sign held up by one of his gay friends read: “Dick tastes yummy.” Yes, Smith is still fourteen years old at heart, but it made me laugh.

The big deal at the screening was that Smith was promising to auction off the rights to his movie after the screening. Tons of distributors showed up to bid, only to have him basically punk them. Smith announced that he’s creating a new studio that will be open to young filmmakers. If they release their movies through him, it won’t cost them nearly as much as if they were to be bought by a studio. Smith also dropped the bomb that ‘Red State’ was the second-to-last feature film he’s ever going to make. In 2012, he has a movie coming out called ‘Hit Somebody’, and he claims that he’s done after that. He wants to focus on releasing other indie movies and helping young filmmakers achieve their dreams. It’s pretty commendable, and I hope it works out.

Still, his announcement was extremely long-winded as he described the ins and outs of how a movie gets released and how studios pay almost five times the movie’s cost just to advertise it. It was definitely an eye-opener into the world of how movies are released.

Celebrity Sightings

Just Kevin Smith. Well, that and Wayne Gretzky’s hockey stick that he was holding when he won his fourth (I think that’s what Smith said) Stanley Cup. Smith brought it out to segue into a metaphor. His Question & Answer session was all Answer. No one else got to ask anything. It was a pretty crazy event, but also fun to be part of.

Capsule Reviews

‘Red State’ – Everyone I talked to kept saying that they thought ‘Red State’ was extremely violent. I guess none of them went to ‘I Saw the Devil‘. Truthfully, it is a little brutal, but never very graphic in its violence. It’s an ambitious movie where everyone is in danger of being killed off. I liked that about the movie. No one is safe from dying. It really kept me on my toes. There’s a lot of misplaced humor in it, though. And Smith really has a problem getting off his soap box with some of his dialogue. There are times he borders on hypocrisy when he becomes just as preachy as the religious people he’s railing against. Still, it’s a very thrilling movie and a departure from Smith’s norm. I liked it.

4 comments

  1. Smith is one of those guys that I’d rather hear talking about movies than making movies. I’m glad to hear ‘Red State’ wasn’t bad, but I’m extremely jealous of not hearing that talk about the inner-workings of the industry. Sounds like it was well worth seeing!

  2. Isn’t the best news to come from this event the fact that Kevin is going to retire as a director? Dude, write all the screenplays you want, but you’ve never been a particularly good or inovative filmmaker (although you were better when you didn’t believe your own press).

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