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Director Kevin Smith Angers Buyers With a Fake-Out at Sundance

| 24 Jan 2011 21:43

The Dogma director held a faux auction for his new horror film Red State, upsetting representatives who actually intended to bid on the distribution rights.

Kevin Smith's new film Red State is a departure for the Mallrats and Clerks director. The film is a thriller, following three young men as they're captured and terrorized by a tiny, violent fundamentalist church. Smith vowed to sell the film's distribution rights in the screening room at the Sundance Film Festival, and did so. The surprise came when he sold them to himself.

Immediately following the screening of the film, Smith came out and gave what The Hollywood Reporter calls "a long and profanity-laced speech" in which the director "lambasted movie studios for a system he said is unfair and outdated and too focused on advertising." The speech lasted more than 15 minutes, at which point the auction was to begin. Smith bid a token $20 and then closed the bidding, announcing his intentions to eschew the traditional distribution system and release the movie himself, though his company SModcast Pictures.

Smith intends to take the film on the road throughout the year, beginning March 5 and leading up to the movie's official release on October 19. He wants to make back a good portion of the film's $4 million budget back through this roadshow, and will market the movie through his Twitter and podcast followings.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, buyers from indie film studios didn't seem to agree with Smith's declaration that, "In indie film 2.0, we don't let them sell our movie, we sell our movie ourselves," rather they were angry that they'd been duped, and offended that Smith insulted their profession so thoroughly. Deadline spoke to one snubbed buyer, who complained, "He stole two hours and insulted every one of us. We were told this was an acquisition title, we all brought our teams. We could have spent that time evaluating some other movie. Kevin didn't acknowledge that we are the ones risking capital acquiring films... not him, and he didn't understand how our business works, at all."

The Hollywood Reporter says Smith maintained, "he had never intended to get into the business of the movie industry - noting that he's simply a 'fat, masturbating stoner;'" it seems right now, many offended independent film distributors might be inclined to agree.

Source: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter

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