Friday, February 4, 2011

Roundtable Roundup: Kevin Smith, Studio

A Look At What's Making News Today

Kevin Smith signs deal with self, will tour with latest film

Kevin Smith has announced he's self-distributing his latest film, "Red State." Smith's latest outing was touted as a horror film, but as many reviewers pointed out after a screening at Sundance last week, the movie is less horror than it is a lampoon of politics and religion. The screening itself became a bit of a spectacle, drawing protesters from the wacked-out Westboro Baptist Church and a counter protest from Smith.

Smith says he bought his own film for 20 bucks and will begin a 13-city tour in March with the movie and some of the cast in tow. Admission to the road tour screenings will be around $60, which Smith will use to shore up a 1000-print release in October.

Smith had earlier indicated he would auction the film but changed his mind. He tells Time Magazine he has no interest in expending effort and money marketing the movie to an audience that could care less: "We're in a global economy now that does not support the kind of movies I like making in terms of marketing them. It doesn't make sense to try to sell what I do to an audience that doesn't want to see it. And I have been doing this for 17 years; I know there is the audience that likes what I do and then there are cats that don't even know who I am or are indifferent to what I do."

Regardless of what you think of Smith's films, or what Smith thinks of his critics, Smith is marching on a path beaten by a growing number of filmmakers who look to tap a core audience with more precision, while keeping a larger chunk of the proceeds.

In his own news release about the self-distribution "deal," Smith urges filmmakers to beat the system, without taking aim at the studios: "Don't hate the studio; BECOME the studio. Anybody can make a movie; what we aim to prove is anyone can release a movie as well."

-- Mike Gillis