Notes From Sundance

01.25.11

Kevin Smith: Indie God or Disappointment?

The hype, the letdown, and the residual anger surrounding his new movie, 'Red State.'
kevin-smith-sundance-protest
Kevin Smith protests the Westboro Baptist Church. (SundanceChannel.com)

First there was the hype, then there was the letdown, and now, a day after Kevin Smith screened his latest film, Red State at Sundance, there is the residual anger. On Sunday, the Clerks writer-director stunned audiences and film buyers alike by announcing that he was not, as promised, going to auction off the distribution rights to Red State, a movie he touted as a “horror movie” inspired by Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps.

Instead, Smith bought the rights himself, for twenty bucks, and said that in an act of anti-studio-system protest, he’d sell his own film, starting things off with a 15-city tour this summer. Smith’s disingenuousness was made all the worse by the overload of characteristic Smith hype that preceded Red State’s screening. (The protest/counter-protest outside the Eccles Theater being just one piece of his elaborate fabric.) Not helping matters is that the film, though loved by certain Smith die-hards, is generally considered a disappointment.

What’s most remarkable, though, is that at a festival where films are premiering every hour, and where even the most memorable of them are quickly bowled over by this minute’s—as opposed to last minute’s–buzz, people are still stewing over Smith’s Sundance episode.

To read the rest of Nicole's post on Sundance Channel, click here