I listened to a great interview with Kevin Smith and Larry Mantle on KPCC Public Radio’s Air Talk this morning and wanted to open the discussion of his upcoming film Red State here.
While Kevin Smith is known mostly for his off-color comedic fare, he recently made news at Sundance following the screening of his upcoming horror film Red State in Park City, Utah. Promising to sell the distribution rights at Sundance, Kevin Smith spoke to the audience following the screening and discussed his plans for self-distribution. Ultimately Smith purchased the rights from himself for the nominal sum of $20. Smith has the luxury of being a beloved filmmaker and fan darling, but his concept is certainly original and innovative. Edward Burns attempted self-distribution earlier this year with his $25,000 feature Nice Guy Johnny, but the $4 million dollar budget of Red State, coupled with a cast headlined by John Goodman, promises to make the release of Red State more risky and in many ways more important for the independent film community that wants to shoot larger scale movies without the marketing machine of a large studios. Burns, to his credit, shoots with found locations and available light and focuses on small, character stories with increasingly new, unknown actors. Red State features Goodman alongside Melissa Leo, a favorite for this years Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, and Southland favorite Kevin Alejandro.
Smith discussed with Larry Mantle how frustrating it was to bring a movie in under budget and still struggle to make a profit because the marketing budget dwarfed the production costs. Smith seemed confident that through international and domestic partnerships, recouping his $4 million investment is all but a sure thing. The film will initially be screen city to city through a Kevin Smith promotional tour, followed by digital distribution through Netflix and other distribution platforms.
You can view the trailer for Red State below. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen the film, but knowing that it is based on the hateful folks over at Westboro Baptist Church makes me all the more intrigued. Enjoy.