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by Peter Knegt
January 24, 2011 7:24 AM
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Sundance 2011 | 10 Choice Kevin Smith Quotes From His "Red State" Rant

Kevin Smith counter-protests the Westboro Baptist Church before the Sundance premiere of "Red State." Photo by Peter Knegt.

First, there was the Westboro Baptist Church's protest prior to the screening, where about a half dozen members of the ultra fundamentalist organization faced off against Smith himself and close to 100 counterprotesters. Then, there was the movie itself. A satirical horror film, it takes on a Westboro-like church who is kidnapping, torturing and murdering sexually aberrant men.

But both the protest and the film (which received mixed notices at best) took a backseat to the night's third act, which saw Smith ramble for over 25 minutes in a lead-up to the announcement that he would self-distribute "Red State" after previously announcing he would auction the film on stage after the screening to any interested distributor. But when it came time for the auction, Smith himself bid $20 and announced that he "couldn't think of anything fucking worse 17 years [after 'Clerks'] than selling our movie to people who just don't fucking get it." He'll release the film in theaters in October, but he'll take it on a nationwide tour first (beginning on March 5th, check out tour dates here.

While Smith's rant ran to the tedious (after announcing the self-distribution, he spent 10 minutes explaining his business model), it certainly had its moments, as did his opening monologue. Here's 10 highlights from Smith's time on stage, both before and after "Red State" made its debut:

Upon taking the stage: "Sorry, we're running a little late. My family came and they were out in the parking lot holding up signs."

On how long it took to make "Red State": "We started making the very movie you're about to watch on September 21st. So that's about two days over four months ago. In the course of four months we started shooting, wrapped, cut and we're all ready to fucking unzip and pull out our big, fat 'Red State' cock and show it right here to everybody."

On what to expect from the film: "I promise you, ladies and gentlemen, that for the next 95 minutes all levity is going to leave this room. You're going to enter a world of hate and fucking hopelessness. I'm so not shitting. 'Red State' is not a comedy. This is hands down a horror movie, like 'Jersey Girl.' Be forewarned. You might get nauseous or run out of the screening. It's that kind of movie."

On Sundance sponsor Southwest Airlines: "One of the sponsors of this festival told me that if I wanted to sit I'd have to buy two fucking seats. Fuck that."

Reflecting on his history with Sundance: "Seventeen years ago, I came to this festival and took my shot. And it was amazing. My life changed in an evening. Everything fucking changed. And from that moment forward, we kept pretty busy working. We came back here a couple years after 'Clerks' with 'Chasing Amy' and that was nice because after 'Clerks' I'd made 'Mallrats' and everybody hated 'Mallrats' for some reason. But when I came back here with 'Chasing Amy' and everybody was like 'good job, you're back' and I got pats on the back... The last movie I made was 'Cop Out.' So naturally I had to get back here fucking quick."

On the business side of filmmaking: "I never wanted to know jackshit about business. I'm a fat, masturbating stoner. That's why I got into the movie business. It seemed like the place fat, masturbating stoners went. And if somebody had told me at the beginning of my career that 'you're going to have learn so much about business, finance, monetization and all this shit,' I would have said 'fuck this, I'm just going to stay home and masturbate.' Because that's too much work."

On marketing and opening films these days: "It took seven years for 'Clerks' - a movie that cost $27,575 - to go into profit. When that's happening... When you're spending four, five times the amount to market or open a movie than you are to make it, that's not inspiring to me at all. No kid can get into it now. I look at the fucking film world now and I'm like, there's no way I would try that. I wouldn't try 'Clerks' today. Because it's impenetrable. Even if you're lucky enough to make a movie, how the fuck are you going to open a movie? It takes so much fucking money, time and effort... And everything is fetishized about those fucking three days. They'll spend 30, 40, 50 million... Just for those three fucking days. I spent 25 days working on this. I'm not going to sit there and bank everything on three days. There's no fucking point."

On the pre-Sundance promotion of "Red State": "I had so much fun making this movie. I have had so much fun getting the movie ready for Sundance. Call it what you will - marketing, spinning, turning it into a circus - but I did from my fucking desk in my office while smoking joints and going 'this might be fun.' And it was a blast, and it was creative... Suddenly, it was like 'a movie doesn't need to end after you make it.'"

Why he's going to distribute "Red State" himself: "Selling my film is akin to having a baby and then handing it over to somebody else to raise. I know how to raise my kid. It's been 17 years that I've been doing this. I've been out there in the world and I've been listening. I think I know how to fucking do this. So, I know there's a lot of cats are in the audience waiting for an auction. I was going to pick my distributor in the room, auction style... I came here 17 years ago and all I wanted to do was sell my movie. And I can't think of anything fucking worse 17 years later than selling our movie to people who just don't fucking get it."

On his release plans: "We're going to release this picture ourselves through my SMODCast Pictures banner. On October 19th, that's when we hope to be in theaters... October 19th is a special day for me because it's the 17th anniversary of the theatrical release of 'Clerks.' So we figured, let's hit that day because it's kind of similar. We're starting over, so to speak. This time, it's not enough to just make the movie. We have to learn to how to release the movie. Because true independence isn't making a film and selling it to some jackass. True independence is schlepping that shit to people yourself. And that's what I intend to do."

Check out video from the protests, Smith's introduction, and the post-screening rant.

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13 Comments

  • francois marie-arouet | September 28, 2011 3:25 AMReply

    just watched red state on time warner on demand. the name kevin smith, for better or for worse, is really his most salient marketing tool. sundance buzz helped get the movie out there, but these days if you're semi indie you dont need to employ a somewhat sizable amount on advertising. let me reiterate: i payed to watch this film on my tv. no splitting real profits (albeit an 80/20 split that benefits smith-and im sure time warner gets a big cut), but his revenue base isnt tied to a series of small indie film houses around the country. look at radiohead. in rainbows sold less units but made them more money.

  • Film Slate Magazine | January 31, 2011 8:37 AMReply

    I used to be a big fan of Kevin Smith around the time of "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy." But, honestly - his films haven't been good enough in the last decade or so for me too care. After "Chasing Amy" it seemed like, for a quick second, that he might go the route of Woody Allen and put forth so more cerebral dramedies. Yet, here we are 14 years later, and it's nothing but *ick and fart jokes in his movies - I don't get why he still has a following.

  • kss | January 26, 2011 5:33 AMReply

    least we forget his movies plain suck and he shouldn't be were he is at....

  • CppThis | January 26, 2011 12:30 AMReply

    I like Kevin Smith but I think he's starting to lose his marbles...

  • Fairportfan | January 26, 2011 12:25 AMReply

    Chico: you might want to read this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_phelps#Support_for_Al_Gore) before you call Phelps an Al Gore supporter. Apparently he misunderstood Gore's positions in 1988 ... but he fixed that in 1992 and when he picketed Gore's father's funeral and screamed "Your Dad's in Hell!" at gore...

  • Peter Knegt | January 25, 2011 7:06 AMReply

    His discussion of his business model can be viewed in its entirety here: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thelostboy/archives/kevin_smiths_post_red_state_rant/

    He gets into it about halfway through the clip.

  • motionview | January 25, 2011 6:54 AMReply

    he spent 10 minutes explaining his business model
    Wow, I'm so glad you didn't include any of that! No one who reads Indiewire would be interested in that kind of information.

  • Scott M. | January 25, 2011 5:23 AMReply

    People are really missing the point about SMODcast Films. His intention is NOT to make independent films and then have the directors tour the country, expecting people to come see an unknown for $50-$60 a pop. The intention is to do this tour to replay the investors on Red State in an effort to become financially solvent to the point that they can release independent films in the future. It's also an experiment in mass marketing via social media.

    I'm not a fan of how he duped everyone into thinking there would be an auction. And to burn so many bridges with his comments might seriously come back to bite him. But I have to admire his "fuck it" attitude and punk rock mentality. Change does not happen by doing shit the same way ... change only happens when someone is brave enough to stand up, flip the bird at the "old way", and choose another path.

    I for one hopes he schedules a date in DFW so I can go, but if not, I'll be there in support when it's released in my local theater. We must support our independent artists! If not we'll keep being shoveled bucket fulls of shit like "Little Fockers" ...

  • Chico | January 25, 2011 4:52 AMReply

    I'm glad someone took on the Democrats at Westboro Baptist Church. I cannot believe Fred Phelps was a delegate and fund-raiser for Al Gore in 2000, or that he ran for U.S. Senator and mayor of Topeka! I do'nt get why the party doesn't throw that guy out. I guess somehow they figure people will use them to tar the other side, but they should be ashamed of themselves because Phelps is a Blue State guy despite the title.

  • Adam | January 24, 2011 9:20 AMReply

    Kevin - It won't work for new filmakers without a lot of help from Smith. If he spends months podcasting about your new movie, maybe you can get enough people to show up for this type of screening & q&a to cover a clerks-type budget and actually pocket a little cash.

    But really, this sounds to me like a path forward for Kevin's friends. Mosier was supposed to be writing something and thinking about directing. I could see his first project using this model. Maybe the same for Malcolm Ingram (although perhaps not for the gay porno he's talked about). There must be others.

    Although come to think of it, similar support from others with an audience could do the trick too. Note that Kevin Pollack's in the movie, and he's spent a lot of effort on building a economic model to monetize his podcasting.

  • Kevin | January 24, 2011 9:04 AMReply

    Leo, I think people are ignoring that part because his approach won't work with new filmmakers. People might pay 50 - 70 bucks to see Kevin Smith speak and then see his film but nobody's going to pay that to see you or me do a Q&A after our movies?
    I'm also not sure how successful his crowd-sourcing will be. Yes, having Kevin Smith support you will help you make some more money than just putting it on Kickstarter yourself but it's literally a poor man's version of what happens every day with producers - they find a project they like, go to their people for money, and try to get the film financed. The difference is that Smith's going to a lot of people for a little money instead of going after the fatter wallets that most producers go after. (And one issue when he brought this up as a way to support his own film was that people didn't want to pay money to help the film get made and then have to pay to actually see it.)

    Kevin - www.soulhonky.com

  • Kevin | January 24, 2011 8:52 AMReply

    I think it's cool that he's trying this and don't really get the hate he's getting but at the same time, his logic seems a bit off. He claims that he wouldn't have gotten into the today's movie business but, moments earlier, pointed out that it took "Clerks" seven years to become profitable. So it's not like Smith started in a simpler times or anything; the biz has been the same mess since he's started. And not to be snarky but the thing that's probably changed the most is that's he's probably given up hope that his own movies will ever breakthrough and make a lot of coin. I know he says that he always just made movies for himself but you have to think that deep in his heart he thought one of these flicks would have broken out at the box office.

    But pairing his new movies with speaking engagements seems like a great idea for him. He's got the fan base to pull this off so why let others get rich off of his work?

  • Leo | January 24, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    He's also offering his fans a chance to become filmmakers­!!! That's the real story!!! Why is everybody ignoring that?! That should be headline news!

    http://wp.­me/p1gK9Y-­er