Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I wrote this for the SLCFF blog a little while ago and figured I'd repost it here, in case anyone that reads this site didn't know I also do a lot of stuff over there.

SLCFF.com -- Everyone has to have heard about Kevin Smith Vs. The World by now, right?

If not, I’ll fill you in quickly: Kevin Smith (CLERKS, CHASING AMY) was at Sundance with his new horror movie RED STATE. When the film was first accepted, he said on Twitter that he planned to pick a distributor right there in the room after the screening. Everyone (including me) thought that meant he’d auction it off to the highest bidder without taking all those film festival meetings you hear about (or see on ENTOURAGE). When the “auction” started, Smith bid $20 for the distribution rights and won immediately. He then announced that self-distribution had been the plan all along. He’s taking RED STATE on a city by city tour in March, followed in October by distribution through is own SModcast Pictures (You can read his version at his blog).

This has probably (and unfortunately) been the biggest story coming out of the Sundance Film Festival so far and the reactions are all over the place. There are a lot of people on his side (fans mostly, but some in the film industry also) and a lot of people that hate him more now than they did before Sunday night (film critics and bloggers mostly).

I’ve spent the last few hours reading up on it and there are people like music video director Ryan Mackfall who support and love his decision and then there are people like Devin Faraci, Editor of Badass Digest (the film and culture blog started by the guys that run Alamo Drafthouse) who absolutely hate the idea and feel Smith is actually making things harder for independent filmmakers.

Having spent a great deal of time touring the country playing music (as have quite a few of the people involved in the SLCFF, which is kind of where we honed our DIY, grassroots style) I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t take their indie film on the road. It could be a pricey venture for some, but it’s what they did in the old days (it was called ‘four-walling’) and it just might work again.

Some people might feel that an On Demand type release is the future of indie movies, but that’s kind of sad to think about. I’ll always love going to a theater, ordering popcorn and sitting in a seat to see the film with an audience (even if there is that one lady that laughs really loudly at everything even remotely funny).

That’s one of the reasons we started the Salt Lake City Film Festival in the first place. We love films and we love giving people an opportunity to show them to audiences. It makes us happy when we see a director or writer beaming after their film has just wowed everyone in the theater, and we’ll keep doing it as long as there are filmmakers out there willing to put their heart on their sleeve and share their stories with the world.

But what about you? What do you think of Smith’s plan? Is it a bold new move, Indie Film 2.0, as he calls it or is it a slap in the face across the industry?

1 comment:

  1. its both, the film industry needs to change with the dawn of the digital age. anyone who is current with technology will tell you that the standard model for the film industry is failing and they are doing little to keep up with the changes in our technological society. im all for the idea of films being put out for their niche audiences at an astoundingly smaller price-tag. personally i think hes on to something and it seems to me the only people who have anything bad to say about it are those who are either so entrenched in the current way of things it'll mean costing them their jobs or people who are trying to break their way in somehow who truly don't like the idea of having to start over.