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Sundance 2011: Kevin Smith Goes Rogue

Lisa Rau |
January 26, 2011 | 4:18 p.m. PST


Kevin Smith (photo courtesy Ian Muttoo via Flickr)
Kevin Smith (photo courtesy Ian Muttoo via Flickr)
The man behind "Silent Bob" has spoken.

"Eff you, film distributors. I'm taking your job."

In a nutshell, here's Kevin Smith's latest fight-for-the-underdog move:

After the premiere of his new film Red State, Smith face-pushed film distributors by selling the rights to his film... to himself. For 20 bucks. He announced plans to showcase the film solo, cutting deals with theaters without the "soul-killing, uncreative, backwards-ass, bullshit business," which he complained would want to spend $20 million to advertise a movie that only cost $4 million to make.

The already-famous indie filmmaker hits the road in March, with his film and 1.7 million Twitter followers in tow.

For the most part, onlookers seemed to admire his boldness. We get it. You're literally independent. That's hot.

But what do other indie filmmakers think about the brazen move? Should true independents take advertising and distribution solely into their hands? What if you don't tweet?

Here's what some from the Sundance 2011 USC School of Cinematic Arts cocktail party said:

For many indie filmmakers, screening a film at Sundance Film Festival is a golden ticket to reaching big audiences. Landing a distribution at Sundance has made many filmmaker's careers.

But of course, there will always be independent artists who would rather live out of an IKEA box than sell the rights to their art. They may appreciate one, sole genuine admirer far more than one million drooling philistines.

That independent spirit is the heart of Sundance, after all.

Reach columnist Lisa Rau here and follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaRau.



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