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Kevin Smith brings 'Red State' to L.A.

April 10, 2011 | 12:26 pm

Thefather "I know how hard it is to be a Kevin Smith fan." From the stage of the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Kevin Smith was addressing what seemed to be a room full of nothing but Kevin Smith fans after the local premiere of his new film, "Red State." 

The event capped off the first stage of a release strategy launched at the Sundance Film Festival in January. In some ways, it was a night in which it was never easier or better to be a Kevin Smith fan, as there was an upbeat, people's-gathering vibe to the whole evening. (This was the opposite, say, of the angry public beheading at the live show in Detroit by Charlie Sheen.)

Rather than sell the film to a conventional U.S. distributor, Smith is putting out the film on his own, hoping to cut out any middlemen and the need for an expensive marketing budget. And he's counting on the loyalty and patronage of his fans to make that plan work. As he said from the stage Saturday night, what with the 15-city premium-priced tour wrapping up with this L.A. stop and the sale of the DVD, VOD and foreign rights, "Red State" already will have made back its $4-million production budget before it reaches theaters in the fall.

Though Smith downplayed "Red State" as being in any way "a statement movie," he also acknowledged that it was "about two big subjects, Christianity and being an American." Smith -- who is known for dialogue-driven comedies such as "Clerks," "Chasing Amy" and the religion-themed "Dogma" -- has been describing "Red State" as a horror film, perhaps savvily trading one audience-friendly genre for another. The film's story involves a small, aggressively anti-gay religious congregation that through a series of events enters into a bloody armed standoff with a cadre of ATF agents at a remote compound.

ThevirginThe film certainly played well to the room, as there were derisive catcalls during an on-screen sermon denouncing homosexuality, screams of shock at some unforeseen twists and wild cheering as the villains got theirs. Smith said that, of the previous stops on the "Red State" tour, Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., had been "bloodthirsty" in their cheering -- but he said the Los Angeles crowd had topped both those cities.  

All told, Smith spent nearly 2 1/2 hours onstage Saturday night, first with a pre-screening introduction and then a marathon post-movie Q&A session that was longer than the film itself. After about an hour onstage following the movie, Smith brought out 10 members of the film's cast, including Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishé, Melissa Leo and Michael Parks. The questions from the audience, asked by people who had been lined up since before the cast was introduced, continued to be essentially only for Smith. He was, as it turned out, the one the Smith faithful had shown up for, just as the director had been saying in interviews building up to the screening.

The final question of the evening came from someone who introduced himself as an aspiring filmmaker and asked, "How do I get my stuff seen, how do I get a fair distribution deal somewhere?"

"I don't know," Smith shot back. "I don't have one for this."

-- Mark Olsen

Poster images: The Harvey Boys / coopersdell.com

Comments () | Archives (10)

The comments to this entry are closed.

How "brave" of Smith to attack Christianity in Hollywood of all places!

We eagerly await his Islam bashing film that shows the "humor" of gays being beheaded in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

When is the Times going to praise those who dare to speak out against THAT group?

Say what you will about the the guy's movies, he does promote his films like they are the second coming.

I have been along time Kevin Smith fan, and personally can't wait to see him steer away from his past films. I think the way he has relied on his fans to make this film a success will in the end turn out to be brilliant!

A lot of critics are saying that Kevin Smith's new movie Red State is not a horror movie, not a great movie and not an independent movie. I just saw it last night at the Wiltern Theater and I think the critics are wrong.

If a horror movie is about human beings doing evil things to other human beings, then Red State is a horror movie. If a great movie is one that entertains, inspires a catharsis and has something important to say, then Red State is a great movie. If an independent movie is one where the artists get to tell exactly the story they want to tell, without financiers or marketers telling them to make changes for profit considerations, then Red State is an independent movie--even with an Academy Award winning actress in the cast.

And isn't it interesting that the best horror movies always seem to be independent movies: classics like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, the Evil Dead, and modern classics like Reservoir Dogs, the Blair Witch Project, Shaun of the Dead, Paranormal Activity and the Signal. Red State belongs on the same shelf of great, indie horror flicks.

To ELVISNIXON; So your saying that only other countries have religious zealots that kill people because we don't believe their way? A writer, director or actor needs to find something in their art they can identify with, right or wrong, to tell a story. That is how a writer gives thought, an actor portrays a role and a director puts together fiction that rings true to what goes on in todays headlines. These people are Americans, telling a story about bigotry, hatred and ignorance. In America. Why expect a white middle class guy from New Jersey to write about a culture on another continent he knows nothing about? You might want to wait and see it before you pre-judge it. I'm going to wait until October's release to form an opinion.

@ Elvisnixon

I think you missed the point of the film and by your comment showed yourself to be rather dull witted.

The film is NOT about Christianity itself, more to do with how some men/women use religions to justify their own crack pot ideals and/or prejudices.

This film could have just as easily been written to use ANY religion, the real meat of the feast is the PEOPLE (characters) who use religion.

I think those who attack this film, really need to watch it and realise it is more about mans evil than any religions evil. Since men dilute and twist the words of many scriptures to suit needs/desires.

That said I don`t hold faith in any religion. So perhaps I just see it for what it is. A great idea for a film.

"Fair distribution deal" : an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

ELVISNIXON: Every news outlet I read speaks out against Islamist fundamentalists. Heck, France (of all places) even banned the veil in public.

I don't know where you've been.

I asked the last question.. I wished I'd have gotten a better answer. I love Kevin Smith though. ~Tim

I think the point is that you use an incredibly hypocritical double standard.

Evangelicals do NOT behead homosexuals.

Christians, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and all Muslims condemn homosexuality as a sin.

Why is it OK to make a film where Christians are "monsters"?

Would it be OK with you if Jews or Muslims were presented as monsters and the villians in a horror film?

This film is a HATE CRIME. Smith gets away with his HATE because he targets Christians and Christianity

IF Kevin Smith made a film with precisely the SAME storyline but depicted the "monsters" as Jews ALL the civilized world would see him for the narrow minded bigot that he is. Following the Josef Goebbells model the leftist characterizes Christians as "rats" and presents them as "mentally ill" and less than human.

The fans of Kevin Smith's "Red State" attitudes lead directly to Auschwitz and the Gulags

To ELVISNIXON: As far as directly killing people for homosexuality, no they don't. But how many American children kill themselves because their parents won't accept their sexuality? How many parents try to change them? Force them into the closet? The change must begin here, in this country. Accept the fact that all religions are dangerous. FYI, Hitler claimed to be doing GOD's work.


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