Kevin Smith Refuses To Do Press For ‘Red State’, Theatrical Distribution Hopes, Doesn’t Want To Release Full Length Trailer
Posted on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
When Kevin Smith premiered a teaser trailer for his independently-financed horror film Red State last week, I was surprised to see it conclude with the promise of a “March” release. Smith later explained that he hopes to release the film in March, even though he has yet to find a distributor (Kevin told us in November that he planned to auction off the movie to the highest bidder following the premiere screening at the Sundance Film Festival), in the room). Very active on Twitter, Smith has explained his plan not to do any film press for his new movie, his hopes to release the film theatrically (as opposed to a new-tech video on demand release) and why he would like to release the film without a full length movie trailer.
Smith has been very anti-media over the last year, and has said that he would do without press screenings altogether with his future movie releases (if the distributor allows, of course). The press screening list for Sundance doesn’t include a slot yet for Smith’s movie, and I’m not sure it will. Personally, I want to see it at the first public screening with the first audience — I just hope I can buy a ticket (I have no problem putting my money where my mouth is). Smith has also expressed his plan not to conduct interviews with movie press at the festival, instead releasing an extensive electronic press kit (transcribed from his Red State Of The Union podcast episodes):
I’m not press-junketing at all, anywhere. In fact, I’m not doing any press outside of maybe a business piece or 2 to help sell the flick if needed, & radio (LOTS of radio). That’s what http://smodcast.com/redstate/ is about: I’m providing all the information needed to write a story, if that’s what you’re looking to do. It’s INSANELY detailed, and by the time we’re done, I’ll have pre-answered all questions about RedState – thus negating the need to speak with me about it. From nearly 20 yrs experience, I know this much: folks are gonna write WHATEVER they want, whether I sit down with them or not. So I’ll just furnish all the information I’d normally serve up one at a time to a small, jaded audience that doesn’t really give a shit unless there’s someone famous in the room, to a much larger, APPRECIATIVE audience that would actually enjoy & benefit from hearing the same information. And thus far, it’s been working out great. Folks that wanna write about RedState pull from the podcasts, folks that don’t wanna but have to (so as not to seem behind the curve or a day late & dollar short in this information-is-currency culture) are doing what they lazily always do: pulling from the OTHER blogs that actually did their homework. Sometimes, their Google searches take ‘em back to the earliest stories (like back when DermotMulroney was sort of briefly mentioned once) & it shows up in their current posting, exposing their sloppy work ethic (which, they’ll accuse me of having in MY work, without a hint of irony). So rather than subject all involved to a painful waste of resources, time & money, I’m doing the RedStateOfTheUnion Q&A’s. It’s kind of like an audio press kit. We’re even transcribing them now, for the SUPER lazy writers who’ve already bitched about having to wade through 12 hours of audio so they can write knowledgeably about a subject. Nobody needs to talk to me anymore anyway, as anyone who’s curious can always know what I’m thinking 24/7 right here on Twitter. Besides – the REALLY interesting story in RedState isn’t me; it’s MichaelParks. Or JohnGoodman. Or MelissaLeo. Or the ENTIRE cast. Or s’about how @ThatDavidKlein CRUSHED it.
I’m wondering how prospective distributors will feel about Smith’s non-press policy.Smith also plans to record and release his Sundance Q&A (auction?) as a podcast:
Via @sonic43 “Will you be recording the post show Q&A at Sundance” I will. But I’ll edit out anyone who asks to be cut. #FearNotDistributors
And while Kevin is approaching the funding and marketing of the film using new media, he still hopes to release the movie theatrically:
Via @rpm1275 “read a great article about VOD & new releases over weekend, is this a route you can take with RedState?” Can we? Totally. Will we? Eventually. But NOT up front. I know it’s a digital age, and most people would rather get their entertainment at home (me included). But I’m a filmmaker from a generation that still feels like it fails if our flicks don’t debut in a movie theater & have a theatrical run. It’s illogical, I know – especially when the costs of releasing a flick are as high as the budget in some cases. But, to ME (this is how I feel in regards to the movies I make ONLY), a VOD debut would feel like a straight-to-video debut back in the 90’s. I know the business mode lends more toward a VOD environment for specialized cinema… but that’s the biz part of showbiz… and the SHOW half of the equation still burns too brightly in my big ol’ gut to allow for a biz-ness decision that the 21 yr old Kev who STARTED this journey, ‘lo those many years ago, would find unacceptable. We change & grow if we’re lucky, but we can’t shake the quirks that make up who were are as individuals. My makeup doesn’t allow for VOD first. VOD eventually, but I’m a movie-maker; I GOTTA show my stuff in a movie theater first. It’s stupid & conventional & antiquated, but all those people gathering in a building outside of their homes… that still means something to me. To have the power to make someone leave their comfortable home & spend money on some story you’re telling is the mead of gods. In a life that starts solely so that it can eventually end, the knowledge I can still get people to come to a movie theater to see my shit is oddly comforting.
Most of the filmmakers I talk to hate the excess of film marketing, the overuse of footage in film spots and trailers. But it’s considered a neccessity to sell a film to the wide audiences. If Smith had his way, he would release the movie with nothing more than the teaser trailer released last week:
Via @JackEdwardSmith “When will the full Red State trailer be released?” Not sure I wanna do a full, plot-oriented trailer. Saw lots of talk about the teaser, where cats were like “It doesn’t tell us anything about the plot” like that was a negative. I dunno – I LIKE not knowing anything. But a full trailer’ll ultimately be up to whoever distributes the flick, really. If it were up to me, though? I’d go teaser only.
Finally, Smith says that the near final running time is 95-minutes with credits:
95-ish with credits. We slowed our credit roll down so you can read EVERYBODY’S name, without exception. We couldn’t pay the cast & crew much on the flick this time out, so the least we could do was REALLY credit them.
I really loved how the Farrelly Brothers have included photos of the entire crew of their movies on some of their movies. And while these type of credits look messy and nontraditional, I always respect the effort to help reward the people who helped create the movie. As always, you can read all of Kevin Smith’s ramblings on Twitter. And as he continues to use the twitter account as a source for disseminating information, we will continue to round up the more interesting bits.
Here is the official plot synopsis for Red State as released by Sundance:
Ever since Clerks (cowinner of the Filmmakers Trophy at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival), Kevin Smith has been known for his sharp, subversive, comedic writing. He shifts from comedy to horror with Red State and aptly demonstrates that good writing transcends genre. Red State begins by following three horny high-school boys who come across an online ad from an older woman looking for a gang bang. Boys being boys, they hit the road to satisfy their libidinal urges. But what begins as a fantasy takes a dark turn as they come face-to-face with a terrifying “holy” force with a fatal agenda. Instead of relying on archetypes and predictable formulas, Smith meticulously fashions all-too-real characters, utilizing exceptional performances (notably by Michael Parks) and an intelligent script. His realistic style gives the film an intimate feeling, heightening the terror to biblical proportions. Red State is a shocking new kind of horror film that aggressively confronts higher powers and extreme doctrines with a vengeance.
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