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Watch: Kevin Smith Lambasts Hollywood at Sundance, Buys Up His Own Fred Phelps-Inspired Film 'Red State'

(Top: a scene from Kevin Smith's Red State. Mid: Smith at the premiere. Bottom: WBC protesters at the premiere)

Director Kevin Smith's horror film Red State, which centers around a church not unlike Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, screened at Sundance last night. In addition to a well-publicized battle of protests outside, the screening, Smith made news by buying the rights to his own film, attacking Hollywood, and announcing his retirement.

The film site First Showing heaped praise upon it:

Yes, I'm calling Red State the return of the truly independent filmmaker that Smith was when his career launched after the success of Clerks in 1994. But there's no "snootchie bootchies," dick and fart jokes, or a Ben Affleck cameo. Kevin Smith has crafted what he calls a horror film, but what I found to be an engaging thriller with suspense, dark comedy, and quite possibly the best writing in the filmmaker's entire career.


The WBC was, of course, on hand for the screening, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

The protests started early, at about 3 p.m., three hours before Red State would have its world premiere. On one side: foot soldiers from Westboro Baptist Church, declaring for the umpteenth time that “GOD HATES FAGS.” On the other? A ragtag collection of moviegoers — many Park City-area high school students — singing Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” at full volume.

Smith and his producers, never ones to miss a cheeky publicity opportunity, had encouraged supporters to protest any protestors who showed up on Phelps’ behalf. Early on, the Phelps crew was significantly outnumbered – only three were huddled in the snow. Meanwhile, the Smith side numbered in the scores, hoisting homemade signs that blared messages such as “Everybody Poops” and “I was told James Franco would be here!” They also sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” In all, about 250 people were there.

Smith bought the rights to his own film for $20,

Kevin Smith plans to release his new horror movie Red State himself, the writer-director declared at the film's first public screening at the Eccles Theatre on Sunday night. Smith had suggested for weeks that he would hold an auction post-screening for rights to his film, but ultimately announced that he would take the movie on the road himself throughout 2011 ahead of a planned Oct. 19 release. He paid himself a token $20 for the privilege, and he hopes that the roadshow will make some of the movie's roughly $4 million budget back.

"What we need to prove is that anyone can release a movie," Smith said from the Eccles stage as part of a long and profanity-laced speech after the movie ended during which he championed Harvey Weinstein as an inspiration and mentor. "Indie film isn't dead, it just grew up. It is just indie film 2.0 now. In indie film 2.0, we don’t let them sell our movie, we sell our movie ourselves.”

Smith also announced that he'll retire from filmmaking following the completion of his next production.

Watch Smith's speech at the premiere in which he lambasts Hollywood studios and their unfair systems, and the film's teaser trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Tired of the Kevin Smith schtick. One halfway decent film and then hugely overrated for years afterwards.

    Posted by: Skeptical Cicada | Jan 24, 2011 10:06:18 AM

  2. I also find it offensive for a clueless straight man with a history of fag jokes to adapt and use the Fred Phelps infamous signature signage. Was that supposed to be funny?

    Posted by: Skeptical Cicada | Jan 24, 2011 10:09:45 AM

  3. Way to go Kevin.
    Kevin Smith on no homophobe. The entertainment media is quite fond of misquoting him, or taking his quotes out of context. He's probably the most accessible filmmaker alive. He's VERY honest and open about ANYTHING.
    This is a fantastic way for him to market his film. Part of this film is that he won't be doing press. He openly invites anyone to Tweet him. He'll answer any question. He already has a media press kit in the form of an on-going podcast dedicated to 'Red State.'

    To Skeptical Cicada: For one so tired of him, why did you A) Bother skimming over the article and B) Bother posting TWO comments.
    Yes, he's made gay jokes. He's also made straight jokes. He's a major supporter of the gays. I'm guessing you're information came from the time GLAAD tried to extort money out of him during 'Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back'?
    Plus... you are a bully for calling him names.

    I can't wait to see 'Red State.'

    Posted by: JimmyD | Jan 24, 2011 11:21:12 AM

  4. "Clueless straight man"? Hmmn. Interesting. I find it highly unlikely that a "clueless straight man" would have written the closet-case Jason Lee character in "Chasing Amy." But, what do I know?

    That being said, although "Clerks" did place him on the map, he at least made good on his promise with "Amy." Despite it's junkyard visual style, it was still a strong story.

    Unfortunately, that came out in 1997. And everything he's done since has been sadly abysmal. He's been so stuck on his independent identity, he's failed to mature as a filmmaker.

    That being said, a horror film with a Fred Phelps-premise starring MELISSA-F*CKING*LEO and John Goodman sounds, dare I say it, promising. But, I won't hold my breath, especially if he's taking charge of distribution. Good luck Kevin!

    Posted by: Vince of Ferndale | Jan 24, 2011 11:23:31 AM

  5. Nice trailer, though.

    Posted by: Vince of Ferndale | Jan 24, 2011 11:26:25 AM

  6. He is anything but a homophobe. Listen to his "Smodcast". Yes he makes gay jokes, but he makes jokes about Jews, blacks, etc. No one is safe--including himself.

    And--he speaks constantly about his escapades with his brother and one his best friends, Malcolm, both of whom are openly gay. The dude probably know more about gays than most straight people and doesn't have a judgmental bone in his body

    Posted by: davey | Jan 24, 2011 11:31:45 AM

  7. WBC should be charged with child abuse!

    Posted by: Jake | Jan 24, 2011 11:34:09 AM

  8. You who criticize Kevin Smith are horribly off base and uninformed. Kevin has done more to open the minds of the audience that is devoted to his films that might have been slightly homophobic before, and by humanizing his characters and making them relatable, brings a new understanding to that audience.I am friends with several straight guys/girls in their early 20's who love Kevin's films and have suggested that they have become more open minded about gay stuff because of him. As a gay community, we ask filmmakers and actors to be more openminded and supportive of LGBT issues, and when they do, they receive nothing but criticism that it isn't enough or they aren't doing it right to our satisfaction, i.e. James Franco, etc. I encourage the poster to look up Kevin's interview with Advocate after being criticized by the GLADD people for "Jay and Silent Bob".
    Kevin Smith is a straight ally and I find it appalling that he would be criticized after putting up 4 million of his own money to make this film that criticizes one of our community's biggest and dangerous opponents, the religious right and groups like the Westborough Baptist Church and Fred Phelps. They are dangerous AND they are lawyers, so they know how to sue to get what they want. Groups like them are destroying our community with their hate. And criticizing Kevin's decision to release the film himself? A brilliant choice that many filmmakers will appreciate (and envy) after watching their films changed and advertised based on "market research". How about waiting to see the movie before you get up on your soap box to criticize it?
    I suggest you watch "Zack and Miri make a Porno", a movie most of the audience missed, even his fans, as it opened during Obama's presidential election and got lost in the shuffle. It is an overlooked gem.

    Posted by: jon cortez | Jan 24, 2011 2:39:38 PM

  9. No! Kevin Smith can't retire until he makes that long-promised sequel to "Dogma," easily one of his best films.

    Posted by: Keith | Jan 24, 2011 2:49:46 PM

  10. Thank God that little girl is just an actress, my heart broke for her before I realized what this was. Way to go Kevin Smith I think this is awesome and can't wait to see it!

    Posted by: mike | Jan 24, 2011 2:59:35 PM

  11. Kevin Smith recent Hollywood movies are crap. He has never topped "Chasing Amy" (1997) . He is better writer than a director still that "Red State" trailer looks very promising.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jan 24, 2011 5:51:28 PM

  12. Leave silent bob alone!

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 24, 2011 5:53:19 PM

  13. The trailer certainly doesn't have the usual look and feel of a Kevin Smith film. Looks fascinating, will definitely see it!

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Jan 24, 2011 8:31:31 PM

  14. JON CORTEZ amen

    Posted by: sal | Jan 24, 2011 11:35:35 PM

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