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Red State Rockers-iTunes.jpg

Bombing Starts at Sundance

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 1, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 1, 2010 |

Kevin Smith’s horror film Red State wrapped on Friday and he is aiming for an initial release at the Sundance film festival in January. Smith took the novel approach this time of editing the film each day after filming so that by the time the 25 day shoot wrapped, he was able to screen the first cut of the finished film for cast and crew at the wrap party. Smith also confirmed that since he was able to raise the money for the production ($4 million) through independent investors who expect that they’ll easily make the money back on DVD no matter what happens theatrically given Smith’s name, that he’s looking at nontraditional release options.

There are a couple points here. First, I assume that the independent investors are the Mafia, because that’s the only other thing I know about New Jersey other than what Smith has told me in his films. Second, “nontraditional” means that he’s going into Sundance without a distributor and hopes to pick one up there. But since he’s saying that he’s exploring “nontraditional” options, then if the film is panned and/or he can’t get a distributor, he can fall back on ripping on the man and insisting that this was why he never really wanted a distributor in the first place.

Smith did release this first poster:


Smith had this to say about it:

Moody, weird, and pitch-perfect for the tone of the film. If I went out to an ad agency here in town, I’d be billed close to 20 grand for a campaign that’d maybe… maybe… include this poster. But this piece of artwork (I call it “The Holy Ghost”) didn’t come from a top-tier ad agency: Jon Gordon is my RED STATE producer, and this poster was created by his assistant, Melissa Bloom. So we’ve got a marketing image that was put together by someone who was on set every day, integral to the process that produced the film which inspired this image… The marketer is actually family, RED from pre-production all the way through wrap, so she’s got an insight into the flick that no ad agency could ever boast (not even one-time Glo-Coat golden boy Don Draper over at SCDP). I’ll take passion over pedigree any day…So Melissa (with a Gretzky-like assist by Ming), the person on the RED STATE crew least likely to spearhead our marketing campaign, gets the collar for this arresting image - and I fucking dig that.

That’s actually a great little story, but also has the effect of feeling like Smith is trying really really hard to convince us that he’s totally independent and cleansed of his studio budget ways. Fair enough, but in the end the film’s got to hold that up, because after Cop Out … damn is that a lot of goodwill to make back.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.