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Sundance 2011: Cirque du RED STATE

by Scott Renshaw
- Posted // 2011-01-24 -

Give this to Kevin Smith: For a guy who claims to hate the film press, he sure is spending a lot of energy making them his monkeys.

The biggest story of Sundance 2011 hasn't been the weather, or a distribution deal, or which celebrity has attracted a cloud of paparazzi on Main Street. It has been Smith's Red State, a horror/comedy/satire about a Westboro Baptist Church-esque fundamentalist community that murders those it finds abominations in God's eyes. Not surprisingly, and because Westboro Baptist Church is easier to predict than the weather in San Diego, the mega-haters showed up in Park City to protest the film. Which in turn inspired Smith to plan a counter-protest.

But wait, there's more! In keeping with Smith's professed refusal ever to screen his films for the press again--apparently stemming from negative reaction to last year's Cop Out--continued here with no press screening for Red State, and Smith's assertion that he would do "no press" in support of the film. Oh, and there was also his claim in advance of the premiere that he would auction it off to the highest bidder afterward, only to reverse field and say he would self-distribute.

Thus, immense print and virtual space has been spent on a guy who's actively attempting to antagonize the media. And I'm even doing it here. Damn him.

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Posted // January 24,2011 at 15:45

Smith's bloated street theater (signs and posters) and in-theater performances ($20 fake distribution auction) this week are aimed to do one thing: Generate publicity for his movie and every media outlet in the Rocky Mountains and beyond is cooperating with him. It used to be that you went to Sundance on no budget as an independent film maker and you had to generate your own grassroots buzz to get anyone to take a look at buying it up. Now, Smith has put the Sundance attention-getting requirement on steriods by doing a film mocking people he knows will showm up and protest the film and become almost a hard news-generating story rather than just entertainment fluff.


Posted // January 24,2011 at 11:48

You media types keep dissing on Daredevil, but you will never learn his true identity.