by Jill Adler
These are the last days of Sundance 2011. The awards winners have been announced, the marketers have packed up, the last party over, the final screenings scheduled (http://www.sundance.org/festival/tickets/best-bets/) and now for the negotiations.
Moviemaking cult leader Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mall Rats, Chasing Amy) got on the soapbox after the Sundance premiere screening of his latest Red State and went off on the state of distribution, marketing and filmmaking.
He drops the F-bomb a lot so if you’d rather not listen to the whole thing (although I highly recommend it), here’s the nutshell version:
It cost him $4 mill to make Red State. Say a studio offers $6 mill for the flick and then spends another $20 mill on marketing (of which the filmmakers don’t see a dime). Now Smith will feel the pressure to create a movie that makes $26 mill at the box office or he’ll have failed in the studio’s eyes (and his own). Smith says those numbers have a chilling effect on independent filmmakers. Therefore, Smith has made an executive decision to take the film on the road himself- ala those annual Warren Miller ski films- asking theaters to showcase Red State for, say, a week before they move on to another city or town. There will be no huge marketing campaign just print and commercials in the local outlets.
Here’s the full podcast and explanation. It makes perfect sense on paper. We’ll just have to see how it pans out. Good luck, Kevin!
Jill Adler is an award-winning outdoors writer and broadcaster based in Park City, Utah. As a professional skier, rock climber, kayaker, hiker and mom, she goes out of her way to play hard and tell about it. To find out more or to send her a note, follow her on Twitter @pcskigal.