Writer/Director Kevin Smith premiered his new film Red State at Sundance today—he'd led everyone to believe that after the showing, he'd publicly auction the distribution rights to the highest-bidding studio. Instead, he bought it himself and used the attention generated to note how broken the studio distribution system is (why spend $20 million on a film that cost $4 million to make) and how he was convinced he could a better job handling things on his own.
Fans of Smith may be surprised, but shouldn't be too shocked by this move: Smith has long bemoaned the "business" of making and releasing movies, and has been particulary vocal about it on twitter of late.
Personally, I'm really excited about this. There is so much under-appreciated talent out there, and we all know that the web really does make it so much easier to get the word out. Someone as established as Smith deciding not to play the game anymore, and to instead explore new options, may have far-reaching effects on the rest of the industry. I can't wait to see what comes from this.
Smith also announced he'll be making one more movie (after Red State), but that he will then retire from the director's chair with plans to focus on the distribution side of the business, presumably to the benefit of others opting to work outside of the studio system. Go Kevin!
For more information about how this film will be distributed or to help out, check out coopersdell.com