It was almost exactly a year ago that Kevin Smith announced at Sundance that he would self-distribute Red State by personally taking it on tour across the U.S. It’s clear that, thus far, the move hasn’t torn down the Hollywood system or really changed how anyone else does business, but it did allow him to make a profit with Red State and got him plenty of attention for a movie that arguably didn’t really deserve it. Now he is announcing what appears to be the next stage in his master plan to eventually retire from filmmaking: he will begin to release other people’s movies through his “Kevin Smith and SModcast Pictures Presents” label with the help of Canadian distributor Phase 4. They will distribute up to twelve films per year via traditional and digital methods, with four of them being given the live tour treatment accompanied by Smith himself. Here is what Smith had to say about the deal:
“I had the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire career touring Red State last year… Watching the movie with an enthusiastic audience and then doing a longer Q&A than the flick itself, jumping on the tour bus and waking up in another city where we’d do it all over again – it felt less like boring ol’ film exhibition and more like punk rock. We learned (and made) lots touring Red State, so now, SModcast Pictures wants to put that experience to good use for other films and filmmakers on smaller road shows for their flicks. We’ll do four or five cities per film, where I’ll intro the movie and do a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening. At SModcast Pictures, we aim to be the Island of Misfit Toys for flicks!”
Obviously the movies will also benefit from promotion via Kevin Smith’s vast podcast network and online radio station. I’m pretty curious to see the kinds of films that Smith will be championing, although if it’s anything like the indie flicks he distributed through View Askew like Drawing Flies and Vulgar, I don’t think I’m that interested. Still, I think the man is smart enough to diversify and pick projects that he will be able to sell to his fans. On the other side of the coin, however, I’m wondering how many filmmakers will want to attach themselves to Kevin Smith. It seems like it could be both a blessing and a curse.
In other Kevin Smith news, on February 2nd he is doing a live episode of Jay & Silent Bob Get Old followed by a Q&A that will be broadcast to theatres across North America called Kevin Smith: Live from Behind. He also has a new book coming out in March called Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good and his reality show Comic Book Men premieres on AMC on Feb. 12th. What do you think, is this announcement a good move for his career?