Filmmaker Kevin Smith is in the midst of an hour-plus Twitter defense of himself and his new film Red State, after multiple reports say he screwed over Indie distributors at a Sundance screening last night.
Here’s how Deadline’s Mike Fleming summed up Smith’s screening.
Kevin Smith lost some cred with indie distributors last night when he hosed the teams that came to the premiere of Red State looking for an acquisitions title. Instead, they were subjected to a bogus auction that opened and closed with his $20 bid and announcement he would self distribute. Before he got to this sham climax, Smith spent 15 minutes shitting all over those buyers in the crowd, the ones watching films all day and pulling all-nighters to broker deals. …
“He stole two hours and insulted every one of us,” said one prominent buyer. “We were told this was an acquisition title, we all brought our teams. We could have spent that time evaluating some other movie. Kevin didn’t acknowledge that we are the ones risking capital acquiring films and putting up P&A, not him, and he didn’t understand how our business works, at all. He was a little like the twisted preacher Michael Parks played in his film. It became life imitating art.”
Smith began his Twitter response to Fleming’s report, and dozens of others, by writing: “In the Tweet that launched a thousand angry bloggers, I VERY specifically said “…I plan to pick my distributor in the room – auction style…” Then, EVERYONE ELSE said I was selling the movie. But I never said that. Very specific wording. Then, I watched as lots of bloggers turned it into “He says he plans to sell the film in the room.” So, if you’re mad that I didn’t live up to a story that I actually really didn’t tell… well, that’s kinda my whole point about the press. Ta-da.”
In the end, burning a few Indie distributors isn’t going to hurt Smith. He’s getting a ton of free press for his new film from the incident. Jilted or not, distributors will be lining up again for his next screening if Smith can parlay this attention into ticket sales.