There seems to be some major disagreement with the Fantasia Film Festival’s decision to kick off their 15th year event with Kevin Smith’s Red State. I was a bit surprised hearing so much negative feedback on Smith’s latest film after the screening, but I clearly understand the festival’s choice. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Red State is a great film but I also don’t think it is as bad as some say it is. I should be posting my somewhat positive review soon, but in the meantime let me defend Fantasia’s decision.
There are a few reasons why Red State was a good choice – maybe not the best, but a decent selection. First, it is one of the most controversial film of 2011 and fans and non fans of Smith were curious to see what all the fuss was about. Secondly, Kevin Smith’s decision to not sell the film to a distributor and tour it around North America himself, makes it somewhat special. It was a ballsy move on the part of the filmmaker and one from which he greatly profited. Smith claims that the 15 stop Red State road show will generate two million dollars towards recouping the budget of the film. His New York City Radio City Music Hall screening event, grossed a reported $161K in ticket sales from an audience of roughly 3800. Which brings me to reason number three. The average price for a ticket from his tour is $42. The fantasia audience however, had a chance to purchase their tickets for only 9$. Sure we didn’t get a Q&A after the screening but Smith did record a special video introduction for the audience. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the screening, you can still watch that intro embedded below. Enjoy!