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Kevin Smith blazes new ground in 'Red State'

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Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:16 AM Central
Last updated Monday, November 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM Central

by John Couture

Kevin Smith is a filmmaker that isn't scared to take the path less traveled and thus far, it's worked out pretty well for him. When he announced that his latest film, Red State, would be a grave departure from his bread and butter comedies, some people scoffed, but as a huge fan of all things Kevin Smith, I was more intrigued and couldn't wait to get my first look.

Well, this morning I got that first look, sort of. I guess you could say it was more like a first listen.

Given that Red State is a project close to the filmmakers' heart and truly an independent picture, Smith is blazing a new path when it comes to promotion. Having perfected the art of the podcast with a network that currently numbers nine podcasts and growing, Kevin Smith has decided to use this avenue as a means of promotion for the film.

The newest podcast, called Red State of the Union, is being touted as a weekly press-free conference where you can learn about Red State directly from the filmmaker himself. It is certainly an ambitious gamble, but one that will almost assuredly pay off for the filmmaker who has built quite a reputation, and fan base, away from movies with his live Q&As and podcasts.

At the end of the day, and Kevin talks about this on the inaugural Red State of the Union, this approach is geared towards rallying his core audience around the flick and he couldn't be happier about it. It remains to be seen how the promotion and publicity of the film will be altered once its picked up for distribution by a studio (hopefully at Sundance 2011), but for now it seems that the podcast is a logical extension of Smith's empire and will serve to keep the movie fresh in the minds of his listeners.

As for the content of the first Red State of the Union, you can listen to it here or subscribe to it via the usual channels, but it presents what might be the first audio teaser trailer in cinematic history.

Basically, he recruited about 20 of his fans via Twitter and they met at his Smodcastle, Smith's live theater that serves as the hub of his podcasts in L.A. and other events, to view the teaser trailer and have a short Q&A. They viewed the trailer twice and by extension, the podcast audience listens to it twice. It features a voice-over from lead Michael Parks over the minute and change and what is later revealed to be snippets from the film.

Given that we only hear the voice-over, it's hard to judge the trailer completely but it's fair to say that from the tone and content, this isn't your usual Kevin Smith movie. Audience members confirm that feeling that it has a real "foreign horror feel" in their Q&A and Smith himself calls it a "little Argento-ish."

While we won't report on every Red State of the Union, we felt that as fellow film fanatics and with many fellow Kevin Smith devotees among you that you would want to know about this new vehicle to connect with the filmmaker and his latest project. Do you think this will change the way filmmakers connect with their fans? Or is this simply a fad that will go away with time?

Red State is currently seeking distribution, but it is hoped that it will debut on screens in 2011.

Mentioned in this article:

Dario Argento
Michael Parks

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