Kevin Smith’s Red State intro at Fantasia

Kevin Smith’s Red State intro at Fantasia

The Canadian premiere of Red State happened last Thursday, in front of a sold-out audience at the Fantasia Film Festival.

Writer-director Kevin Smith couldn’t attend, but he did tape an uproariously funny video intro, which you can now watch here:

While we’re at it, here’s an excerpt of my upcoming Say Anything column about the flick:

Inspired by Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church and their bullshit “God Hates Fags” campaign, but also by the Waco siege and the U.S. government’s post-9/11 excesses, Smith has put together a violently nihilistic film that comes off like an unholy cross between Hostel, There Will Be Blood and Die Hard, if that makes any sense. Going back and forth between horror, action and black comedy, all the while blasting away at religion and politics, Red State blends genres and juggles tones in ways that call to mind Quentin Tarantino or the Coen brothers.

This is the Kevin Smith of Dogma back with a vengeance, delivering a gritty-as-fuck flick that’s not without its flaws (a bit too much exposition here, a shaky scene there), but that skilfully pushes the audience’s buttons more often than not. For what it’s worth, it certainly played like gangbusters at Fantasia.

Talking about it with various folks after the screening, I did run into a few people who hated it, but even those had nothing but praise for Michael Parks and his riveting portrayal of Pastor Abin Cooper. I personally also got a kick out of Nicholas Braun, Michael Angarano and Kyle Gallner as the hilariously sleazy teenagers who inadvertently put the plot into motion, Melissa Leo as one of the most fanatical members of the Cooper family, and John Goodman as an ATF agent who shows up two-thirds of the way through and practically walks away with the movie.

Red State is scheduled to open in Canadian theatres this August.

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EDIT (07/21/11);

Press release:

Phase 4 Films is pleased to announce Red State: An Evening with Kevin Smith, a five city exclusive engagement featuring a screening of the controversial thriller RED STATE, followed by an extensive “Q&A” with the acclaimed indie director. Smith will bring his no-holds-barred tales about filmmaking, pop culture and his life to Canadian audiences with stops in Montreal on August 14 at Theatre Hall Concordia, Toronto on August 15 at Toronto Underground, Edmonton on August 16 at The Garneau, Calgary on August 17 at The Uptown, and Vancouver on August 18 at The Vogue.

“I wear my love for Canada on the sleeve of my hockey sweater, so ever since we started planning the RED STATE USA TOUR, I’ve been ready to do a RED PROVINCE TOUR across the grand cultural mosaic that is the Great White North. Now, thanks to Phase 4, I finally get to scare the shit out of a buncha Canucks with the weird little Tarantino/Coen Brothers homage flick that is RED STATE. This is not a comedy like CLERKS; this is a horror movie. Like JERSEY GIRL.”

Written and directed by Smith and produced by Jon Gordon, RED STATE stars Michael Parks, John Goodman, Academy Award® Winner Melissa Leo and Kyle Gallner. It is a story about a group of Middle American teens who encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda. The film is a departure from Smith’s trademark comedic style, showcasing a combination of horror and suspense with elements of gallows humor.

“RED STATE is a fantastic film filled with standout performances from a star studded cast,” says Phase 4 President and CEO, Berry Meyerowitz. “Combining the screening with Kevin’s incredibly funny, frank and interactive show makes Red State: An Evening with Kevin Smith a truly unique and unforgettable experience.”

Following the film’s highly talked about and hotly debated Sundance premiere, Smith toured the film within the U.S. to enthusiastic audiences, grossing almost $1 million to date from only fifteen single show engagements.
Ticket sales for Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary are available on Ticketmaster.com and TicketWeb.com. Tickets for Vancouver can be purchased at www.voguetheatre.com . Prices for the event are $85.00 for VIP Seating and a DVD copy of Red State; $70.00 for General Admission and a DVD copy of Red State; and $50.00 for General Admission. Red State DVDs will be shipped no earlier than October 18, 2011.

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