Unless you've spent the past few days under a rock or somehow otherwise cut off from Internet access, you probably know that Kevin Smith premiered his new horror film 'Red State' at Sundance over the weekend. You're also probably well aware that after the viewing, Smith made an announcement that he'd be distributing the film personally and taking it on the road to theaters himself. Unfortunately, this announcement seems to have overshadowed the actual movie, which our own Erik Davis says is "the type of film we've never seen from him before -- one that's raw and inventive in its technique, as well as overpowering with its performances."

Instead of focusing on that, Smith finds himself embroiled in yet another online controversy -- this time about the handling of the film's distribution. The impression most people had was that Smith would auction the distribution rights to 'Red State' directly from the stage. Turns out that wasn't the plan at all – and the auction alluded to in Smith's early statements was really just a setup for the filmmaker to jump up in front of the crowd and sell the rights to himself for $20 while discussing how the current system of film distribution doesn't work. Some in attendance were not pleased, including Hitfix's Drew McWeeny. At the heart of the matter is the feeling that Smith deceived people by saying there'd be an auction when he never intended to sell the rights in the first place.

Hit the jump for footage of the "auction" and a lesson in semantics.

Smith, who's been at war with the entertainment press and movie bloggers since they slaughtered 'Cop Out,' took to Twitter and unleashed an epic string of tweets explaining his motives. Vulture was kind enough to put them all together into one massive essay, but the short version is this – Smith never said there would be an actual auction. He said he'd pick his distributor in the room, auction-style. Clearly, the filmmaker was looking to make a point about his archrivals in the media, and perhaps he did. Whether it was worth making that point –- which some consider very petty –- is a matter of personal opinion. One thing is clear: No one asked Smith to clarify. The question is, would he have, even if they did?

At any rate, as Adam Rifkin's movie and the Showtime series 'Look' constantly remind us, nothing happens these days without someone catching it on camera. Footage of Smith's post–'Red State' announcement is now online. You can check it out below. Jump to 13:40 for the actual "auction" of the distribution rights.

Your homework assignment is to answer the following questions in the comment section below: Was this much ado about nothing, or do those who felt misled have a genuine beef? Does Smith have the right idea in distributing the film himself? Extra credit points will be given for thought-provoking responses.

[via The Onion AV Club]




* Check out Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman's SModcast (Warning: Adult Content)