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Kevin Smith to hold a live, public auction at Sundance for the rights to Red State

01.21.2011

Normally at Sundance, when a studio or distributor is looking to pick up the rights to the film, it begins at an after-party and negotiating goes on all night at a condo. Kevin Smith's producer Jon Gordon says that's "boring" and he and Smith have cooked up a new scheme: a live, public auction.

After RED STATE screens on Sunday in Park City (it's one and only screening), Smith and his producers will take to the theater to accept bids for the film in front of the public audience. It's a potentially risky move but one that Gordon says was born out of a desire to find a new way to send RED STATE out into the world.

Smith has said he's hoping for a $6 - $8 million bid and a contractual agreement that he would have control over the film's marketing campaign (his producers have slightly more lofty financial aspirations). But what happens if that bid doesn't come?

Gordon says that self-distributing the film is not an option and there are already a number of buyers showing pre-Sundance interest. Smith is also saying that he would accept less money if he felt the buyer was the most passionate about the film.

It's a risky move for Smth and RED STATE and one that hinges almost entirely on how the audience responds to the film. If it plays like SOUTHLAND TALES at Cannes, it could be long and uneventful evening. But if it goes over like gangbusters (and with the public audience not made up of jaded critics and press, that's entirely possible), Smith could drive the price up far higher than he ever would've got in some boozy condo room.

We'll have thoughts from RED STATE soon so make sure to check back next week for more from Sundance and Kevin Smith's next.

Source: Variety

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