Please note: this video contains NSFW language.
Kevin Smith doesn’t care what you think.
At the age of 45, the fan-favorite filmmaker behind films like Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Tusk is no longer making films for the audience. Introducing screening of his new film, Yoga Hosers, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Smith told the packed crowd, “I used to want to make movies for audiences. But if you’ve seen Tusk, and after you’ve seen Yoga Hosers, you’ll see that I really don’t give a shit about the audience anymore.”
And having seen Yoga Hosers, I can confirm that sentiment is one hundred percent true. While I had mixed feelings about the film, I respect the conviction underlying that affirmation. Smith is going to make the movies he wants to make with whomever he wants to make them. Whether or not you like them is not his primary concern — although he’ll be the first to admit that he’d prefer if you did enjoy what he makes.
This wasn’t always the filmmaker’s thought process; when he first came to Sundance some 22 years ago, he was on his last legs. Clerks was all but dead in the water, but then it screened at Sundance, Harvey Weinstein bought the film, and the rest is history. Back then, Smith was hesitant to call himself a filmmaker or an artist; he bristled at the term, finding it pretentious and uncomfortable. Now, though, Smith is much more comfortable in his own skin — something that he realized after he heard Robert Redford deliver a powerful speech at the filmmaker’s brunch, an event Smith had been desperately trying to attend since he first came to Park City.
While in Park City for Sundance, I sat down with Smith to talk to the filmmaker about directing his daughter, the impact of Redford’s words on him (“his secret origin story” as he calls it), and his evolution as a filmmaker. It’s a long, wide-ranging chat, but it’s well worth your time. But, then again, Kevin Smith isn’t doing it for you, now is he?
For our complete Sundance coverage, click here.
Image: Victoria Will/Invision/AP