To watch the documentary Clerk is to see what a true renaissance man Kevin Smith is. Achieving that, however, is no simple task, so it takes a filmmaker who knows how to pitch Smith to audiences. Malcolm Ingram was more than up to the task, and it shows in the movie. The doc is wonderful, whether you’re a Smith fan like I am, or someone completely unaware of who he is. Having anticipated this flick for over a year (it was supposed to debut at SXSW 2020), not only was I thrilled to get to watch it recently, I also got the chance to interview Ingram about it.
Below, you can see my chat with Clerk helmer Malcolm Ingram. We hopped on Zoom last week and spent a fair amount of time discussing his film. Believe it or not, Kevin Smith was something we both had an interest in talking about. Ingram’s documentary is the star of SXSW so far, at least in my book. If you need further proof, here is a few paragraphs from my rave review:
Clerk champions Smith, not just as a filmmaker, but as a person, too. Now, the latter is an easy sell, since no one ever has a bad thing to say about him, as a man. However, considering how many discount Smith talents, including sometimes Smith himself, the flick pulls heavier duty there. It does it well, though, presenting the works in a context that highlights why they work, even if they may not have been thought to at the time. Is he a storyteller who’s not for everyone? Sure, but then again, aside from a handful of auteurs, who is?
Malcolm Ingram has known Smith for years, but beyond that connection, is an accomplished filmmaker in his own right. Documentaries like Small Town Gay Bar and narratives like Drawing Flies have more than proven that. So, this isn’t a friend making hero worship. It’s a director with a personal stake seeking to showcase what he’s seen in Smith for so long. It’s very effective in that way, with a simple style that keeps the subject front and center. Sure, there’s talking heads, including some really interesting takes from filmmakers like Richard Linklater and Jason Reitman, but Smith himself rightly remains the star.
Here now is my interview with Malcolm Ingram, talking Clerk. Enjoy:
Clerk is currently playing at the 2021 incarnation of SXSW!