Kevin Smith has always been a filmmaker in a similar mold to Steven Soderbergh. While both have made some films within the studio systems, they’ve also openly embraced changing times and done work as true independents operating on their own.
Deadline is now reporting Smith’s latest bold move – auctioning off his horror anthology Killroy Was Here as an NFT (non-fungible token). The winner of the auction will have exhibition, distribution, and streaming rights for the project.
The movie is reminiscent of Smith’s strategy for his 2011 horror film Red State, which he brought to the Sundance Film Festival without a distributor and held an auction following the film’s premiere. The auction famously opened and closed with Smith buying the film for $20, generating a lot of attention before Lionsgate eventually obtained certain rights to releasing it.
None of this is new for Smith, a filmmaker partly responsible for the American indie wave of the 1990s with his debut feature Clerks, made on a shoestring budget and then sold at Sundance (for more, read Joey’s rave review of the documentary Clerk here).
As Smith himself puts it, ““As an indie artist, I’m always looking for a new platform through which to tell a story. And Crypto has the potential to provide that, while also intersecting with our almost 25 years of experience selling real world collectibles online and at the brick-and-mortar Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Back in 1994, we took Clerks up to Sundance and sold it. Selling Killroy as an NFT feels very similar: whoever buys it could choose to monetize it traditionally, or simply own a film that nobody ever sees but them. We’re not trying to raise financing by selling NFT’s for a Killroy movie; the completed Killroy movie IS the NFT. And If this works, we suddenly have a new stage on which I and other, better artists than me can tell our stories.”
Imagining a world where someone buys a Kevin Smith film only to ensure that they are the only ones to ever see it is a fascinating one indeed, but now the director has made it possible.
Along with this major announcement, Smith also announced that his View Askewniverse, the cinematic universe in which all of his films exist, is being expanded into the “Cryptoverse” with an NFT gallery titled Jay and Silent Bob’s Crypto Studio (Crypto.JayAndSilentBob.com).
Head on over to the link for details on all of the goodies available in this new crypto gallery, which ranges from a Killroy teaser trailer to exclusive art pieces. You could even get yourself a Crypto Cameo in Smith’s next film, Clerks III.
All of this represents a serious push into a new direction for the filmmaker, the association between fans and artists, and perhaps in the industry at large. Someone always has to be the first, and if others see successful results from Smith’s bold endeavor, there’s no telling who else could be the next to take this kind of radical approach.