‘Silent Bob’ creator Smith addresses films, student questions

Smith said a cartoon based on “Clerks” is moving closer to an animation test.

Patricia Drey

Fans of filmmaker Kevin Smith filled Coffman Union’s Great Hall on Tuesday night, many with questions in mind.

The question and answer session with the creator of films including “Clerks,” “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” was often overtaken by interruptions.

First, Smith stopped to note the fact that he was speaking above a bowling alley, then to answer a cell phone call from Jason Mewes (“Jay”), and then to question three male audience members on why they were all going to the restroom at the same time.

Interruptions did not keep Smith’s followers from asking serious questions about past films, future plans and his career.

In response to one student question, Smith said a cartoon based on the movie “Clerks” is moving closer to an animation test.

Smith said he and his colleagues would like to do the whole movie using Flash animation.

Smith also said Ben Affleck has tried to convince him to write a “Daredevil” sequel but that he’s not sure he wants the job.

“I love comic books, but I don’t know whether I’d want to work on a superhero movie,” Smith said. “There are too many studio executives that have to justify their jobs, so they say things like, ‘What if “Daredevil’s” not blind? Why does he have to be blind?’ “

Some students were not only concerned with Smith’s filmmaking but also with their own.

Engineering sophomore Dan Reifenberger took the podium to explain his plight after giving Smith a copy of his own original 10-minute film.

Reifenberger told the hall he wanted to go into film but ended up at the University studying engineering after his parents told him a career in film would get him a home in a cardboard box.

Another student producer hoped Smith would act in a full feature film the student plans to make this summer.

Smith refused the offer when he learned filming would take place in Minnesota.

Smith owns View Askew Productions in New Jersey, his home state. In addition to writing and directing, Smith plays Silent Bob.

Chemical engineering graduate student Howard Salis, also from New Jersey, said curiosity motivated him to see Smith.

Salis’ uncle owned a clothing store down the street from a comic-book shop where Smith used to hang out, and Salis wondered whether Smith ever visited his uncle’s store.

The evening’s event was part of Student Appreciation Week, a week of activities sponsored by the Twin Cities Student Unions and the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council to thank students for their patience during the Coffman Union renovations.

Students in the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council chose Smith because they thought he would appeal to a broad group of students, said group member Siri Sorensen, a strategic communications senior.

“I think he speaks to a lot of concerns and issues that college students experience on a day-to-day basis – relationships, jobs, goals, priorities, friends,” Sorensen said.

Patricia Drey covers student life and

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