Kevin Smith Has Revealed The Decades-Old Letter That He Says Changed His Life

Senior Pop Culture Editor
06.25.18 4 Comments

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Kevin Smith‘s directorial debut Clerks only cost $27,575 to make (adjusted for inflation, that’s still under $50,000). But it grossed $3 million at the box office, spawned a sequel and Jay and Silent Bob spin-offs, and is now considered one of the great indie films of the 1990s, all thanks to one life-changing letter. “This is the letter that changed my life,” Smith recently tweeted, “an official acceptance notice from [the Sundance Film Festival] for Clerks. Weeks before I got this, even though the film was dead with no future, I still kept telling myself, ‘I am a filmmaker.’ Weeks after I got this, I wouldn’t be alone in that belief.”

The letter reads, “As you already know, your film has been selected as one of the thirty-four films that will be shown in the Independence Feature Film Competition at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. On behalf of Robert Redford and the entire staff at the Sundance Institute, we congratulate you for your outstanding achievement and commitment to independent film.” If only it had added, “And stick with independent film, because Cop Out? It’s not worth it.”

(Other films to premiere at Sundance in 1994 include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Reality Bites, River of Grass, and Hoop Dreams.)

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