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Kevin Smith

by Thom Bennett

Not since Bruce Springsteen has a single person drawn so much attention to that place called New Jersey. Kevin Smith burst on to the indie film scene in 199? with his ultra-low budget debut feature "Clerks." This tale of a rather eventful day in the mundane life of a convenience store clerk was all the rage at Sundance and Smith became the buzz of the film world. "Clerks" became the first movie in what is known as "The New Jersey Trilogy" and introduced to us the Jay and Silent Bob characters who would become staples of Smith's future films.

Smith's second feature "Mallrats"- a homage to the teen comedies of the 80's - met with both critical and box-office indifference. Written off as juvenile and quickly gone from theatres, it has since found a niche as a cult movie of sorts among Mr. Smith's legions of fans. "Mallrats" follows the adventures of a pair of love-spurned slackers as they attempt to waste a day in the local shopping mall. The film is often quite funny, but is hurt by the studio's re-edits.

The follow-up to 'Mallrats" would become Smith's greatest critical success to date. Reverting once again to a lower budget, "Chasing Amy" is the hilarious and often touching tale of a young man who falls in love with a lesbian and the consequences of love on friendships. "Chasing Amy", while still full of Smith's now trademark raunchy humor and offbeat characters, was indicative of a more mature filmmaker.

In addition to his own film work, Smith has authored numerous comic books and his View Askew Productions has produced several films by other independent filmmakers. In his short career, Kevin Smith has quickly become one of the truest and most unique chroniclers of his generation.

His newest film, the much-anticipated religious satire "Dogma", has already garnered much controversy and been denounced by the Catholic Church. "Dogma" is an official selection of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

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