Though he spent a lot of the earlier part of this year defending his decision to go Hollywood for the mainstream (and totally forgettable) comedy Cop Out, Kevin Smith has wasted no time going back to his indie roots with Red State, which he's been shooting on a $4 million budget and pretty much under the radar over the last month. How shoestring is this operation? So shoestring that Smith has been editing the whole thing even as they were filming, was able to show a completed cut of the film at the wrap party, and has already debuted a teaser poster over at his blog.

I'm not entirely sure if that kind of speed is a good or bad thing-- can you really know what kind of movie you want to cut together even while you're making it?-- but it is impressive. Same goes for the poster, actually, which hints at the film's horror-tinged take on religious fundamentalism with the weathered, folded-paper patina and the startling sight of a figure sheathed in white. Yes, it's probably a nod to the Ku Klux Klan. No, I don't really want to know what's hiding under that sheet.

Whether you stuck with Smith through his whole battle against Southwest Airlines or thought he ran out of things to say with Dogma, it's hard not to root for him and Red State, if only for the hope that independent filmmaking really can thrive (and a director can do "one for the studio" and then "one for me" and actually mean it). Check out the poster below, and hold tight just a few more months for more on Red State-- they're aiming to show the thing at Sundance in January.

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