In front of a jam-packed Vogue Theatre on July 9, the managing director of the Vancouver Film School did what the school couldn't do 11 years ago: award Kevin Smith a diploma. Smith dropped out four months into his eight-month program. He put the thousands of dollars he claims he saved in tuition into his film Clerks, which Miramax picked up on the festival circuit, Since then, Smith has written and directed Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and others.
"Geez, the guy made a few films out there; he deserves a diploma," Marty Hasselbach, who presented the honour in front of 1,200 Jay and Silent Bob fans, told the Straight in a phone interview. Hasselbach said the program has changed for the better since Smith left. "It [the diploma] was tongue-in-cheek. We have a good relationship."
Smith, upon receiving the diploma, said: "I knew you bitches would come around." He told the audience he already has two honorary diplomas "but this means more because this is a school I actually went to." Still on-stage, he phoned his colleague and friend Scott Mosier, who actually completed the eight-month program, and left him a snotty message about the diploma.
Smith's show started just after 7 p.m., after the huge lineup (made up almost entirely of slightly fatter or thinner, more- or less-hairy Kevin Smith look-alikes) filtered in from Granville Street. Smith spoke until after 1 a.m., answering questions from the audience such as: "Do you have advice for a father-to-be?", "Can you recommend some off-the-beaten-path comic books?", and "Where's my fucking hug?"
More than 300 Vancouver Film School students helped fill the theatre, according to Hasselbach.
Smith is in town filming Catch and Release.