Thanks to the help offered by Festivalito’s Film Festival’s press coordinator, Julieta Martín, I managed to set up a Skype meeting with Mr. Lloyd Kaufman, founder of Troma Entertainment. Below Kaufman talks about Troma, Festivalito, the current movie market and many more interesting topics.


I must start this interview confessing that, though I have been following Troma Entertainment’ s productions for 30 years, I didn’t know there was a full department dedicated to buying and distributing sci-fi films made by Spanish-speaking authors.

My first question is, therefore, how did this idea started and what are its results?

We are interested in unique, independent and one-of- a- kind movies. We have bought the rights of a Spanish-speaking film, Belceb ú which is wonderful and 4 years ago we got the rights of a German movie, Hanging Woman. As I have commented we are looking for movies which are very good, and that come from the heart. The language they are filmed in is of no importance.

As to what results are concerned, it is quite difficult to get money from it. Nowadays, the market is controlled by a small number of huge conglomerates and this makes it very hard to get films to be shown in a cinema. DreamWorks, for instance, the same big company owned by Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen, had to be sold to a conglomerate (Comcast) because they were about to go bankrupt. Troma is still hanging on because we have a wonderful base of fans who support and buy our products. Without them we would have thrown the towel a long time ago. Funny enough, in the present days Troma Entertainment is as popular as it has ever been, thanks to the Internet but it is as poorer as it has ever been, too. Coming back to the department we were talking about, I would like to point out an interesting fact. A Chilean director became very famous once we bought and released his film. He didn’t get rich, though, but he got famous.  

After talking with José Víctor Fuentes -Festivalito Film Festival’s director- I understood it was Troma who decided to contact the Spanish film festival. Added to the fact that Josafat Concepción was born in the Canary Islands and works for Troma Entertainment, what made you decide to choose Festivalito?

My dad and step-mom had some apartments in the Canary Islands so I had already heard about the islands, about its wonderful weather, great landscape and its observatory.

I know I can learn a lot from the fans. I have just returned from Detroit, Michigan and London and I can tell you that anywhere I go I hear different opinions about what fans like or would excite them to see in a film. That is the real way I find out what truly moves our fans. I believe it will be very interesting to see what the young people of the Canary Islands think.

For Festivalito I have prepared a master class called “Make your own damn movie”. It is a seminar I have already taught at several places, such as Oxford University, Yale University, Singapore, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Volgograd among others. The first time I was in Helsinki I imparted a seminar about the digital age and how it was possible to make movies called “Can you digit?” (intended pun on Can you dig it?). 

So basically what I do is I bring with me a hard drive to show and give step-by step instructions of how to make a Troma movie with very little budget. All of this goes hand in hand with interviews with film directors where you can hear their theories and opinions about film-making. I don’t speak Spanish but I am confident Josafat will do an excellent job interpreting me at Festivalito.

In Vienna I gave a class, too, but there everyone spoke English and we all enjoyed it very much. So much that they got me to do it in Rome, this time with an interpreter. The time I went to Sao Paolo I had the class held at a famous landmark cinema and there everyone had earphones to understand what I was saying. Very much like how they do it in the UN. Pretty interesting, indeed.

It seems that in many countries there is still the belief that it is not possible to make independent movies without spending too much money. That is not true living as we are in the digital age, with the technology available, though the fact is that it is hard to pay the rent. After the cancellation of the laws against monopoly in the US, conglomerates are owning everything. It’s kind of yin-yang because on the one hand the making of cinema has been democratized but on the other hand living of it is in the hands of conglomerates or the government, and they are elitists.

Do you believe Troma’s and Festivalito’s style have things in common?

I think so. I have never been at Festivalito but from what little I know it is idealistic, open minded and keen on making the world a better pace.  All of that is in line with Troma.

Will filming a new film in La Palma help you to get to know new things?

For starters, I am sure I will be able to watch new movies at Festivalito, meet young people and hope all of that inspires me. I am 70 years old, you see. If I get away from Tromaville I get inspired and get “fresh” air. I find it quite interesting to see what the young people have to say. Nowadays this has become accessible world-wide thanks to the Internet. In fact, Internet is the last democratic media and one of the reasons why Troma is more famous than ever.

Due to the fact that the Internet is for everyone, Troma started a channel in YouTube (TromaMovies) were we uploaded many movies, totally for free. All sort of movies are there to be discovered. Not just Troma movies but movies we have bought over 42 years. Toxic Avenger can be found here along with Suicide a German movie I love, but no one has heard about. Many of my seminars are also there as well as Kabuki Man Coctail’s Corner, a 10 min sketch show by host Kabuki Man NYPD. It is also possible to see short pieces which are usually comedic but with a strong socialist message (anti-elite).Not long ago there was a big controversy because of the lack of racial diversity in the selection of the Oscars’ nominees. It got the name #OscarsSoWhite. Troma did a video about it and it is also in the YouTube channel. We also made a video to showcase boot-legging from China. It may sound surreal but the tall and short of it is that before I had the chance to make a master of one of my latest movies, the movie was already available in China! What happened, I think though I have no proof of this, is that one of those Chinese bribed the projector at Cannes Film Festival to have the 35mm copy for a night. My! They are fast those Chinese. Very fast. They sell us baby food with poisons in it, dog food which kills dogs, they are destroying Africa, taking over South-China Sea… Terrible. Very bad, indeed. The boot-legging short is fun, though.

Is Alienígenas Sin Piedad a film “made in Troma” or a co-production with a highly politically incorrect event?

I can’t wait to see it! I believe in the auteur film-making principle, where the director is the boss. If I am there I will be helping and inspiring the directors, but they have to have total control. Art comes from the soul, from the brain and the soul. I will be available to inspire but I don’t want to interfere. I hope to have a cameo, though.

I am in Guardians of the Galaxy, just a cameo, but it was just great. It seems that not only the director is a Troma fan, of course, but all of the stars starring in the film were too! James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, made Tromeo and Juliet long before this new film and he is a big Troma fan. So he got everyone there to listen to him saying how much Troma inspires him and how grateful he is for having filmed Tromeo and Juliet. It was a big speech, and a great ego-trip for me. (laughs).

Let’s get wild, why do you think people should support and endorse filming a movie between Troma Entertainment and Festivalito?

Both Festivalito and Troma are true to themselves, believe in film-making as an art, and they are idealists. I believe a film made between both of them will be a great expression of independent soul and emotion. A bit of disruption of status-quo, too.

I would like to add I am planning to ask the fans at Festivalito how can we make Return to Nuke’em High better. It will be like a focus group. This new movie is the sequel of Class of Nuke’em High. This time we are displaying the daily problems and situations regular students face in my country. Topics such as the garbage they are being fed every day, the reality of bullying, the individual struggle each student has with sexual identity (LGBT), racism and homophobia will be showcased in this new film.   

Nowadays, there are lots of prejudices alive in the US. For example, every time I go out with my wife to a bar or restaurant we are always given the worst table or we are simply ignored. That doesn’t happen in establishments where we are known, of course, but if we go anywhere else lots of people simply despise us because we are old.

Bullying (which has always been there, it is not a new concept) has gotten worse dramatically with all the social media. Sadly, it is no longer strange to hear or read someone has committed suicide because of bullying. It is really hard to come to terms with the fact that the jokes we included in the first film, such as the metal detectors, have become a reality…

The bottom line is that the education in the US is going down the drain. Nobody respects teachers but the media adores a shameless woman such as Hillary Clinton. Ben Affleck is a hero and people follow and respect the Kardashians, but nobody respects teachers. The current educational system is a disaster. There is no history, no language… I don’t want to sound like a snob but I speak French and Chinese, apart from English, of course. I went to Yale to be a teacher or a social-worker. My room-mate was a movie freak and he led me astray (laughs). These people nowadays know nothing. And that is not surprising because the money that should go to the people is going to the elite! Troma is fighting that.

Is Melvin Ferd a better presidential candidate than a certain megalomaniac billionaire?

Yes, without a doubt. He has a mop, so he can clean stuff. Toxic Avenger has a musical now, written by David Brian from Bon Jovi. It ran a whole year in New York, amazing reviews! Now it is running in London and I was invited to go over there to promote it.  Added to the musical, the Toxic Avenger has a whole range of merchandise (from T-shirts to buttons and pyjamas) so yeah, Melvin Ferd could possibly run for political office! (laughs)

Would you change anything from Troma Entertainment’s last forty years?

Indeed. Lots of things, surely. I have made big mistakes. Whilst filming Sergeant Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. for instance, I was approached to make it more family friendly. Of course I would not hear of it and I lost a golden chance. It seems that they were thinking of using him as a superhero for theme parks… I didn’t listen so the movie was not appropriate. I have lots of regrets.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Kaufman. It has been a great honour.

Thank you for the job you are doing. The more people get to know Troma Entertainment, the better this world will be.

© Eduardo Serradilla Sanchis, 2016

© 2016 Troma Entertainment.



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