Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One Fine Troma Day with Lloyd Kaufman

The day was  Sunday, 30 June 2013.  Prince Charles Cinema at Leicester Square, London, was full of a cult fans of Troma Team.  Tika, a friend who was there to help me, just wondered: “what kind of people are they?”. They wore T-shirt with posters of very rare films, mostly Troma and other exploitation films. Some of them look like a geek (here, for me, a word “geek” is a good term). Lloyd Kaufman, the co-founder of Troma Entertainment and the director of many Troma films, was on the stage, opening the event, a double-feature Troma Film. Today, they were showing double-feature Nuke ‘Em High (1986) and the newest of the series, Return of Nuke ‘Em High (2013), both co-directed by Lloyd himself. Pat, his lovely wife who is also a New York Film Commissioner, was next to me, just on the front row at the left side of the stage, filming.  Lloyd, with his Tromatic ridiculously funny jokes and attitudes, began to introduce many people. I was filming. And, I heard a familiar name mentioned by Lloyd: “…And we also have Ekky from Jakarta, Indonesia. He is doing PhD research on Troma films!”, and applause was echoing to that big movie theatre. I could not believe what I was hearing and just started to wave my hand.

Lloyd was still there, talking and talking, and I sat to my seat at the back. 5 minutes later, Lloyd got down to the hall, and when he passed me, he whispered : “ I just make you famous!”. I just laughed.
Yeah! Finally I met Lloyd Kaufman. I need to meet him for my PhD research. Troma recirculates 4 Indonesian films, namely Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters 1 (Perempuan Bergairah, Jopi Burnama, 1982) & 2 (Membakar Matahari, Arizal, 1982), Intruder (Pembalasan Rambu, Jopi Burnama, 1986), and Stabilizer (Segitiga Emas, Arizal, 1986). And Lloyd is a great guy. He is nice, easy going, funny, and down-to-earth with his fans. He always serves the fans with smile and kindness, and no fee charged, signing, posing for fans’ camera, little chat. It seems that  he is the real manifestation of Troma, and Toxie, the Toxic Avenger.

For me, Lloyd with Troma is one of truly independent filmmakers. He will make films that has direct link with his own passion and taste—and he shows no guilty feeling or assamed—on the contrary, he feels very proud and passionate—on his low-budget B movies. Even though many people who belong to elite group accuse him having a low taste or making a low-level of cultural artefact. Troma is just being honest and being idealistic with their own way. Lloyd even makes his own movement such as Tromadance (which aims to invite filmmakers all over the world without any fee, unlike Sundance), and Occupy Cannes.

“Thank you, Ekky, for doing research on Troma. You see, many people don’t get it what is Troma all about. For example Troma’s War is our criticism against Ronald Reagen, and raise AIDS issue. Nuke ‘Em High is about bad food in school canteen, environmental issues, and bully issues. But, many people don’t get that, they just see the naked and gory scenes. You, and the fans, get those statement”, says Lloyd who claims himself, jokingly, as a married guy filmmaker.

Troma is unique, indeed.

  Troma became new term: a Troma film, Tromatized. And surely they have a die hard cult fans. “It is the fans who make us still kicking almost 40 years,” Lloyd told me. And, obviously, Troma spoils the fans with merchandise and free signature from Lloyd. And Lloyd even answers most of fans’ twitter!

Thanks, Lloyd, and Troma Team (Pat, Regina, Justin). I will upload my interview at soon.

Oh ya, surely I brought my Troma Things (Stabilizer DVD and the book Everything I want to know about Filmmaking I Learned from Toxic Avenger and got signed!

Thanks to Tika for helping me with the camera.