When Kurly Tlopoyawa, owner of Albuquerque's only cult video store, Burning Paradise, met Lloyd Kaufman, the notorious president of Troma Films and director of such trash classics as The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo & Juliet, it was a match made in Heaven. Or slightly south of there.
For the past six years, Troma has sponsored its own rowdy alternative to Park City Utah's Sundance Film Festival. “Tromadance” is a genre-based film festival that allows low-budget filmmakers to show off their wares with no studio interference.
During one of their conversations, Tlapoyawa complained to Kaufman about how New Mexico's State Film Office often overlooks local talent in favor of the Hollywood dime.
“We came up with the idea to bring Tromadance here,” Tlapoyawa says.
The call went out and New Mexico filmmakers responded. The inaugural Tromadance New Mexico will spotlight 10 feature films, six of which were shot right here in New Mexico. Tim McLelland's film noir mystery A Girl and A Gun, Ryan Mowry's sketch comedy The Time Has Come, Billy Garberina's slacker comedy Collecting Rooftops, Chris Dillon's supernatural mob romance Cross and Scott Phillips' sexy zombie opus The Stink of Flesh are just a sampling of the films to be unleashed.
In addition to the features, there will be three blocks of short films. Of the 35 shorts to be screened, all but eight were created locally.
“We've got some documentaries, some animation. We've got some arty stuff and some straight-up trash,” promises the festival's mastermind.
To those trashy ends, Mr. Kaufman himself will be jetting into town to check out the local talent and to screen his latest horror anthology Tales from the Crapper. Troma fans and would-be filmmakers will be pleased to note that Kaufman will be hosting a filmmakers panel on Sunday as well as screening The Thin Brown Line, his making-of documentary of Tales.
“This ain't your mama's film festival,” warns Tlapoyawa. “Unless your mama's sick.”