TromaDance New Mexico is a spin-off of Troma's convention-flaunting Sundance Film Festival alternative in Park City, Utah. Troma, in addition to being the oldest independent film studio in America, has long encouraged low-to-no-budget indie filmmakers to do their own thing free from the constraints of Hollywood.
Troma president Lloyd Kaufman (the man behind such Troma classics as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High and Terror Firmer) will arrive in Albuquerque on Friday, Oct. 21. He will be teaching a crash course in no-budget filmmaking at the University of New Mexico's SouthWest Film Center, beginning at 5 p.m. The “Make Your Own Damn Movie!” master class is based on Kaufman's book of the same name and will show would-be filmmakers the ins and outs of financing, casting, production and special effects.
Following the class, Kaufman will head over to the Guild Cinema where he will host an evening of fine Troma entertainment. At 8 p.m., it's Cannibal: The Musical, written and directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame. At 10 p.m., it's Tromeo & Juliet, Kaufman's twisted, tattoo-covered take on Shakespeare's classic.
Saturday and Sunday, the festival gets into full swing, spotlighting a wide assortment of homegrown New Mexico films, from shorts to features. “I'm sick of this paternalistic attitude held by the New Mexico Film Board that local talent needs to be ’nurtured' and helped along like some sort of infant,” says Kurly Tlapoyawa, owner of Burning Paradise. “We have the know-how and we have the talent, and this film festival is going to prove it.”
Tlapoyawa worked hard to include as many local efforts as he could fit into the TromaDance weekend. Screenings run from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and are broken into several blocks of features and shorts. Amazingly, five feature films will be screened this year, including Matthew Page's Road Closed, David Montes' Livingston, Skylar Silva's Time Bomb and Richard Griffith's Seepage. Although TromaDance doesn't discriminate as far as subject matter, there is an emphasis on horror, comedy, science-fiction, animation and other genre films. Road Closed, for example, is a shot-on-the-cheap horror flick about mysterious, murderous monsters in the Southwest desert. Page filmed it outside of Santa Fe last year and even managed to employ some impressive digital effects. Silva's Time Bomb, on the other hand, is a gritty digital-video portrait of youth on the edge, a bargain basement companion of Gus Van Sant's recent Elephant.
Admission to TromaDance is $5 per block (shorts or features) or $30 for an all-festival pass. Tickets to the Friday night Troma tribute are $7 apiece. Tickets to Friday's “Make Your Own Damn Movie!” master class are $10. All tickets and passes can be purchased at Burning Paradise (800 Central SW).
TromaDance New Mexico runs Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Guild Cinema. Log on to www.burningparadise.net for complete festival info.