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Low Budget Legends

13Bit Interview with LLoyd Kaufman Part 1

13Bit Productions is excited to present the first in our series of interviews with low budget legends.

Here, we speak with Lloyd Kaufman, the head of Troma Films and the Director of such low budget legends as “Toxic Avenger,” “Class of Nuk’em High” and “Poultrygeist.” Lloyd has been making classic films for over forty years, and is heavily involved in promoting and protecting the rights of independent filmmakers.

We went out to Troma HQ in Queens last fall and are proud to kick off our series with Lloyd. Here is the first of three-part chat with him.

13BIT:

How did you get involved in filmmaking?  And was that what you always wanted to do?

LLOYD KAUFMAN:

I got involved in filmmaking by making a huge mistake.  I went to Yale University.  And it was the ’60s.  I was going to be, like, a social worker or teacher and make the world a better place, teach people with hooks for hands how to finger paint, teach bums how to paint happy faces on beads and string the beads together.  But, they put me in a room with a movie nut.  My roommate freshman year at Yale was a movie nut.  He ran the Yale Film Society.

And I started wandering into the — to the auditorium and watched all these movies they started showing.  And I wasn’t interested in movies as a kid.  I was more into the legitimate theater.  Being a gay married man, I’ve wept through many Barbara Streisand shows and Judy Garland and all that stuff and pulleys and curtains and animals and all that.  But I didn’t know Charlie Chaplin was a film director.  I never even heard the word “director”.  I didn’t what a film director meant.

I never heard of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Jean Renoir, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol.  I knew who Andy Warhol was.  I didn’t know he directed movies.  I didn’t know any of that.  I had no idea.  And I suddenly just kept getting blown away.  I’d keep watching these films and– and there at the Yale Film Society.  And one day I was in the auditorium of the Yale Film Society.  About three other people were in there watching To Be or Not To Be, directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

And it so knocked me out that I decided right then and there in the darkness of the Yale auditorium that I would give what I have to the film-going public.  So if you want to, you know, get revenge for Troma, if you want to blame somebody for Troma, go to the graves of Ernst Lubitsch, Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, the team that brought you To Be or Not To Be and urinate on their graves.

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