Independent Film & Television Alliance
Entertainment industry veteran Lloyd Kaufman was elected chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the global trade association of independent distributors and producers of motion picture and television programming, in September 2007. With more than 40 years of experience in the world of independent film, having dealt with literally every aspect of the business, Kaufman embodies IFTA’s creative, visionary and entrepreneurial spirit.
Since 1991, Mr. Kaufman has served on and contributed to the IFTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee in numerous capacities. A pioneer in new media who recognizes the value and potential new technology provides to the independent community, Mr. Kaufman is a leading proponent of maintaining “net neutrality” so that independent filmmakers and distributors are not left out of the promise and benefits of the Internet. To that end, he was asked by IFTA’s Board of Directors to help create and chair the Alliance’s New Technologies Opportunities Committee, which explores video distribution over the Internet, telephony, etc. and identifies avenues by which independents may realize new revenue from the emerging media.
Mr. Kaufman also is president of New York-based production and distribution company Troma Entertainment, which he and partner Michael Herz founded in 1974 shortly after they graduated from Yale University. In 35 years, Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Herz have built Troma up to legendary status as a bastion of true independence and a strong consumer brand through a visionary body of work that has had a huge impact on pop culture and today’s mainstream filmmaking. New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick recently wrote that Mr. Kaufman “has been cited as a major influence by Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Takashi Miike, among others.” Other writers and directors who have cited Mr. Kaufman as a major influence include Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Kevin Smith and Eli Roth, to name a few. In addition, Mr. Kaufman has mentored many young independent filmmakers and Troma movies or releases have given numerous now-famous talent their first start in the film industry, including Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Costner, Oliver Stone, Marisa Tomei, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jenna Fisher. Other major figures whose first work appears in a Troma film include Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Carmen Electra.
Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Herz created Troma Entertainment with a series of highly original comedies such as “Squeeze Play!,” “Waitress!” and other titles that would serve as independent precursors to such later smash hits as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Porky’s.” In 1984, Mr. Kaufman achieved new levels of success with his breakthrough movie “The Toxic Avenger,” which led to the animated spin-off television series “Toxic Crusaders,” several different comic book titles published by Marvel and Troma’s own independent comic book imprint, and three sequels. Its multi-platform success was followed by a string of commercial and artistic triumphs that blended fantasy, heavy action and comedy in a style that the Cinemateque Francais described as “Tromatic,” including the “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” trilogy, “Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD” and “Troma’s War.” Mr. Kaufman most recently wrote and directed “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.” Mr. Kaufman’s “Tromeo and Juliet,” written with James Gunn, became a theatrical and critical hit, earning the grand prize at the Fanta Festival in Rome, and the audience award at Raindance in London, among others.
In 1999, Mr. Kaufman founded TromaDance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, now in its 10th year (www.tromadance.com). His popular “Make Your Own Damn Movie” Master Classes have been given at universities and venues throughout the world.
In addition, Mr. Kaufman has been honored by various international film festivals and Troma retrospectives across the globe, including the San Sebastian Film Festival, the British Film Institute, the Cinematheque Francaise, the American Cinemetheque, the Chicago International Film Festival and the UCLA Film Archives. Fluent in French and able to “get around” in Mandarin, he has also served on the Board of Trinity School and ECO, the environmental foundation. Mr. Kaufman has also made films pro bono, for his Yale University Class and for Jacques Damboise’s National Dance Institute. The author of three books, with two additional books in the making, Mr. Kaufman is married to Patricia Swinney Kaufman, New York State Film Commissioner.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, IFTA represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 160 member companies from 22 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, television companies, studio-affiliated companies, and financial institutions engaged in content finance. Collectively, IFTA’s members produce more than 400 independent films and countless hours of television programming each year and generate more than $4 billion in distribution revenues annually. The organization’s premiere event, the American Film Market (AFM), held in conjunction with AFI Fest, takes place every year in November in Santa Monica. As the voice and advocate for the independent film and television industry worldwide, the Alliance speaks out on matters of critical importance, including media consolidation, the elimination of trade barriers, the impact of new technology on our traditional business models, anti-piracy and improvement of copyright protection and enforcement around the world, and the need to foster broad-based growth of the industry. Where appropriate, IFTA actively lobbies governments around the world in regard to measures directly affecting the independent industry. For more information on IFTA and the AFM, please visit www.ifta-online.org.