8th August 2009

Lloyd Kaufman – a true inspiration

posted in News |

What you see below is a typical fan letter and is better than my getting an Oscar:

From: Charles Drexler [mailto:xxx@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 10:21 AM
To: Lloyd Kaufman
Subject: Re: follow-up from Tribeca Film Festival meeting

Hey Lloyd —

Just dropping a line to follow up on our impromptu meeting at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, before the screening of In The Loop.  It was a real pleasure running into you and it was very cool to personally meet an iconic filmmaker whom I’ve come to admire (I bragged about running into you to my film writer friend in L.A.).  Anyways, you were kind enough to give me a DVD copy of Troma’s latest — Poultrygeist, which I hadn’t yet seen — and I told you I’d drop a line after watching it, especially the documentary, which you pointed out to me.

I have to say — I really enjoyed the film.  And maybe even more so, I enjoyed and appreciated the making-of documentary.  The film was stylish, funny, and definitely true to the one of a kind Troma genre.  And like I said, the documentary kind of blew me away: as a budding young filmmaker, I can appreciate all the difficult decisions you had to make on the spot, all that pressure about being f***ed if you don’t make your day AND trying to make the day with a bunch of volunteers who don’t know about the process of filmmaking.  It was an amazing story and it hit me with full impact because I’m scraping together to make my own films, so I understand the situation… I have to admit, after seeing the adversity you had to persevere through, I lowered my expectations a bit for the film (I watched the documentary first); but then, watching the feature, I was totally blown away by the quality and care I saw in the finished film.  I can agree with reviewers who say this is perhaps your and Troma’s finest offering, almost an epitome of the Troma style.  (Okay, so I have a soft spot in my heart for The Toxic Avenger, especially the head crushing scene and the “meanwhile” scene at the taco joint — but I thought Poultrygeist might just be a consistently better film… not that I’m advocating an evaluative ranking works of art, just saying that Poultrygeist is really as top-notch and as true to the genre as Troma’s signature film…)

Another confession I’d like to share with you: initially, I wasn’t much of a Troma fan; my high school buddy turned me on to Troma in the days when we used to hang out watching videos in his basement, before we were old enough to drink beer and chase girls.  Way back then, I was a bit of a snob and I had no interest in “B-movies”…  Well, I’m currently finishing a master of arts in film authorship at NYU, and after all the film theory I’ve read, and filmmaking I’ve done, I can say pretty clearly that I was full of shit and didn’t know what I was talking about.  Recently, I came across a youtube clip your interview on CNN (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpe-IwqIY2k) and while watching your responses, I kept thinking “damn right, Lloyd!”  Damn right that Troma movies are not “b-movies” — they aren’t second billed films, but rather are a legitimate genre of their own!  Damn right that there’s nothing wrong with making a low-budget film that is not union signatory!  I came across another youtube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOvp6NsMg4Y&NR=1) where you talk about true art residing in the underground, the avant garde — that “the soul of art is in the underground… those are the leaders.”  Well, as underground, up-and-coming filmmaker with a whole bunch of ideas, scratching in the dust and just looking for a break, I say, right on!

So really, I’m just dropping a line saying I appreciate the work that you’re doing.  It’s inspirational and it’s interesting.  And I can appreciate your long and prolific career making your movies and having to promote your own stuff while trying to turn a buck too.  I think that the actually “doing” part is the under-appreciated side of filmmaking; and I respect and admire what you and Troma have done.

I have a short film that I’m currently working on, planning on shooting in September.  It’s about a down-on-his-luck bike messenger who attempts to win the heart of a beautiful girl on his route by delivering flowers to her every morning.  Obviously, there are complications, and the story escalates to an unlikely confrontation.   Would love to talk with you a bit more about it; I’d welcome your thoughts and feedback on the project.  And hey, if you’re at all interested, there’s an as-yet uncast role of a wise and wily street bum — comic relief, but also the only voice of reason in the story — which you’d be a great actor for… (seriously! 😉

Please do feel free to contact me.  I would love the opportunity to chat with you again, and I look forward to the next Troma release!

Best wishes,

Charles Q. Drexler

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