8th October 2003

Lloyd Kaufman in Kosovo

posted in `Roids |

In today’s edition of Lloyd’s Roids, Lloyd (with the generous support of his eunichs Robin and Devin) speaks of his recent experiences in war-ravaged Kosovo, for the Italian magainze FMM:

Greetings From Tromaville!

This year, Troma celebrates it’s Thirtieth anniversary of truly independent cinema! Scoff if you will, but Troma has always been America’s uncensored home for artistic expression, a place where the walls between a creator’s vision and reality are removed to get at the heart of our human condition, or something. Who else but Troma could tell the tragic story of a nuclear waste infused wimp overcoming his deformity in “The Toxic Avenger?” Who but Troma takes the time to teach about the important issue of safe sex gone awry with our educational films like “Killer Condom?” Yes, Troma is America’s longest running independent film company, and by jiminy, we think we do a pretty good job! Apparently, so does Venice and Kosovo!

This September, during Venice’s International Film Festival, Troma was warmly received and honored on “Troma-Day” when the new Troma Rome company was announced. After the festivities in Venice I was fortunate enough to be selected the president of the jury at the first ever Kosovo 9/11 Festival. You heard that right: the first film festival to commemorate 9-11 happens not in America but in Kosovo.

When you read the New York Times these days or watch American television you will hear about all these countries that hate us. The French who hate us, the Germans who hate us and the evil Muslim nations that want to destroy us are common themes for American news. What you don’t hear about is places like Kosovo, a Muslim territory that loves the Unites States and is grateful. They are grateful to Bill Clinton, William Walker, Madeline Albright and Wesley Clark for getting rid of the Hitler want-to-be Milosevic.
Four years ago the people of Kosovo were facing extinction. You would think they would have more pressing concerns than remembering 9-11, and yet they have gone all out, making posters, sculptures and films in remembrance of the American tragedy of September 11th, 2001. This festival is a far more fitting tribute to the victims of 9-11 than the anything created by Rupert Murdoch or the elitist, self-congratulatory American mainstream arts community and media.

Do you remember the way in which the major media exploited 9-11? How Rupert Murdoch seems to have felt that the best way to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11 was to show them jumping out of 107th story windows of the World Trade Center over and over again. Mr. Murdoch sure does his best to give back to the victims of the tragedy by replaying the events time and time again, but they know how to give back in Kosovo, too.

The humble and poor winners of the Kosovo 9/11 Festival donated their $1,000 prizes to the American victims of 9-11. In Kosovo that amount of money has the buying power of $10,000, and they gave it away to help the American families still hurt by the tragedy. No, the American media won’t tell you that story, and they also wont tell you about the Candle Light vigils held throughout Kosovo in remembrance of 9-11. The major media didn’t cover any of this, despite the fact that the president of Kosovo and the US ambassador to Kosovo were present at the festival.

Venice was uplifting! The enthusiasm for cinema and the love of film was contagious, omni-present. As gratifying an experience as that was, all through Italy I felt an underlying sentiment of mistrust and a hostility towards Americans and the USA. Who can blame you when the American Mainstream Media is our chief ambassador? Venice was alive with the spirit of film, but Kosovo was charged with the spirit of Idealism!

Kosovo could have asked anybody to sit as the President of their Jury, but they chose me, they chose Troma. Troma is one of the last American bastions of film freedom, a celluloid cause the Mainstream Media and Mr. Murdoch would love to see splattered under a car tire like a melon with a wig. We have built our movies around our own ideas and ideals. Thinking for ourselves, making the movies we want to see and fighting against the one-sided perspective is what the independent spirit of art is about! That spirit is alive in Kosovo and that spirit is alive in Italy. That Spirit is alive at Troma! Thank you FMM and Thank you to our fans for 30 Troma-tic years!

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