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Lloyd Kaufman (born December 30, 1945) is an Americanmarker film director, producer, screenwriter and occasional actor. With producer Michael Herz, he is the co-founder of Troma Entertainment film studio, and the director of many of their feature films, including the The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet. Kaufman also serves as chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance.

Personal life

Kaufman was born Stanley Lloyd Kaufman, Jr. in New York City, New Yorkmarker, the son of Ruth (née Fried) and Stanley Lloyd Kaufman, Sr. a lawyer. He is married to Pat Swinney Kaufman, the executive director of the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development. They have three daughters.

Career

Kaufman graduated from Yale Universitymarker with the class of 1968, where he majored in Chinese studies. His Yale classmates included Oliver Stone and George W. Bush. Originally intending to become a social worker, he became friends with student filmmaker Robert Edelstein and Eric Sherman (son of filmmaker Vincent Sherman), who introduced him to his future lifelong obsession, cinema. Some of Lloyd's favorite filmmakers include John Ford, Kenji Mizoguchi, Ernst Lubitsch and Stan Brakhage. Like the members of Monty Python, who were a big influence on him, Kaufman read Punch magazine and enjoyed the theatrical performances of Beyond the Fringe, Flanders & Swann, etc.

In 1966, Lloyd went on a hiatus from his studies and spent a year in Chadmarker for USAID as a pathfinder for the Peace Corps.

Returning to Yale, he produced Robert Edelstein's low-budget film Rappaccini and directed his own first feature, an experimental black and white film titled The Girl Who Returned. The film was presented at film societies at Yale, Harvard, and other east coast institutions. Following his graduation, Kaufman went on to work for Cannon Films, where he met John G. Avildsen (future Academy Award-winning director of Rocky and The Karate Kid). The two collaborated for several years, making low-budget films including Joe and Cry Uncle. During this period, Kaufman also directed and starred in his second feature film, The Battle of Love's Return, which garnered positive reviews in publications such as The New York Times, wrote and produced the lesbian thriller Sugar Cookies (with Oliver Stone), and wrote and directed another film, the Israelimarker comedy flop Big Gus, What's the Fuss?. Kaufman also served as executive in charge of locations for Saturday Night Fever, and had a big hand in choosing 2001 Odyssey as the nightclub in the film.

From 1973-1979 Kaufman produced and directed a handful of adult films in New York under the pseudonym "Louis Su." He directed at least three: The Divine Obsession, The Newcomers, and Sweet & Sour, and has been credited for producing at least three more.

Troma Studios

In 1974, Kaufman and his business partner Michael Herz founded Troma Entertainment and began producing and distributing independent action and comedy films. In order to pay the bills, Kaufman did freelance work for Hollywood productions, including Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, and The Final Countdown, which he also produced (Kaufman has said that it was his experience on this film that made him never want to deal with a major studio again). From 1979 to 1981, the two wrote, produced and directed a series of profitable "sexy comedies," precursors to such films as Porky's, including Squeeze Play!, Waitress!, Stuck on You! and The First Turn-On!. On most of these early films, Kaufman is credited as "Samuel Weil."

In 1985, Troma experienced mainstream success with another Kaufman/Herz production, the violent, darkly comic superhero film The Toxic Avenger. Toxic went on to become Troma's most popular movie, inspiring three sequels, a Saturday morning children's television show, comic books and tons of merchandise. The Toxic Avenger, or "Toxie," is now Troma's official mascot.

Kaufman's follow-up to The Toxic Avenger was Class of Nuke 'Em High, which he co-directed with Richard W. Haines. Riding on the success of the Toxic Avenger, Nuke 'em inspired two profitable sequels and a healthy run on late night cable shows such as USA Up All Night. At one time, Class of Nuke 'Em High was the highest-selling VHS for Troma.

Troma experienced a lull in popularity after Kaufman's next two films, Troma's War and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., failed to make an impression at the box office. From 1995 to 2000, Kaufman rebounded with three critically acclaimed independent films: 1996's Tromeo and Juliet, a loose parody of Shakespeare's play; 1999's Terror Firmer, a slasher film set on the set of a Troma movie (with Kaufman playing a caricature of himself), and the fourth installment in the Toxic Avenger franchise, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.

Troma's experienced some financial hardship after the botched funding of a low-budget video feature titled Tales from the Crapper, which cost $250,000 despite most of the footage being unusable. Lloyd supervised a reshoot in an attempt to salvage the film, dividing the footage into two parts and recasting the film as a double-feature. Tales from the Crapper was released on DVD in September 2004, eventually making its money back through DVD sales.

Today

Troma still produces and acquires independent films. Troma Films has distributed many films from third parties including Trey Parker's Cannibal! The Musical. Lloyd himself encourages independent filmmaking, making cameo appearances in low-budget horror films, often for free. A recent appearance is in former collaborator James Gunn's directing debut, Slither.

Kaufman's latest film, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, made its official New York premiere on May 9, 2008 (although the film had previewed numerous times on single screens for over a year). On its opening weekend, it had the second highest per-screen average ticket sales, beating out the big-budget Speed Racer, and opened to positive reviews from Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and was made a critics pick by New York Magazine and Salon.com.

In September 2008, a staged musical version of The Toxic Avenger opened at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswickmarker, New Jerseymarker. Directed by Tony Award winner John Rando, The Toxic Avenger Musical features music from Bon Jovi founding member, David Bryan. On 17 September 2009 announced he will had an cameo in the remake of his produced movie Mother´s Day alongside with his brother Charles.

Select filmography

As Director

All films from Waitress to Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. were co-directed with college friend and Troma Vice President Michael Herz

As Producer Only



As Actor



Books

  • All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger (with James Gunn)
  • Make Your Own Damn Movie (with Adam Jahnke and Trent Haaga)
  • The Toxic Avenger: The Novel (with Adam Jahnke)
  • Direct Your Own Damn Movie (with Sara Antill and Kurly Tlapoyawa)
  • Produce Your Own Damn Movie


See also



Bibliography



References

  1. http://www.filmreference.com/film/46/Lloyd-Kaufman.html
  2. "Fever Pitch." Kashner, Sam. Movies Rock, Fall 2007.
  3. Quoted in All I need to know about filmmaking, I learned from the Toxic Avenger, ISBN 0-425-16357-1
  4. Lloyd Rage: Four Decades of Fighting the Movie Man | Short Ends and Leader | PopMatters
  5. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead - Movie - Review - The New York Times
  6. Surprise Cameos in 'Mother's Day' Remake

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