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Invitation to the Dance

The 17 th annual “TromaDance” film festival is coming up, and the cult-friendly, slap-happy independent studio is looking for submissions. Features, shorts, animated, live-action, experimental … and it doesn’t cost a thing. That’s right, no submission fees.

No wonder “TromaDance” calls itself “the first and only film festival of the people, for the people, and by the people.” (I wonder where they borrowed that phraseology from …) If you don’t know Troma, for more than 40 years the New York-based studio has produced and propagated such low-rent, low-brow and frequently unforgettable fare as The Toxic Avenger (1984), Class of Nuke ‘Em High and Girls School Screamers (1986), Troma’s War (1988), Sgt.

Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990) and Squeeze Play (1979), the latter a particular favorite of mine – and I’m not ashamed to say so. (Well, OK, maybe a little bit …)

While other independent studios have crashed and burned, Troma marches on – to the warped beat of its own drum. It has provided early career boosts, more or less, to Kevin Costner, who enjoyed (more or less) one of his first starring roles in Sizzle Beach U.S.A., which was filmed in 1978 or 1979 and distributed by Troma in 1986 once Costner’s star began to rise; Samuel L. Jackson, who made an early impression in Def by Temptation (1990); “South Park” maestros Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who made their big-screen bow in Cannibal! The Musical (1993); and filmmaker James Gunn, who went from scripting the Shakespearean satire Tromeo & Juliet (1996) with Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman, to directing the Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, and they did. And maybe you can, too.

TromaDance originally took place in Park City, Utah, during the annual Sundance Film Festival before moving closer to home, first in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and last year at the Paper Box Theatre in beautiful Brooklyn. In the past, TromaDance has premiered such cult classics as Tom Six’s controversial The Human Centipede (2009) and Banana Motherf— er (2014), which speaks for itself.

The submission period is now open and will continue through April 30, 2016 – by which time Troma will have undoubtedly (?) scheduled the specific date and location for the 2016 festival. For all the sordid details about submitting, check out http://www.tromadance.com/.

If that’s not “Troma-tic” enough, Troma Entertainment has recently announced the new “Troma Now” channel available through VHX. For only $4.99 a month, which would probably cover the budget for the average Troma feature, subscribers can enjoy a wide variety of Troma favorites both old and new, including the aforementioned Toxic Avenger, Tromeo & Juliet, Sizzle Beach U.S.A., the starstudded 1987 horror spoof Monster in the Closet (with Stella Stevens, Claude Akins, Henry Gibson and John Carradine), and writer/producer/director Brandon Bassham’s Fear Town U.S.A. (2014) and this year’s The Slashening, episodes of “Troma Edge TV” and “The Chainsaw Sally Show,” and the entire first season of “Sgt. Kabukiman’s Cocktail Corner.” Many titles include such supplemental features as audio commentaries, behindthe-scenes footage, exclusive interviews, and any number of Troma extras. It’s all Troma, all the time.

For more information about “Troma Now,” check out http://watch.troma.com/.

The official Troma Entertainment website is http://www.troma.com/. !

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