dances are back in town, and for you wallflowers who aren't
interested in paying loads of cash and waiting in the inversion to
catch a glimpse of the few celebrities who showed up, there is an
alternative in town.
TromaDance hits the ten year marker this week, celebrating a decade worth of thumbing their noses at the major players in town to showcase some of the best low-budget independent work you can find in cinema today. Oh, and gore! Lots of gore. With an impressive list of films that go across the board from dark fantasy to mismatched love to mass murders and all points in between. And best yet... all for free! I got a chance to chat with festival programmer and also contributing director Jonathan Lees about the anniversary, this year's films, what to expect overall and some other topics along the way.
Jonathan Lees (left)
Hey Jonathan, first off, how have you been since we last chatted and
what's been up with you this past year?
Jonathan: Hey Gavin. Well in addition to preparing for the Tenth Annual TromaDance Film Festival I'm still living in New York working as a freelance cinematographer and editor as well as prepping my new film, Wolves Outside My Window. Good times, hard work.
Gavin: Tromadance is back again. How does it feel coming back, and for the 10th year no less?
Jonathan: Never been crazier. We came back with a knockout lineup, a new high profile Park City venue, the Sidecar, an additional day of screenings at the gorgeous SLC library a new program design and look courtesy of our favorite new SLC designer, Jake Fuller of AlphaGraphics and continued support by stalwart supporters like the incomparable Night Flight Comics, Brewvies, Moviemaker, Dolly's Bookstore, Film Musicians Secondary Market Fund, Kodak, and G4. Every year, the entries we receive from filmmakers all round the world escalate in their execution, production value and groundbreaking technique. Really, the talent has never been more evident.
Gavin: What was it like preparing for the event this time around?
Jonathan: Wasn't easy. With the rising costs of Park City rentals, travel and real estate, it never gets easier throwing Park City's only totally FREE film festival. We hope as each year passes more sponsors realize the effort we put into our presentation and the excellence of our films.
Gavin: For those unaware, what's the process like picking films to show for the festival?
Jonathan: For a good portion of the selection process, longtime friend (and Citizen Toxie star) Heidi Sjursen and I wrap ourselves in big blankets, make pizza and make our eyes bleed watching film after film until we're delirious enough to choose the ones that will drive the audience as crazy as we are!
Gavin: Tell us about some of the events you have planned?
Jonathan: In addition to TromaDance founder, Lloyd Kaufman's book signing for his new Focal Press release, Direct Your Own Damn Movie, we have a giant retrospective screening at the SLC Library along with Poultry In Motion: The Making Of Poultrygeist and the exclusive uncut screening of Combat Shock, special afterparty Park City performances by local bands Radio Courtesy and longtime TromaDance favorite, Agape we have newcomers, The Ladies Of Debauchery, stripping Park City of its pretensions and keeping the party sexy as hell. We also are partying on down at our favorite SLC sponsor, Night Flight Comics following our premiere feature screenings at the SLC Library and we'll be hosting yet another edition of our informative panel series after our Park City screenings.
Gavin: Are there any films that caught your eye, or that we should be checking out this year?
Jonathan: Oh man, that's like asking a parent which child they love the most. The talent on display this year inspires me more than any other festivals offerings. The passion and pure ingenuity of shorts like Cars III, Kain, Far From Home, Uniweria Zekt, Cotton Candy, Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival and The Facts In The Case Of Mister Hollow, is a showcase of the individuality and true independence that will hopefully captivate our audiences. I wish I could list the whole program here. Also, our features are the strongest ever with legend Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker) unveiling his latest masterpiece of horror and hilarity, Bad Biology...Frank H. Woodward's star-studded look into the life and works of H.P. Lovecraft as revealed by Neil Gaiman, Guillermo DelToro, John Carpenter and more. The sinister features, Hagstone Demon and Plague Town bring refreshing approaches to the horror genre that only true independents can exploit, far removed from the studio's hackneyed approach of flooding us with endless sequels and terrible remakes.
Gavin: I know a lot of what you do is on volunteer basis. What do those volunteers do during the festival, and are you still looking for any?
Jonathan: We are always looking for people to help our cause. Again, this is a festival that does not charge a submission fee to filmmakers, does not charge its audience for screenings and is run completely by volunteers, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up! In fact, we could always use a couple more people to help us promote this year. Get In touch!