My love for all things Troma runs deep and true. I will forever have a special place in my heart for these wacky bastards and their insane films. Local film makers Mike Hartman and Terence Cover (Silver Bullet Pictures) share this love and few years back manifested this love in a physical form (Ewwwww! Not like that!) and brought Troma to Detroit. Tromadance Detroit is Michigan’s only film festival that truly celebrates independent cinema. Best part is, it’s 100% free! Co-founder Terence Cover took some time to answer a few questions about Tromadance 2016. Check the interview out below!
Slack Jaw Punks: What was your first introduction into the insane and beautiful world of Troma Films?
Terence Cover: As a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s, my intro to Troma was, naturally, The Toxic Crusaders animated series. I remember watching it in the mornings and being completely unaware of its source material. I had one of the toys from the series which I had received from a great uncle for Christmas. The VHS box art for The Toxic Avenger also always caught my eye as a child visiting the video store but I never connected the two Toxies until high school when I watched The Toxic Avenger for the first time.
SJP: You can only watch 2 Troma films for the rest of your life which 2 are you picking? And why?
TC: Only two! You’re a monster! I guess, Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie would be one since Toxie is what introduced me to this world of Troma and that’s my favorite of the series. The other would probably be Terror Firmer (though it’s a close call between that, Poultrygeist and Tromeo and Juliet) because I love that it’s basically an exaggerated version of Troma’s Making Of… documentaries and as a filmmaker myself, I can relate to that. Plus I love Lloyd’s angry films. Those just seem the most passionate.
SJP: Let’s pretend we live in a world where there are people who have never seen a Troma movie (clearly a world of pure fiction), which Troma movie are you picking? and Why?
TC: The Toxic Avenger obviously! That’s the one that started the Tromaville we know and love and that’s the one that hooked me so it’s a perfect starting point for any person open to an amazing cinematic experience.
SJP: What was it that made you want to start Tromadance Detroit? Why hitch your wagon to Troma?
TC: “Make Your Own Damn Movie”. That book and “Everything I Know…” set me on the path to being an indie filmmaker. Those books inspire the do-it-yourself and budget be damned attitude in myself and many other filmmakers. After reading those and learning about Troma’s filmmaking process and about Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s own experience with Sundance which led to the original TromaDance I knew that if I ever made a movie, I wanted it to show at TromaDance.
After finishing film school, TromaDance was the first film fest I submitted my first movie to. Through that site I found out about the offshoot TromaDances and submitted to them too. The only disappointing thing about all those TromaDance options was there weren’t any near me, in the midwest. So I never got to actually attend one.
Then I met Mike Hartman on his film Heavy Mental, the most Troma movie to come out of Detroit at that time. I worked all of his films after that and eventually one year he said we should just do our own TromaDance in Detroit since his company (Silver Bullet Pictures) was basically the Troma of Detroit anyway. He granted me control of the event and it’s been going ever since.
SJP: One of the most interesting aspects of Tromadance is it’s 100% free? Why go this route and how do you sustain for this many years?
TC: TromaDance Detroit and Troma’s own TromaDance are free because that’s how it should be. Filmmakers put enough time, effort, money and lifeforce into creating their art, they shouldn’t then be gouged again when they want to show that art to an audience. Likewise, people shouldn’t be restricted from seeing that art because they can’t afford a ticket. Plus, more people will participate on both ends if it’s free.
SJP: This year’s line-up (films) looks top-notch. Which films stand-out this year?
TC: Both our features films are really great. Stabbing With Frank is a film that made the lack of a budget really work for it with a hilarious performance by it’s lead and Megamuerte is a Spanish demonic, heavy metal film not unlike Heavy Mental. For the the shorts, the film RESET really grabbed my attention despite not being very “Troma”-esque. It’s a great example of how someone with little money can make a message film but still have it actually be entertaining and not some preachy bullshit.
SJP: Why is it so important to support independent cinema?
TC: Have been to a multiplex lately? It’s all rehashed garbage that is as formulaic as it gets. I enjoy a mindless popcorn film like everyone but goddamn, it’s like there is only three scripts anymore and the only thing that changes is which nostalgic property gets dropped into it. Indie cinema works a little like how the free press is supposed to keep the government in check. Hollywood takes notice when an indie film gets attention and that changes how Hollywood does things. If we support the original ideas and no-budget passion projects of the indie cinema then it should lead to Hollywood stepping their game up with an original idea or two. And if not, then we still have the indie cinema. Art for the people and by the people.
SJP: Give us the elevator pitch: Why should well all attend Tromadance Detroit 2016?
TC: It’s FREE goddamnit! Plus we’ve got films you’ve never seen before, performers who will blow you away and the best art vendors in the Detroit area and it’s all FREE to come see!