Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Entertainment has been attending since 1971 but he says that the Cannes Film Festival has gone “from festive to fascist.”
— Lloyd Kaufman (@lloydkaufman) May 10, 2018
In an email press release Kaufman says Troma is done with Cannes.
“I wasn’t kidding when I said, I will never go back to Fascist Cannes Film Festival. The once legitimate, pro-independent arts festival that embraced free speech and artistic expression has become just another tool for government elites, mega media conglomerates and the ‘coteries of the favored’ to dominate the art world and stomp/police out true independent art.” stated Lloyd Kaufman. “They must have learned this from the Sundance Film Festival!”
Ok, movies from Troma aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and Class of Nuke’em High and other cult classics probably don’t excite the elitist film festival executives any more than pretentious arthouse schlock excites the world’s average movie-goers. Still, the kooky B-flicks that show up on late night cable were a springboard for the careers of many big names in film.
Early work of many of today’s luminaries can be found in Troma’s library of 1000 films, cartoons, TV shows and shorts. Jenna Fischer, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Fergie, Vincent D’Onofrio, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gunn and Eli Roth are just a few.
Troma’s annual pilgrimage to Cannes involves a lot of costumes, street theater, and guerrilla marketing for their underground brand. Lately that has gotten them accosted by French police (though Kaufman says the local Cannes police love them). Oddly, those dressing up and promoting movies from big studios like Disney have thus far escaped the cops attention.
In the Troma produced video From Festival To Fascism: Cannes 2017 Kaufman points out that the Cannes Festival was actually founded as a response to fascism and naziism. The Venice Film Festival had become corrupted toward fascism and Cannes was meant to be a free and open alternative.
“You know, Cannes was originally founded as a reaction against the nazis, against fascism. The Venice Film Festival in 1938, 39 had drifted way toward fascism. The French wanted to set up a free, open, and democratic festival. Personally I’ve noticed over the years that the Cannes Film Festival has gotten more elitist. More fascist in my opinion.”
In a world where technology is making it increasingly possible for artists to produce films without the backing of big studios, one would think that festivals would become less elitist. Perhaps this is just the old guard making a last stand.