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Ed. note: Originally published at on 19 February, 2003. Original artwork by Ming Chen. Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD are registered trademarks of Troma Entertainment, Inc. Used under license. Copyright 2003 Chris Lanphear.

Welcome to part two of my series of columns about the Sundance 2003 experience, including our own beloved TromaDance 2003. To read part one of this series, click here.

VolunteersAs we prepared for the festival on Wednesday and Thursday, the TromaDance Team was plastering Park City with TromaDance flyers, signs and bumper stickers. We sent out a group every three to four hours armed with leaflets, staple guns and packing tape. Since we were unable to fund large-scale advertising, we, like many of the other small festivals, set upon battling for control of the Sundance kiosks. This year, things were easier than they had been in previous TromaDances. Two years ago, while promoting TD 2001, Festival Director Doug Sakmann was arrested and jailed for handing out leaflets and putting up TromaDance signs on Sundance kiosks. This year, Sundance and the Park City police seemed to be more accommodating to the smaller festivals. Previously, we were only allowed to deface I mean, promote on one kiosk at the bottom of the hill. This year, we basically had free reign of all of the kiosks, including those owned by Sundance. Only this year, it wasn’t Sundance trying to sabotage us, it was another festival…

Getting Kicked in the Backseat

DougOn Monday afternoon, we started to get reports that a group of people were seen taking down TromaDance flyers from the kiosks. Could this have been the work of Sundance, but in disguise? Not likely. In actuality, it was Doug Sakmann, former Troma employee and head of the newly-formed Backseat Film Festival. Not only was this group comprised of many of those responsible for Tromaville On Tour, but they had also secured time with our screening venue for the second day, Phat Tire Saloon. As soon as this was discovered, we spoke with Doug, and he assured us that those responsible would be reprimanded severely. That was good enough for us, and we went on our way.

That night, Lloyd Kaufman hosted a seminar at Virgin Records in Salt Lake City, as a pre-festival kickoff, while the rest of us were freezing our asses off screaming “TromaDance!” throughout Park City. The next day, however, would test everyone’s patience.

I’ve Said It Before…

Working with the Troma Team isn’t for everyone. It won’t make you rich, there’s no glory involved, you will piss people off, and it probably won’t get you laid. You’ll have to sacrifice your money, time and energy for the greater good of independent film. It’s hard, it’s draining, and you’ll have to sleep on the floor of a cramped condo with twenty other volunteers, but we’ll give you a free Troma DVD! Sign on the dotted line!

This year, I had invited two local filmmakers to help us with the festival. Before the trip, I had explained to them the above, that working for Troma is hard, pissy and downright grueling. They both assured me that they would give much to the festival.

Tuesday morning, the TromaDance Team was up at 8am. Conveniently, we were slated to switch to a new condo that morning and we needed to be cleared out of the old one by 10am. The only real downside to this was that we couldn’t move into the new condo until 3pm! With only three cars at our disposal, the team moved systematically until we were completely out of the old condo.

During the move, one of the filmmakers I had brought with me decided to do her part in the transition by sleeping while everyone else worked. I had tried repeatedly to ask her kindly for her help, but she insisted on sleeping.

As I was showing Pat (Lloyd’s wife and the present Film Commissioner of New York State) upstairs to her room, we were alarmed by the Sleeping Filmmaker, at the side of Lloyd and Pat’s bed. Pat, being the consummate nice woman she is, told the Sleeping Filmmaker that she could stay and sleep. (This was, of course, after we had talked with everyone, making sure they knew that no one was allowed upstairs in their room.) Jonathan, director of the fest and my boss, upon hearing this news, marched upstairs and told the Sleeping Filmmaker to leave the room, that she wasn’t supposed to be up there, and that she knew it.

All hell broke loose.

She started throwing things into her car, screaming at everyone, claiming that we had lied to her, and that she was being mistreated. From a person content with doing nothing but partying and sleeping, this remark was amusing. She promptly left the condo, and was not seen by any of us for the rest of the week. There was only one problem, though: She was my ride home!

To Be Continued…

NEXT TIME: We actually get to the festival! Party with Tromettes at Brewvies and Satanicide in Park City! Bonus! The Troma Team meets Puck from THE REAL WORLD. Also, read about how I overcame adversity (okay, I’m stretching it a bit) and found my way home.

Chris Lanphear is running out of things to say in these footnotes.