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Lloyd Kaufman (Troma) new chairman with IFTA

Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment, Inc. has been elected Chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) during the organization’s annual members meeting today, it was announced by Jean Prewitt, president and chief executive officer of IFTA. Kaufman begins his two-year term, effective today.

IFTA membership also elected new Executive Committee members to two-year terms: Michael Ryan (Handmade Films International and former IFTA Chairman) to Vice Chairman and Paul Hertzberg (CineTel Films, Inc.) to Vice Chairman/Secretary. Executive Committee members who will remain in their current roles include Ehud Bleiberg (Bleiberg Entertainment) as Chairman of the Export Alliance, Mark Damon (Foresight Unlimited) as General Vice Chairman and Lewis Horwitz (Horwitz Entertainment Financial Services, Inc.) as Vice Chairman/Finance. The vacancy of Vice Chairman/Non-Californian, formerly held by Kaufman, will be determined by a special election in the coming weeks.

The IFTA Board of Directors consists of 20 members serving two-year terms. Newly elected members include Elisabeth Costa de Beauregard (Lakeshore Entertainment Group), Stephanie Denton (Lionsgate), Nicole Mackey (Fortissimo Film Sales), Almira Malyshev (Screen Media Ventures), Charlotte Mickie (Independent), Barbara Mudge (Worldwide Film Entertainment) and Nestor Nieves (New Line Cinema Corporation).

Current Board members who’ve been re-elected to two-year terms include Brad Kembel (Summit Entertainment), Albert Lee (Emperor Motion Pictures) and Andrew Stevens (Focal Point Releasing).

They join existing Board members Glen Basner (The Weinstein Company), Roger Corman (New Horizons Picture Corp.), Pierre David (Imagination Worldwide, LLC), Peter Elson (Global Cinema Group LLC), Antony Ginnane (IFM World Releasing, Inc.), Richard Guardian (Mainline Releasing), Tony Kandah (Hollywood Wizard), Avi Lerner (Nu Image, Inc.), Mark Lindsay (Kimmel International) and Alison Thompson (Focus Features).

Dan March (Echo Bridge Entertainment), Steven Paul (Crystal Sky Worldwide Sales) and David Shoshan (Imageworks Entertainment International, Inc.) will serve as Alternates to the IFTA Board.

Regarding the announcement, Prewitt said, “Lloyd Kaufman has a wealth of experience in our industry and is the epitome of an independent. He is a dynamic leader whose energy, creativity and global relationships will help further lead IFTA in today’s increasingly challenging environment.”

She added, “I want to thank Michael Ryan for his many contributions to IFTA and his important role as our Chairman over the past four years. He’s leaving IFTA well positioned for the future growth that surely will continue under Lloyd’s leadership.”

Kaufman stated, “I am honored to have been elected to Chairman of IFTA. The independent community today faces rampant media consolidation and challenges to copyrights in the digital universe, and I will work closely with the IFTA Board of Directors, member companies and IFTA’s executives to give our fellow independents more control and opportunities in both the U.S. and abroad. New technology will continue to be our new frontier.”

“Independent film has the most creative, inspired and resourceful people working in the business. We shape future trends and inspire tomorrow’s creative talent, and IFTA will continue being at the forefront of this movement.”

In 30 years, Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, has built Troma Studios up to legendary status as a bastion of true independence with a visionary body of work that has had a huge impact on today’s mainstream filmmaking. Among today’s top filmmakers who have cited Kaufman as a major influence include Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Takashi Miike.

In the late 1960s, Kaufman was enrolled at Yale University, where he met his future partner Herz, with whom he created Troma Entertainment in 1974 with a series of highly original, sexy comedies such as “Squeeze Play!,” “Waitress!” and other titles that would serve as independent precursors to such later smash hits as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Porky’s.” In 1984, Kaufman achieved new levels of success with his breakthrough movie “The Toxic Avenger,” which led to the animated spin-off television series “Toxic Crusaders,” several different comic book titles published by Marvel and Troma’s own independent comic book imprint, and three sequels. Its success was followed by a string of commercial and artistic triumphs that blended fantasy, heavy action, comedy and eroticism in a style that the Cinemateque Francais described as “Tromatic,” including the “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” trilogy, “Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD” and “Troma’s War.”

Lately, Troma’s “Tromeo and Juliet” became a surprise theatrical and critical hit, earning the grand prize at the Fanta Festival in Rome. In addition, Kaufman has been an honored guest at various international film festivals and Troma retrospectives around the world, including the San Sebastian Film Festival, the British Film Institute, the Cinematheque Francaise, the American Cinemetheque, the Chicago International Film Festival and the UCLA Film Archives.

Most recently, Kaufman was General Vice Chairman for IFTA and created and chairs its New Technologies Opportunities Committee. He has also served on the Board of Trinity School and ECO, the environmental foundation.

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