Monday, December 8, 2014

MMI Screening on December 12 / Annie Awards

Hey everyone, great news!  My new animated feature "Cheatin'" just got nominated for THREE Annie Awards, in the categories of Best Animated Feature, Best Directing in an Animated Feature, and Best Music in an Animated Feature.

If you don't know about the Annies, they're run by ASIFA-Hollywood, and they're sort of like animation's equivalent to the Oscars, and they are taken very seriously by all the big studios.  So, for "Cheatin'" to get three nominations, it's a big deal and it means that my film should be taken seriously as a contender.

(In other words, my $400,000 movie is kicking butt against some very expensive films with $200,000,000 budgets.)



So, in order to celebrate this wonderful event, the Museum of the Moving Image is having a party in my honor - also, to celebrate my screening of "Cheatin'" at their wonderful theater, and also a gallery exhibition there.

The event will be on Friday, December 12, at 7 pm - presented in collaboration with ASIFA-East.  After a special "sneak preview" of "Cheatin'" (we'll have more news shortly about this winter's release dates) there will be a reception, during which you can take in the exhibition "Plymptoons: Short Films and Drawings by Bill Plympton".  Oh, and everyone who comes will also get a free signed sketch from me - I'll be there drawing until my hand falls off. 


So, if you live in NYC or the nearby tri-state area, bring your friends and come celebrate the success of "Cheatin'" and have a drink with me.  The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria, Queens.

For more information, please visit this link:

http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2014/12/12/detail/cheatin

Or follow this link to purchase tickets:

https://1282.blackbaudhosting.com/1282/tickets?tab=2&txobjid=d1ee46dd-e583-4c20-a5ba-4130040fe431

See you all there!

Oh, and the Annie Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 31 in Los Angeles at UCLA's Royce Hall.  Wish me luck!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gijon International Film Festival

Last year, I was pleasantly surprised when my film CHEATIN' won the Best Animated Feature prize at the wonderful Gijon Film Festival in Spain.  Not only did it include a money prize, but also an invitation to visit the festival the following year.  So, I was happy to come back in 2014 and hold a Master Class and some more screenings of my films.


Gijon is situated in the beautiful Northern coast of Spain, where there's a lot of beautiful nature and gorgeous beaches.  However, they kept me so busy with my retrospective, interviews and lunches that I was unable to even walk around the beautiful historic city.

Also, the weather sucked - it was raining almost the entire time I was there.  The sun was only out on the first day I was there and I was able to go swimming in the beautiful, crystal-clear warm water of the Bay of Biscay.


Still, there were a couple of amazing highlights.  I was able to share the spotlight with one of my favorite filmmakers, Terry Gilliam.  We were able to hang out together and enjoy the fantastic food and cider of the region.


He's such a raconteur - telling me all about his film projects, the successes and the failures, and especially his battles against Hollywood studios, which I heartily empathized with.  He says he still wants to complete Don Quixote and plans to return to Spain with a new cast.

The other great guest I met was Richard Lester - when I was in college, I discovered this great man's work.  Of course, he's famous for directing the great Beatles films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!", but then I discovered some of his more non-commercial films, like "Petulia" (which I loved), "How I Won the War" starring John Lennon, "The Mouse on the Moon", and "The Bed Sitting Room".  Of course, he made some blockbusters too, like "The Three Musketeers", "Robin and Marian" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum". 


But to my mind, two of his films really stand out - "It's Trad, Dad" (released in the U.S. as "Ring-a-Ding Rhythm!") which is all about the Dixieland revival in London in the early 1960's.  I loved Kenny Ball and the Jazzmen, Acker Bilk and others, but what's amazing about the film is the experimental editing and cinematography that wasn't seen again until 20 years later, when MTV started.  So Richard Lester really started it all.

The other film of his that changed my life was "Petulia" in 1968.  This film starring George C. Scott, Julie Christie and the brilliant Shirley Knight blew me away when I first saw it.  It had everything - humor, great San Francisco rock music, drama and fantastic acting, and yet in many ways it was an experimental film.  Watch it on Netflix, you'll thank me for it.

But I digress - I approached Mr. Lester and told him he's my God, and fortunately I didn't scare him away.  He's such a gentleman, he told me some great stories about his directing years.  He said he retired because he couldn't get used to the new technology - and he looks great, slim, trim and as youthful as ever. 


What a joy to hang out with my two favorite directors!  I give the Gijon Film Festival an A+.

--Bill Plympton

Monday, December 1, 2014

Napa Valley Film Festival

Last year, while I was at the Slamdance Festival in Park City, Utah, I met the head programmer of the Napa Valley Film Festival.  I mentioned to him that I'd always wanted to visit the famed Napa Valley, plus I have relatives in Sacramento that I could also visit.  So he invited me to come this year and hold a Master Class at his festival.

On November 13, I visited beautiful historic Napa Valley for their 4th annual film festival.  I was amazed - for such a young festival, it's already become a powerhouse event, with tons of celebrities like Mike Myers, Kevin Costner, and Michelle Monaghan, among others.  Almost all the shows were sold out, even those with 1000-seat venues. Plus, they had parties galore.


Part of the attraction is the beautiful location and of course, there's also the wine.  It seemed that whereever I was, someone was offering me a delicious glass of wine, and not the cheap kind of wine I usually drink.  No, this was the GOOD stuff.  From 10 am straight through to 3 am - this was definitely not the place for any AA members to be.

The highlight for me was my last day, when I took a side trip and visited the Lasseter winery - I'd read about it many times - and of course I know John Lasseter of Disney/PIXAR fame from the old Spike & Mike days.  So my cousins from Sacramento drove me to the Lasseter Winery in Glen Ellen (of course I made a reservation first).  It's a beautiful location and because I was a friend of John, we got a first-class tour and a complete tasting of their primo wines, along with local cheeses and nuts.


I was hoping to say hello to John & Nancy, being old friends and such - however they told me they had lost their dog and were out searching for him.  I wasn't totally disappointed, after all John runs two of the biggest entertainment entities in the world, and I'm sure he needs some time to be with his family -

But definitely check out the Napa Valley Film Festival, especially if you like drinking wine and eating great food. You'll love it there.

--Bill Plympton

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wayne Coyne Animated Interview..

This weeks episode of PBS's Blank on Blank features an interview of the Flaming Lip's Wayne Coyne. In addition, the short includes Wayne's own drawings, which I used as backgrounds.  Here's a great write up from Rolling Stone. Hope everyone is having a great start to the holiday season!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oscars Short List

I don't know if you heard, but the Academy Awards animated shorts "short list" was just announced, and my film "Footprints" made it on the list!

Three weeks ago, I attended the screening of all of the eligible animated shorts (56 films), which took place over 2 days, to vote on the films.  The quality this year was quite good.

Some of my favorites were "The Mask of Red Death" by Raul Garcia, "Rocky & Bullwinkle" (a trailer for the feature), "The Ledge-End of Phil from Accounting", and the Pixar short "Lava" - which I really liked (call me sentimental) but the NY audiences laughed at.

They showed my film "Footprints" right after the great Glen Keane's film "Duet" - so I thought my chances were dead in the water. 

To my surprise, last Wednesday night I got the word via e-mail that "Footprints" made it to the short list!  Whoopee!

The interesting situation this year is that I happen to have two Oscar-eligible films, "Footprints" in the animated shorts section, and "Cheatin'" in the animated features category.  And if the award Gods smile on me, I'll have a very rare opportunity to have both films nominated.  I don't think any director - not John Lasseter, Walt Disney or Hayao Miyazaki - has had two films in different categories in the same year.  That would be historic!

So, here's a run-down of the Animated Shorts "short list", and my opinions of the films:

"The Bigger Picture" by Daisy Jacobs.  Very inventive, but too crude for the Academy.

"Coda" by Alan Holly.  Beautiful, but too depressing.

"The Dam Keeper" by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi.  I think this film has a shot for a nomination.

"Duet" by Glen Keane.  A lock for a nomination.

 "Feast" by Patrick Osborne (Disney).  Also a lock for a nomination.

"Footprints" by Bill Plympton.  Who knows?

"Me and My Moulton" by Torill Kove.  Nice story and beautiful colors.  It's a toss-up.

"The Numberlys" by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg.  It's beautiful and smart, it should be nominated.

 "A Single Life" by Joris Oprins.  Frankly, I don't remember this one.

"Symphony No. 42" by RĂ©ka Bucsi.  Very funny and clever.  Short, funny takes that are linked together.  I liked it, but it may be too obscure.

Tune in for the big announcement on January 15.  Meanwhile, I'll be praying to the animation gods...

--Bill P.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Milt's dancing Llama...

Here's a Llama to cheer you up on this Friday..  also a reminder to loosen up while animating.. Milt was amazing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beast Transformation..

Pencil texture.. sincere pencil texture.  I miss this. Good luck Glenn for an oscar nom.. my academy colleagues reported that "Duet" played well during the shorts screenings!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Inspiration.. Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas inspiration for the day, enjoy.  Pencil test depot is as addictive as Deja view.




Friday, October 31, 2014

New York Comic Con 2014

We had an extra-special  marketing attraction this year at New York Comic-Con.  As most of you may know, I directed a special 10-page spread for Penthouse magazine (it will be in the December issue, which comes out in November) featuring mega porn star Julia Ann.  Penthouse made up some very collectible posters of Julia Ann, surrounded by my art. 

                                         Julia Ann gave my "Guard Dog" a good home...

We gave them away for free, as promotional items, and they went like hotcakes!  Because Julia Ann has such a great sense of humor and is such a good sport, we had a blast.  And guys were lined up around the corner to meet her.  One of her fans also found a comic book she starred in from 10 years ago - very cool! 

                                 Mega adult film star Julia Ann signing posters promoting her
                                     December Penthouse pictorial, featuring my artwork!

But we also had other great attractions, for the first time at NY Comic Con, I did caricatures for anyone who wanted to see what they'd look like drawn like one of my animated characters, for the paltry fire-sale price of $40.  And those sold like, umm, waffles, and so did the original art from all of my past films, including "Your Face".

You may also recall that I created the new "H" segment in the soon-to-be-released film "ABC's of Death II", and there was a signing at the Magnet Pictures booth, where I autographed posters, along with the great Larry Fessenden and Jen & Sylvia Soska, aka the Twisted Twins.  There was a long line of fun people and I got to catch up with Larry's projects. 

                                With Larry Fessenden and the Soska Sisters in the Magnet booth

I've been going to the San Diego Comic Con for over 10 years and the NY Comic Con for 7 years, and it's interesting to see the contrast between the two events.  The San Diego Con is more old Hollywood, with TV show panels and movie stars, while the NY Con seems more literary, with a lot of publishers and games.   So both are great for my needs, and I love going to both of them. 

If you believe the crowd estimates, it seems like NY Comic Con now has more attendees, but I think the San Diego Comic-Con is still larger in terms of space, since they now have events outside the Convention Center, at nearby hotels and the whole darn Gaslamp District.  But I think they're working on making the San Diego Convention Center bigger so they can increase attendance in coming years.  At the same time, this was the first year that NYCC has taken up the whole Jacob Javits Center, so if it keeps on growing, they're going to have to figure out a solution.
       
                                         Me with most of my booth staff - Michael, Ingrida,
                                                     James, Julia Ann, Sandrine + Lucas

And here are some of the best costumes seen at the convention, photos taken by my booth manager, John Holderried.  For the full gallery, please visit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/66064297@N00/sets/72157648333599350/

Wow, how about that for a collection of Bats and Cats and Scarecrows, and other people in crazy costumes?  Happy Halloween, everybody!

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dublin Animation Film Festival

As we entered the Dublin Airport passport office, Sandrine and I prepared ourselves for a repeat of what had happened at the U.S. passport office - and as we neared the gruff-looking inspector, the lady in front of us wanted to ask him a question.  He looked at her and said, "Due to the poor financial state of the Irish economy, you'll have to pay 5 euros for the answer."  The lady looked stunned and, after a short pause, the inspector laughed and said he was only kidding.

                                                      At the IADT with Will Becher

Right then, I know I was in a different place - and that's what my experiences at the Dublin Animation Film Festival (DAFF) were all about.  The director of the festival, Fionnghuala O'Neill, put us up at the posh Royal Marine Hotel - and anything we wanted was supplied.  Sandrine and I both held workshops at IADT, a college for animation, to good crowds and the next day I hosted the Irish festival premiere of "Cheatin'" to a large, loving crowd.

                                                         Bill's Master Class at the IADT.

                                                  Sandrine hosting her workshop at IADT.

One of the great events there was the screening of Irish animation.  I was thrilled and amazed to see such wonderful films from young filmmakers. Three films stood out for me - "Wounded" by Helga Kristjana Bjarnadottir, "The Ledge End of Phil (From Accounting)" by Paul O’Muiris, and "Coda" by Alan Holly.

                                           Bill and Lucas checking out the Irish animation

On our last day there, we took a trip to Killkenny ("kill" means area") to visit with my good friends Tomm Moore and Paul Young at Cartoon Saloon.  They just finished their new feature, "Song of the Sea", which is why their studio is half-staffed (about 40 people).  They showed me their new TV show, "Puffin Rock", which is very charming.  I'm so excited to see "Song of the Sea", because the artwork is so glorious.  It opens in the U.S. in the middle of December.

                                                   With Paul Young at Cartoon Saloon

The Dublin Animation Festival is only 3 years old, but already it's bursting with energy and talent, so I highly recommend you enter your films next year to this up-and-coming festival.  If you attend, you'll feel the warmth and generosity of Ireland, and perhaps you'll run into the same crazy immigration officer that we did.

                                                 With the DAFF Award for Best Feature!

I give the festival an "A".

Bill Plympton

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Juxtapoz

I met the great painter Robert Williams about 15 years ago, at a custom car convention in L.A. and I was very impressed that he talked to me.

And just last year, I met him again at the San Diego Comic-Con, where he was a special guest.  I told him how much I love his stuff, and his magazine, Juxtapoz.  He said it's the largest circulated art magazine in the U.S. (bigger than Art Forum or Art in America).  That's pretty cool.

He said I should put my stuff in it, and sure enough, this new October issue of Juxtapoz has an interview with Matthew Modine and me, and they show finished drawings from "Cheatin'", plus some of the storyboards.  I'm really honored to be in Juxtapoz because they show real art by real artists, not that conceptual, artsy-fartsy intellectual masturbatory crap.

No, this is art with a sense of humor, fantasy, storytelling and great draftsmanship.  That's why I love the magazine and why you should pick up a copy at your nearest newstand or art store.

Thanks for your patronage,

Bill P.