One of the countries that bought the rights to “Idiots and Angels” was Russia. They decided to release it in November and wanted me there to help publicize the event. My schedule during October and November was very busy with new projects and publicizing “I and A” in the US, but I felt that Russia is a very important territory, so I took three days off to visit Moscow and promote the film.
One of the promotional angles we decided to use was to have an exhibition in a Moscow gallery. Lidia and Mischa were in charge of the gallery show. Lidia visited my studio one month prior to the premiere of the film, to select the right artwork for the show. She and Desiree put together a package of about 40 pieces, from “Your Face” to “I&A”, with emphasis on “I&A”, of course.
So my first stop in Moscow was to visit the Solyanka State Gallery. My show was downstairs from an exhibition of Terry O'Neill's wonderful Beatles photographs. As soon as I entered the downstairs gallery, I realized something was different. I was ambushed by TV crews, radio correspondents, Bright Lights magazine writers and a motley group of fans. It became so unruly that TV crews were fighting over who was to interview me next. I felt it was important to get the word out on “I&A”, so I patiently spoke to each media person and gave each individual one of my dog sketches. Consequently, the gallery show was a big success – outdrawing Terry O'Neill's fancy photo show upstairs.
The next day was my I&A premiere at the Pioneer Cinema. Mischa spent the day driving me around Moscow from TV Station to TV Station doing sit-down interviews. The more interviews I did, the more confused I got as to what story did I tell one and am I repeating my stories twice to the same interviewer. It became very Twilight Zone-ish because of the constant repetition of the same questions: “How did you get your idea?”, “What Russian animator do you like?”, “What do you think of computer animation?” After a while, the brain goes crazy – now I know why Bob Dylan started fucking with the interview questions.
That night at the movie premiere, it was the Gallery experience times ten – mobs of people crushing against me, trying to get my autograph or photo. It was a wonderful madhouse. Fortunately for me, I'm not usually that popular and it's hard for me to get publicity like this, so I was really digging it. But the question I ask, is why do the Russians like my work so much? Are they starving for adult animation? Do U.S. directors refuse to visit Moscow? I don't know the answer. My only guess is since Russia is home to Gogol, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky, maybe they see a kindred spirit in my dark, sepia-toned imagery of the angel fighting his idiotic urges.
In any case, the film is now a big success in Russia, and now I'm off to Chicago where I hope I can get equally good audiences.