Monday, March 21, 2016

Green Gravel Comedy Festival & Monstra Festival

I just got back from a round of traveling, only to find that March is half over already!  And I'm falling behind on blogging, while I'm trying to finish the animation for "Revengeance", so I think I'm going to have to double-up, and write about the last two festivals I went to.

In the first week of March, I flew out to Iowa City for the Green Gravel Comedy Festival, and Jim Lujan flew in from L.A. so we could present some footage from "Revengeance" together.  I arrived on Friday, March 4 and hosted a show of my own short films at the FilmScene Theater, and then on Saturday Jim and I talked about the new film at the University of Iowa. 

The crowds were great, people stood in line after to get signed sketches from me, meanwhile Jim got to go to a show hosted by Rachel Bloom!

As soon as I got back to New York, I had to fly to Lisbon, Portugal for the Monstra Animation Festival.  Now that Salma Hayek and Roger Allers' feature "The Prophet" is being released internationally, I've found that some festivals want me to come and introduce the film, and the Monstra Festival was one of those places.

But I felt that if I was going to take a long flight to Portugal, I should do more than just introduce a movie, so I suggested a couple of other events.  I offered to host a Master Class and then I wanted to show parts of "Revengeance" as a work-in-progress.  The festival organizers liked those ideas, and made some room on their schedule for those events.   So BAM!, I was on my way to the Iberian peninsula.

I had been to Monstra before, the director of the festival, Fernando Galrito, invited me about 7 years ago to present "Idiots & Angels" (if my memory is right) and I had a blast.  So, those wonderful memories brought me back.  And, truthfully, it's one of my favorite destinations - the beautiful baroque architecture and decorative tile buildings are such a joy to behold.  Also, I loved swimming on the beach and eating fresh cooked fish in the sun, then going back into the water.

But the coolest aspect of the Monstra Festival was the terrific audience. They're quite knowledgeable about animation and they love to laugh.  For those reasons, I give the Monstra Festival an "A" - be sure to send your film there! 

--Bill Plympton

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