A bunch of years ago - too many for me to remember - I was invited to a film festival in Italy run by Alessandro d'Urso. I don't remember much, except that I had a great time.
Well, just a few months ago, Alessandro contacted me again and that the Italian economy was shitty and the government was corrupt, and that he was very happy to be moving his Cortoons Festival to Spain. Gandia, to be exact, and he wanted to know if I would like to come. Well, I'm a big freak for Spain, and Gandia is a famous resort town on the Southern coast, near Valencia - I said, "Get me a ticket, I'm coming!"
I was met at the Valencia airport by Alessandro and two chicas (my guides) on a rainy afternoon last week, just before the festival's outdoor opening ceremonies, which obviously then needed to be moved to inside City Hall. It wasn't a great start for what was supposed to be a sun-drenched festival.
Alessandro's programming is unique, he only shows animation and it's not a competitive festival, it's only films that he loves. So I saw a great Betty Boop show, and a Tex Avery and Bob Clampett show. Plus the best cartoon shorts from around the world.
The other amazing thing is that the whole damn festival is free to the public. What? Free to the public? How does he do that? Is he some kind of rich film mogul? No, he says that he makes money doing photography work, and relies on a lot of volunteers. He's got a magnetic enthusiasm that just seems to draw people to his festival.
There was a night of Bill Plympton, with a shorts program and my feature film "Cheatin'" - then a Master Class on Saturday that was packed, even the mayor was there. That took place on my birthday, so I was really happy that so many people came out to the event.
A little bit of weird trivia, they put me up in the Hotel Borgia, right near the Borgia Castle, and I came to find out that the evil Borgia family started out in Spain before moving to Italy.
some caricatures from me. Glad they could make it!
By the way, after two days of cold and rain, the weather cleared up, and I was able to go swimming in the Mediterranean and eat seafood paella by the shore.
I give the Cortoons Festival a B+