Being from Oregon, I thought it would be very cool to have the U.S. film festival premiere of "Revengeance", co-directed by Jim Lujan and myself, at the Portland International Film Festival.
I was very excited to be with my family and friends from the Portland area to show them what I'd been working on for the last three years.
The great LAIKA Studios (whose feature "Kubo and the Two Strings" is up for an Oscar this year) helped to sponsor the show - they flew me to Portland and got me a room at the fanciest hotel in Portland - first class, all the way.
Jim Lujan and his wife, Leann, decided to drive up from L.A. to experience Portland - unfortunately, that was the weekend of the worst storm in California in years - so they spent most of the drive dodging fallen trees, landslides and flooding rivers. I gave up my hotel room and stayed with my sister so they'd have a place to recover from all that.
Once in Portland, though, they experienced the warmth and charm of the city. Our first screening was at the classic Laurelhurst Theater - we had a full house and the audience laughed throughout the film, even though they weren't necessarily all our usual core audience.
"Revengeance" is really targeted at a younger crowd, maybe 16-30, and the Portland Festival is usually an older crowd, used to some very sophisticated films. So it was very satisfying to learn that our film appeals to all viewers (though, still not suitable for children...)
It was fun to do the Q&A, because I was the straight man, talking about the history and creative process, and Jim was the comic relief. You could call us the "Abbott and Costello" of animation.
There was a second screening on Sunday, 2/19, at the Whitsell Auditorium, which is inside the Portland Art Museum.
From here, the film goes on to other festivals around the country (it's already playing at festivals internationally) and then it opens commercially in France in early April. So, if you know anyone who wants to help distribute a kick-ass film in the U.S., please contact me.