Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Footprints storyboard Part 4

Here's Part 4 of the rough storyboards for my upcoming animated short "Footprints" 



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Degenerate Art at Neue Galerie

I've been a frequent visitor to the wonderful Neue Galerie (gallery for German and Austrian art) and have always enjoyed their shows and made many discoveries.  But as much as I've loved their shows, there's never been any kind of excitement in any of their exhibition.

However, their new show is taking over New York like a blitzkrieg.  It's called "Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937". 

There are two parts to this show - the first is the art that Hitler and the Nazis felt was degenerate, like Kandinsky, Otto Dix, George Grasz, Paul Klee and others.  The second part is Hitler's favorite art - and it's very enlightening to see the two styles side by side.  There were some wonderful revelations I had based on the work of artists like Ernest Bulbach, Emile Noble and Felix Nussbaum.

But the most curious thing to me was that a couple of the works by Nazi-accepted artists were quite nice.  It was very commercial, of course.  It could have been done by Norman Rockwell or NC Wyeth.  I liked it because it told a story, and technically the draftsmanship was excellent.  Very populist.

In fact, I found some of the "accepted" art more engaging than the banned art.  But for me, the coolest thing was the exposing of the Nazi regime's whole idea that artwork deemed not acceptable to the Fuehrer should be slandered and destroyed, and the artists responsible should either be forced to emigrate, or be killed.

And since I'm now working on a film about Hitler - and many people tell me that it's box-office poison to do that, I'm delighted to see how the name "Hitler" brings in mobs of people.  I believe that audiences love to see evil and sinister personalities, and that's why I believe my "Hitler" documentary will be a success.

Every time I do a show, people ask me what my next project will be.  I tell them about the Hitler film and the audience becomes fascinated, and they persist in asking questions about the upcoming film. 

So, if you live in the NYC area, definitely check out the Degenerate Art exhibition.  I give it an A-, but only because the show is too small.

Bill P.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Stuttgart Animation Festival

After the Paris premiere of "Cheatin'" ("Les Amants Electriques"), I went to the famed Stuttgart Trickfilm Festival, where I saw a lot of old friends, and also saw some great films - but the main reason I was there was to present the German premiere of "Cheatin'".

It was a rousing success - two jam-packed audiences, and prolonged applause (which I always love).  I had to suppress the applause or I wouldn't have had time to sign autographs and introduce the next show -

Also, while I was there I met with my good friend, Andreas Hykade, who did some live-action acting for my next mockumentary feature.  But for now, it's a secret - I'll make an announcement soon.  By the way, Andreas is a great actor.

Andreas Hykade with Bill (photo from Annecy, 2009)

I give the Stuttgart festival an A-.  The minus is because "Cheatin'" didn't win the big prize.  That went to "Garden of Word", a Japanimation film.  I talked to one of the judges and asked why "Cheatin'" didn't win - he said that it had too much sex and violence.  Yeah!! If I'm going to lose a prize, that's a great reason why.

--Bill P.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Footprints storyboard Part 3

Here's part 3 of the rough storyboards from my upcoming short "Footprints" - 

I hope these make sense to everybody!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Paris Premiere

Thanks to E.D. Distribution, my films have been very popular in France.  I'm kind of like the Jerry Lewis of animation there.  And since I needed CHEATIN' (or as they call it over there, "Les Amants Electriques") to be a big international success in order to get a better U.S. release, I decided to make an appearance in Paris for the premiere.

As I entered E.D.'s office, I was handed a large stack of magazines with rave reviews and generous articles about my film.  I think it was the best press I've every enjoyed for any of my films.  The next night, as I went to the premiere, I expected lines around the block, searchlights, riots and the gendarmes trying to control things - and it seems I always have that fantasy.

Yes, there were a few autograph seekers and hints of a big premiere event, but the theater just barely was packed.  The good news was the terrific applause at the end of the film and the wonderful unsolicited comments from the audience.

Also, strangely, films open in France on Wednesdays, so maybe over the weekend they had the searchlights, lines around the block, the riots and the gendarmes.  The feature is opening in many cinemas around the country, so I hope to reap a rich harvest of press and box office.

I'll keep you updated.

--Bill P.

                                              Hanging out with Serge Bromberg in Paris.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kodak's Eastman House gala

For most of my film career, since 1985, the cost of making a short of feature was extremely expensive.  Up to 40% up my budgets would go toward film-related costs - rostrum camera, film stock, processing, negative cutting, etc.  Plus, shipping big, heavy film reels was ultra-expensive. 

Since the digital revolution, I now spend only a small fraction of my budget on making digital prints.  I can now spend that extra money on other things, on making a better movie. 

However, becaues of this major shift in film production, the Kodak company is just a shell of its former self, and almost went into bankruptcy. 

Three years ago, I was asked to come up to Rochester, home of Eastman Kodak, and present my feature "Idiots and Angels" at the prestigious George Eastman House.  They were really great to me, they gave me a tour of the museum and the famous archives.

So, last year, when I decided to clear away all of my old 35mm and 16mm prints, I called the archives at the Eastman House and decided to store my prints in their highly-professional film vaults for safekeeping. 

This week, they had a fund raiser in NYC to get the firm on a more stable financial footing, and I was asked to be a presenter.  I didn't know what to expect - would it be a room full of geeky film archivists and rich financial tycoons? 

On the contrary - I discovered a number of my old friends.  Leonard Maltin was there to get a Lifetime prize, as was Alexander Payne ("Nebraska") who we hung out with last year at Telluride.   I sat next to Steven Soderbergh - he was very preoccupied with something, maybe his new film.  He dashed out after his speech before I could talk to him.

Then, I spotted my old friend, Paul Giamatti - 10 years ago, he did the voice for one of my favorite shorts, "The Fan and the Flower", and since then he has shot to fame and stardom (no doubt from his appearance in one of my films...)  He was very friendly, and we talked about old times and how he originally wanted to be an animator in Seattle, but got into the acting profession instead and never looked back.

I was very happy to help out the George Eastman House.  They're a great organization, and I wish them the greatest success.  If you're ever in Rochester, please visit the museum.  I give the museum an A+.

--Bill P.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Footprints storyboard Part 2

Here's part 2 of the rough storyboards from my upcoming short "Footprints" - 


Friday, May 2, 2014


Now that "CHEATIN'" is done, and doing very well in France, I've moved on to some new projects, like "Hitler's Folly" and "Revengeance".  But in-between, I have time to create a new short film called "Footprints".  I love the concept (story) so I want to make the animation very cool - I'm drawing with a ballpoint pen and it looks great!

Unlike Disney or Pixar, I don't hide my new projects or keep the process super secret, I want to share my projects with my fans and animation students -

So, I'm going to do something I've never done before - I'm going to show my rough storyboards, and then after I exhibit those I will show you the finished storyboards, so you can see the way I create.

So here's the first part of the preliminary storyboard - enjoy!