Monday, April 29, 2019

The Simpsons 30th Anniversary panel

On Friday, my buddy Jeff Jaworski e-mailed me and said he had an extra ticket to a panel and screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, which would celebrate the 30th Anniversary of "The Simpsons" premiering on Fox TV, and he wanted to know if I would like to go.  At the time, I was out in Montauk, celebrating my upcoming birthday, but I said, "Hell, yes!" and I caught the next bus back to Manhattan.

Jeff, being a true Simpsons fan, was already waiting at the head of the line.  Just as I got there Matt Groening and Simpsons producer Al Jean arrived in a limo, to loud applause.  They didn't see me, because I was surrounded by so many rabid Simpsons fans.

After another half-hour in the cold, they finally let us in and first up were two classic episodes of "The Simpsons".  Then the panel began - in addition to Matt and Al there Harry Shearer (who had performed the night before in "Spinal Tap") and James L. Brooks, originator and executive producer, and the Q&A was moderated by Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson).

To my surprise, Al Jean was aware of my presence and pointed me out in the crowd.  I took a bow to modest applause - and because of that, Matt Groening became aware of my presence, and invited me backstage for the private party after.  There, I was able to chat with Matt, my old Oregon buddy, and Al Jean.  And they introduced me to Yeardley Smith and the great James L. Brooks, one of my epic heroes of television.

with Yeardley Smith and James L. Brooks
Then I met Harry Shearer, and we got in a very nice conversation - apparently, he knew who I was, which always surprises me.  So I told him that "This Is Spinal Tap" is my all-time favorite film, which is totally true, and he seemed happy to hear that.  Then we talked about how the band's British accents were totally accepted and loved in England.  I should have mentioned my film "Hitler's Folly" since he loves mockumentaries - but I didn't want to keep him from his other fans.

with Matt Groening and Harry Shearer
Then, since I had been on the bus all day, coming back from Montauk, and hadn't eaten, I stuffed myself with the green room snacks, like a total freeloader.  I just wish they had had some large round lunchmeat slices to go with the too-tiny bread slices!

Happy 30th Anniversary, Simpsons!

On another topic, I just found out that my "Trump Bites" series won a Webby, for best internet animation series - very cool!  And since no one watches movies any more, except on the internet, I guess this is better than an Oscar!

I want to thank everybody who voted for "Trump Bites", this is a great honor.  By the way, I'm not going to the gala awards ceremony, since the tickets cost $450!  I'll watch it on TV, or maybe on the internet.

Enjoy this week's cartoon!  Catch you next week -

Bill P.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Florida Film Festival & DisneyWorld

I've been going to the Florida Film Festival for almost 20 years now, and this year, my son Lucas - who's six years old, just the right age for Disney World - decided to tag along.

When I told him about Disney World, he wasn't that interested at first - all he asked was, "Can I have some cotton candy there?"  For some reason, he's one of the few kids on the planet who's not obsessed with Disney characters - but off we went to Orlando.

The Florida Film Festival is as great as ever.  Matthew Curtis, head programmer of the festival, always has a lively and unorthodox group of films lined up.  One film, "Buzzer", was animated with dead flies.  Another hit was "Prison Zoo" by Alix Lambert, a stop-motion story about a fennec fox in prision.  Very funny!  I showed my new short "Sex & Violence III", which got very loud laughter.

What's great about the Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater is the warmth and personality of the festival, everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable.

On Friday, we took Lucas to DisneyWorld, and as soon as I walked into the Magic Kingdom, I felt like I was 10 years old again - I was actually skipping!  I wanted to go on all the rides.  The last time I went to DisneyLand in CA was 40 years ago, and I'd never been to DisneyWorld in Orlando.  So we tried to enjoy as many rides and attractions as possible.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was exciting, the It's a Small World ride (designed by Mary Blair) was very inspiring, the "Monsters, Inc." ride was very funny, and the Peter Pan ride was uplifting.  Disney's "Carousel of Progress", however, was totally boring - but we needed to be inside because of a sudden rain storm.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
The best was Splash Mountain, for several reasons - first it's based on some of my favorite characters, Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear from "Song of the South".  Then it was a super-exciting roller-coaster ride through that animated world - then it turns into a splash ride in boats, what a gas.

The "Song of the South" characters outside Splash Mountain
The water-ride part of Splash Mountain
The amazing thing to me is how professional and smooth the whole Disney World operation is, I never once was bored.  And it really is a testament to the genius of Walt Disney and his Imagineers.  I believe Walt was the greatest entertainer of the 20th Century and his work will probably dominate the 21st, too.  Hell, maybe I should start to construct "Plympton World".

See you next week -

Bill P.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

"Pour 585" animated short by Patrick Smith..

My 2018 short film "Pour 585" was released online yesterday, after an extensive year of festival screenings, please check it out and let me know what you think. It's always nice to see a film land in it's final resting place.  Great review by from Anthony L Tjandra..

"It’s been quite rare to see a short film that is entirely 2D animated in a hand drawn fashion that is similar to older cartoons in the 90s. But makes no mistake, Pour 585 is a modern short film that tackles one of the current era’s issues as its moral lesson."

What can I say? I'm a product of the 90's!

"Pour 585" was animated last year over the course of 2 months, every day for 10 hours.  Quickest film I've ever done. More info is available on the vimeo page, or my website Thanks for watching!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Cartoons on the Bay, Torino, Italy

I was very happy to be invited to the Cartoons on the Bay Festival last week to receive the prestigious Pulcinella Award for lifetime achievement.  Also receiving an award was the great Michel Ocelot.

Receiving the Pulcinella Award
Unfortunately, the weather was wet and rainy, but happily, this helped make my Master Class a big hit.  I had a packed, standing-room-only audience.

Lucca Raffaeli, the famed animation and comics historian, took a few of us VIPs, including my Italian producer friend, Marco Milone, to the famed Museum of Cinema, just a few blocks from our hotel.  It is a spectacular piece of architecture, very similar to the Eiffel Tower.

The tower part is called "The Mole Antonelliana", which was a decorative structure build on top of the original Jewish temple in 1877.  It's quite remarkable, because the whole inside of the structure is hollow, so you can see up to the very top.  In fact, they have a free-hanging elevator that takes you up to the top for a magnificent view.  Then, like the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, you can walk along a spiral path down to the bottom, looking at an exhibition called "Comics to Film", with pieces from Winsor McKay and Tim Burton's "Batman".

They have quite an extensive exhibition on the pre-history of cinema and then the very early years of cinema - Edison, Méliès, Lumiere.  They say it's the largest museum of cinema anywhere in the world.  In fact, Torino was where Italian cinema production began and it's still a center for filmmaking.

With the great animator Bruno Bozzetto!

The name of this film festival doesn't make much sense, because there is no bay nearby - Torino is right next to the Alps.  However, the festival began years ago in the beautiful harbor village of Positano - but they eventually moved it to Torino because of the cinematic history of the town.

I want to thank RAI TV and the entire staff at the Cartoons on the Bay festival for a great time.

If you have a new film that you want to show at a festival, definitely submit it to Cartoons on the Bay!  Enjoy this week's gag cartoon, and I'll talk to you next week!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Webbies

They're back again, and I can't get rid of them - the BOTS!

I just learned that my "Trump Bites" series has been nominated for a Webby Award - and these days, since the internet seems to be where most people get their news and entertainment, that's pretty important.  So my thanks to the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

By the way, I think it's very cool to be nominated - I can add it to my list of awards, like my Cannes Jury Prize, two Oscar nominations, Emmy nomination and Pulitzer Prize nomination - Wow, that's like the Full Monty.

In fact, "Trump Bites" is nominated for TWO Webby Awards, because it's nominated in the category of Video: Video Series & Channels: Animation, and also there is a Webby People's Voice Award, selected by the voting public.  Winning either one is a mark of internet excellence, and would also allow me to attend the star-studded awards gala, held on May 13 in NYC.  So I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the voting - the winners will be announced on April 23.

If you want to take part in the voting, and I encourage you to support my battle against Trump, please vote for my series "Trump Bites" (co-produced with 110th Street Films), by going to:

Voting is open until Thursday, April 18 at 11:59 pm. So please vote for "Trump Bites" in the category of Video: Animation

However, there's a serious downside - to represent the series on their site, the Webby Awards chose a still of Trump on a date with Putin.  As you may know, when that "Trump Bites" short originally played on the New York Times site, this activist started a campaign to smear my name and call me out as an alleged homophobe.  Naturally, all the Trump fans and Russian Bots all piled on with hundreds of threatening e-mails and messages -

Of course, now it's happened again.  Apparently the activist is back and now his re-tweet of our tweet is getting hundreds of hate messages in response.  And some of them have bad language and syntax mistakes, so it's obvious that a lot of them come from fake accounts overseas.  Or maybe just high-school kids.

In a way, it's kind of thrilling - to have a lot of responses, positive OR negative, is always the goal of a political cartoonist.  When I did my political cartoon strip in the 1970's and 80's, I'd be lucky to get one comment a week.  So to have this kind of response, even if most of it is negative, is such a compliment to my artwork.

So, if you want to support my battle against Trump and the Bots, please register to vote for the Webby Awards, and also the 2020 election, while you're at it.


Bill P.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Gun Shop" in Annecy..

Much to Bill's dismay, I've been working with object animation for the last year.  After my film "Pour 585" I needed a break and I was searching big time for a new way to convey ideas.  If you're attending Annecy this year, I hope you'll be able to see my first of several object animations "Gun Shop", and also say hi.