Friday, September 24, 2021

Demi's Panic premiere

As most of you know, I've been working on a short film called "Demi's Panic", written and produced by Danny Leonard and co-produced by Lorena Hern├índez Leonard.  Well, now it's done and I love this film!  I honestly believe it's the best short film I've ever created.  We entered it into a bunch of festivals, and the first U.S. festival to screen the film is the HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles, the screening is actually TODAY, Friday September 24 in their Adult Animation program.  The festival is also screening films on the BitPix platform, honestly I don't know how any of the streaming stuff works these days, but if you can figure it out, please visit the HollyShorts web-site for more details.

And we got a GREAT quote from film critic Jeffrey Lyons of WCBS Radio, who had this to say about "Demi's Panic": "Witty and intelligent, charming and poignant, 'Demi's Panic' is a relevant wake-up call in these pandemic times. Bill Plympton's animation is stark and effective with his usual trademark gift of quickly advancing the story.  Producer/Screenwriter Danny Leonard has, in fewer than 10 minutes, made a short film which is a must-see experience."

WOW, what a great quote!  And it got me thinking, I love the film so much that I felt it should definitely be a contender for the Oscars, my office manager John H. has been entering it into Oscar-qualifying festivals like HollyShorts - that means that if the film is in one of those festivals and wins the "Best Animation" or "Best Short" award, it's automatically qualified for the Oscars, and we wouldn't have to set up a week-long screening in L.A. or NYC to qualify it.  But unfortunately after taking a closer look at the Academy's rules, we found out last week that the deadline for Oscar qualification this year is October 1 - meaning any festival award or screening would have to happen before that.  (It's very weird, they'll let a feature film open on Christmas and still qualify for that year, but for a short, October 1 is the deadline.)

Whoops, we're screwed - how are we going to get "Demi's Panic" qualified in just a week and a half?  Some of the qualifying festivals where we entered it weren't even screening until February or April 2022, and that would mean qualifying for NEXT year's Oscars, not THIS year's - and that wasn't even a sure thing, that we could win any of the qualifying festival awards.  I couldn't wait until next year, because the main topic of the film, the COVID-19 pandemic, is relevant NOW and by next year, hopefully, it could be long gone.  

So I made some crazy phone calls to all the cinemas I know in Los Angeles and New York, places where I've made appearances or have screened my films, places where I know the theater manager or programmer.  Some said that their line-up was already locked in, and that they had no room for a 10-minute short.  We should have contacted them two weeks ago, sure, but we'd just barely finished the film then!  One theater said they would love to show my film....for $2,000.  Sorry, we don't have that kind of budget to pay for a screening.   

Oh, boy, that night, I hardly slept at all.  I worked so hard on "Demi's Panic" and I felt it was so good that it deserves to have a shot at the Oscars, this year when it's still very relevant.  All that work and no big payoff?  But, the next day, I received an e-mail from the Roxie Theater in San Francisco - and this year the Academy is allowing qualifying screenings in any of six metropolitan areas (NYC, L.A., Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco/Bay Area).  Rick Norris at the Roxie saw the short and thought it was amazing, and said they'd love to fit it into their schedule.  Hooray!  We may be able to qualify the film for the Oscars after all!  

What a miracle, but we still had to get them a DCP and promotional material right away.  Thankfully, we had just made a DCP for the HollyShorts screening, through Simple DCP in L.A., and they had just given us a download link, so the staff at the Roxie was able to download the film and put the DCP on their servers that same day, and the whole arrangement came together on very short notice.  

A little background here, The Roxie is a wonderful independent theater in San Francisco, located at 3117 16th St.  I was there in person in 2013 when I went "on tour" with my animated feature, "Cheatin'" and I had a great time there.  So I'm really excited to announce that starting today, September 24, the Roxie will be hosting the World Theatrical Premiere of "Demi's Panic", and they'll be playing this short before select screenings of the following feature films:

Friday, September 24 before "Prisoners of the Ghostland" (the new Nicolas Cage film) at 9 pm.

Saturday, September 25 before "Prisoners of the Ghostland" at 8:45 pm

Sunday, September 26 before "The Nowhere Inn", with St. Vincent and Carrie Brownstein, at 4:15 pm

Monday, September 27 before "Blue Velvet" (the 35th anniversary edition) at 8:45 pm

Tuesday, September 28 before "Blue Velvet" at 9 pm

Wednesday, September 29 before "The Nowhere Inn" at 9 pm

Thursday, September 30 before "Blue Velvet" at 9:15 pm.

For more information and tickets, please visit:

So please tell ALL your friends and family in San Francisco to go to the Roxie this week and check out "Demi's Panic" - You can see a great feature film, support an independent theater, and then seeing my new short is really just a bonus on top of that, right?  And then if "Demi's Panic" makes it to the Oscars, you can say, "Hey, I saw that cool film first at the Roxie!"

I thank you for your support, as always.  Now here's this week's gag cartoon.  

--Bill P.