Monday, December 4, 2023

Spark in Vancouver, Future Film Festival in Italy, Los Angeles Animation Festival

Hello, everyone, once again I've been way too tardy in my correspondence.  I blame it all on the post-production for "Slide".  I must say the film is looking very wonderful - it's a completely new look for me, and it hearkens back to my early days in New York City as an illustrator.  Lots of pen and ink, cross-hatching - which means a lot of extra work, but does it end up looking great!!

Also, I'm beginning to get back into traveling, "Slide" is at a stage where I can show an almost-finished copy at festivals - so let's start with where I went last month.

I got invited to the Spark Animation Festival in Vancouver, BC, Canada, organized by Keith Blackburn.  I love this festival, Keith brings in a lot of the "creme de la creme" of animation stars.  Plus, Vancouver itself is home to many animation greats: David Fine, Allison Snowden, Danny Antonucci. Robert Valley

Bill with David Fine and Allison Snowden at Spark Animation Festival in Vancouver

And of course, the great Marv Newland - who, by the way, was the MC at my ceremonial Lifetime Achievement Award event.  I'm not an emotional guy - but as Marvelous Marv was reading his testimonial, I thought, "Here I am, getting such a prestigious award from my animation idol..." a tear came to my eye.  As a kid I never would have thought I would achieve so much. 

Marv Newland presents Bill Plympton with the Spark Animation Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

They also screened "Slide" in Vancouver - but to top off the whole experience, my hotel shower had a floor-to-ceiling window, open to the hotel across the street.  Now, I'm a big fan of outdoor showers, but this was a bit too close to indecent exposure! 

Next up was the Future Film Festival.  Now, I said "Yes" to both festivals and accidentally overbooked myself - and I neglected to look at the two itineraries side-by-side.  But when my office manager was putting both trips on my calendar, he saw that I was due back from Vancouver on November 14, and was also scheduled to fly to Italy on November 13.  Well, it turned out that between these two trips, my itinerary was impossible - you have to get BACK from one festival BEFORE you can leave for the next one.  John H. spotted the mistake right away and got in touch with the hospitality coordinator at Spark, and they graciously moved my flight by 24 hours so I could arrive at Newark Airport on Monday instead of Tuesday, wait a few hours and then catch the flight to Italy from the SAME airport.  Whew, that was a close one.  Thankfully the Spark Festival had given me an extra day in Vancouver to relax and enjoy their city, and I wish I could have taken advantage of that - maybe next time.  

So from lovely Vancouver I flew to Newark, and then to lovely Bologna, Italy for the Future Film Festival - they took over an old train station and remodeled it into a cinema complex - with lots of events, I had my Master Class on indie animation and of course, I showed "Slide" to a wonderful laugh-filled audience.  They had their own private kitchen and chef service and it was pasta all day long - but great pasta!   They also had built four great theaters to watch animation in - so it was like a 4-ring circus, always something great to watch.  

Back in New York City, Oscar season is beginning and so every week there are screenings of all the Oscar hopefuls.  I saw the new Miyazaki film, "The Boy and the Heron" and like almost all of Miyazaki's films, it was beautiful to look at but made no sense.  To me, there was just no sense of emotional arc or tempo or timing.  

I also got invited to see Disney's newest animated feature, "Wish" - about a princess and wishing on a star.  Frankly, I can't remember a whole lot about the film.  The story didn't make a whole lot of sense and I didn't laugh at all, but there were lots of references to earlier Disney films and wishing on a star.  I give it a C+.

Then I saw this film called "American Fiction" by Cord Jefferson, starring Jeffrey Wright and the beautiful Leslie Uggams.  It's actually a political film about the stereotyping of black films into brutal, poverty-ridden vulgar stories, as opposed to more middle-class ones.  But the way Cord told this story was full of humor and wit, it was a laugh riot.  I thoroughly enjoyed "American Fiction".  

But the really big news I want to chat about is the upcoming Los Angeles Animation Festival (L.A.A.F.) that's taking place on December 9-10, and there's a screening of "Slide" scheduled for Saturday, December 9 at 1 pm.  It's happening at the Jaxx Theater, 1089 North Oxford Avenue in L.A. and tickets are available here: 

And the whole schedule for the festival is here: 

I'll be there IN PERSON to talk about the new film and sign cards for everyone.  I also have a short film playing in that festival, it's called "Lipstick of the Brave" and it's a music video by an act called Tripping Jupiter, a tribute to the queer icons of rock and roll and movies, like David Bowie, Tim Curry, Marc Bolan and more.  That's playing in Program 4 on Sunday, December 10 at 1:35 pm at that same location - the Jaxx Theater on North Oxford Avenue.  

Please tell all your friends about this important event, you'll love it!  And now we're getting ready for some upcoming festivals: the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January, which is a very important industry festival, and then Slamdance, which is a little later in January.  And of course, I'll make appearances at both festivals, and I hope to see you there - please help spread the word!

Also, since it's the holiday season I wanted to remind everybody that I'm always selling DVDs of my animation, and they make great gifts!  Plus I sell caricatures in my web-store, and they ALSO make great gifts, you can see what you or somebody you care about would look like if you were characters in one of my cartoons!  I can draw couples or your whole family if you like!  For more details, please visit my web-store at:

ALSO, we're going to start up another art sale very soon, in case anyone wants to buy up any of my collectible animation drawings to give as Christmas or Hannukah gifts!  More info on this VERY soon, or you can just e-mail me for details on the sale.  It will be a lot like the other sales we've run in the past year, where art from "Your Face" or my "Simpsons" couch gags will be $300 plus postage, art from "How to Kiss" or "25 Ways to Quit Smoking" will be $200 plus postage, and art from any other films, drawn or cel, paint or pencil, will be $100 a piece.  You just have to name the film and we'll e-mail you some samples to choose from.  Don't wait, e-mail us NOW at if you want to get in on this deal and buy some signed art for your holiday gifts!

I've got some animated films with art that would make GREAT holiday gifts, like "12 Tiny Christmas Tales" or "Santa, the Fascist Years" - but if you just want to buy a piece of art from "The Tune" or "Mutant Aliens" that's great too, just let us know what you want to collect!  

ALSO ALSO, I wanted to remind everyone that we still need to raise a bit more money to get "Slide" properly promoted and entered into festivals.  It costs money to enter all the best festivals, some have high entry fees, and also we still need to cover the cost of making a DCP version of the film, because some festivals will ONLY screen the film in that format.  SO, if anyone is still inclined to donate, we've set up a donation page with a non-profit organization called Filmmakers Collaborative, so if you're looking to save some money on your 2023 taxes, you can donate to F.C. in December and then you can take a deduction on your taxes so you won't pay the IRS as much in April.  Look, I don't really understand how it works, but check with your accountant and see if you can get a tax break AND help me get "Slide" on DCP in time for next year's festivals.  I would really appreciate it, you can use this link to make a donation for "Slide" with Filmmakers Collaborative...

Thank you so much, for reading my blog and being a contributor or a supporter, making a donation or buying some art or something from my web-store!


Bill P.

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