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NYCC2009: Bill Plympton's "Horn Dog," Fascist Santa, & New Feature "Jealousy"

Bill PlymptonIndependent animator Bill Plympton was on hand on Saturday afternoon at the 2009 New York Comic Con to screen several of his films for a welcoming audience, including the debut of his latest short film “Horn Dog,” the fourth in the “Dog” series of movies. The first movies he screened were a short biographical film about him made for the Sundance Channel and then the trailer for his latest feature film Idiots and Angels (read our interview with Plympton and our review of the movie). Plympton noted that Idiots and Angels (“one of the most fun projects I ever did”) just opened in France about 3 weeks ago to great reviews and great audiences. He added that he’s working on a distribution deal now that will hopefully lead to a release of the movie in the United States this summer.

Plympton also let the audience know that he’s starting on a new animated feature film now called Jealousy, about two lovers who are perfect for each other, but friction starts between the two and they end up trying to kill each other by the end of the film. He described it as “very dark” and similar to Idiots and Angels, and added that he had been actually working on the storyboards at his booth on the convention floor during slower moments. He said that the new movie will be a lot more trippy, “as though I took drugs every day.”

The next film screened was his contribution to a Japanese project about the Olympics, which would consist of a whole series of animated films about sports from around the world. In “The Luv Race,” three runners pursue a chase car driven in front of them, vying for the affections of the pretty girl that’s sitting in the back of the car with chocolates, serenades, and paintings. Bizarrely funny, but Plympton’s fans would be greatly disappointed if it wasn’t.

Next was the music video for Parson Brown’s “Mexican Standoff,” which he did almost a year ago. The original video cut in some live-action footage because Plympton had only had a week to do it and couldn’t finish the animation in time. However, when Plympton had some free time this past summer, he finished it on his own time. The song is supposedly about a menage a trois breaking up a relationship, though Plympton didn’t know that until after he finished the video, which features a woman in a tower with a cowboy and a biker fighting over her. He liked the exaggerated and stylized nature of the animation in the video, such as the buffalo with human faces observing in the background, and wanted to use a similar style for Jealousy.

The next film was either an extremely early or slightly late Christmas present: “Santa: The Fascist Years,” a short that was as mordantly funny as its title. Plympton said he did it when he had a free week over Thanksgiving, with the idea dating back to when he was doing print cartoons in the 1980′s. The short was a pseudo-newsreel with narration by Matthew Modine chronicling the brief reign of terror from the North Pole that occurred in the 1940′s and was largely whitewashed from history. Both “Mexican Standoff” and “Santa: The Fascist Years” should be available on iTunes, and the sales have surprised him. He thought the movie would be too specifically American, but it has racked up non-trivial sales in France, Japan, “and maybe even Germany.”

The last film screened for the attendees was “Horn Dog,” where Plympton’s well-meaning but thick cartoon dog falls in love and again proves to be his own worst enemy in achieving the object of his desires. It was a bit of an adventure for Plympton, since he hadn’t even seen the final movie himself. The sound for the movie had come in on Friday and the movie he screened at the panel was just the burned disc he found on his sound-editor’s desk that morning. He said it was still not quite finished, but that it was pretty close to done.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stick around for the Q&A section of the panel. Visit Plymptoons for more news and information about the works of Bill Plympton.

Return to Toon Zone News’ New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage Round-up

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