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Have you had a lot of experiences with film festivals?
I’ve been to Sundance, Toronto and Deauville. They are so much fun, the only problem is when you have a movie there you’re so busy doing press you don’t have the time to see other films. If my schedule allows I’d love to come to the Sedona Film Festival.
Is this your first time in Sedona?
It is and I love it except I do have one complaint: I got carsick coming down 89A from Flagstaff. I don’t like all these windy roads! I’m such a baby. But the red rocks are beautiful – [my fiance and I] got some insane pictures.
Tell us about your favorite roles.
Definitely my favorite role of all time was The Practice. I was 17 when I got the job – still in high school – and those people were huge parts of my life. I loved everyone on the show and having the same place to go every day. Nothing has topped that yet. And I love doing TV. I’m a creature of habit so working with the same people, having the same place to go, working on the same character for a long period of time appeals to me.
Bill Plympton: Idiots and Angels
Animator Bill Plympton is no stranger to film festivals – he’ll be the first to admit they are one of the only places a large portion of the theater-going public ever see animated shorts and features. When Bill makes appearances at animation festivals, such as The Animation Show, filmmakers and audience members whisper excitedly about the “King of Indie Animation.” It’s a well-deserved moniker; Bill began working as an illustrator and cartoonist in the late 1960s (Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Vanity Fair and The New York Times have all published his work) and he made his first animated film, Boomtown, in 1983. In 1988 he received his first Academy Award nomination for his short Your Face and in 2005 he received his second nomination for the popular short Guard Dog, which has spawned several sequels, including one Bill’s working on right now called Horn Dog.
Bill’s 78-minute Idiots and Angels will be shown at the Sedona International Film Festival. The plot involves a man who wakes up with wings on his back – he’s not too pleased with the situation because the wings force an otherwise questionable character to do good deeds. There are no voices in the film, just music primarily from singer-song writer Tom Waits. Bill financed the film himself – something he’s gotten used to – and did all 25,000 drawings with pencil and paper (his staff of three colored the cells). It took Bill about a year to complete the film, which translates into 100 drawings per day. During the entire process an Internet camera captured Bill at work in real time – the process was broadcast live on Bill’s Website (the footage is still available), www.plymptoons.com, in order to “demystify the process of animation.” Bill says he set out to make Idiots and Angels for himself; he never expected the film would have such an impact on audiences.
“I made a film called Hair High with some big vocal talents – David and Keith Carradine, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Silverman – and it cost me half-million dollars to make,” says Bill from his studio in New York. “Well, it wasn’t a big success and I was really frustrated. I decided I wanted to make a tiny film, just black and white with pencils and maybe two or three characters. I was making it for myself – I wanted to be indulgent. Much to my surprise, everyone loves the film.”