Bill Plympton

Check out the @nytimes review of #HSFFAlum @plymptoons #Cheatin by @aoscott

Review: ‘Cheatin’ ’ Conjures a Lusty Film-Noir Dreamscape

By A. O. SCOTTAPRIL 2, 2015

Continue reading the main story

Share This Page

Cheatin,’ ” the latest feature from the feverishly crosshatched imagination of the animator Bill Plympton, is a pulpy, sex-addled opera rendered in fleet penciled lines and watercolor washes. Mr. Plympton’s unmistakable style — the scrunched-up faces and elongated bodies, the figures that mutate as well as move, the volatile blending of the sensual and the grotesque — is pressed into the service of a lurid, lusty story that takes place in a colorful film-noir dreamscape.

Continue reading the main story


Cheatin'APRIL 3, 2015

Bursting with sound but devoid of intelligible dialogue, “Cheatin’ ” chronicles a couple, Jake and Ella, from first meeting to marital crisis. The opening sequence, which in some ways the movie never tops, follows Ella through a crowded carnival. Her lissome gait and bright yellow hat attract admiring attention that turns to mockery and hostility when she ignores it, preferring to read a book. Ella’s humiliation is one of the film’s motifs. She is a blameless soul brought down repeatedly by the reflexive aggression of others.

At first these others are mostly men, the exception being Jake. While on a date with someone else, he rescues Ella from a bumper-car mishap, and at first touch both are smitten. There follows a period of hot-and-heavy marital bliss (the soundtrack fills with moans and sighs and creaking bedsprings) and an old-fashioned household arrangement. Jake goes off to work at a gas station, while Ella stays home with the laundry, the dishes and her libido.

She has eyes only for her husband, who is drawn with a massive rib cage, a skeletal waist and a face like a Brancusi sculpture. Plenty of other women like his looks too, though, including an exhibitionist neighbor and a slinky-hipped customer. He ignores them all, until …

But see for yourself. After a graceful, wonderfully simple beginning, the story grows a bit tangled. There are a retired stage magician, a killer for hire, a series of sordid encounters in a motel room, an incriminating photograph, a wayward chicken. There is also a rawness and intensity of emotion unusual in a cartoon. The music (an urgent, passionate score byNicole Renaud, supplemented by snippets of Verdi, Ravel and others) creates a sustained melodramatic swoon that is enhanced rather than undermined by the exaggerated designs.

As always with Mr. Plympton, the plot serves as a scaffolding for the visual inventions. Like every other great animator, from Chuck Jones to Hayao Miyazaki, Mr. Plympton rewrites the laws of physics at will, but within a rigorous and coherent logic. He conjures a world of absolute improbability that, somehow, makes perfect sense.


Opens on Friday

Written, directed and animated by Bill Plympton; edited by Kevin Palmer; music by Nicole Renaud; art direction by Lindsay Woods; produced by Mr. Plympton and Desiree Stavracos; released by Plymptoons. Running time: 1 hour 16 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH THE VOICES OF: Sophia Takal (Ella), Jeremy Baumann (Jake/Carnival Barker), Alex Markowitz (Assassin), Sita Steele (Floozy/Vanna) and Jacob Steele (El Merto/Police Chief).

A version of this review appears in print on April 3, 2015, on page C6 of the New York edition with the headline: A Lusty Dreamscape Blends the Sensual and the Grotesque. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe


Honoring Bill Plympton with Indie Animation Icon Award

King of Indie Animation Bill Plympton Set To Receive Indie

Animation Icon Award During HollyShorts Opening Night

Celebration and Present His New Short Film Footprints

Hollywood July xx, 2014—The King of Indie Animation Bill Plympton will

be a headliner at the upcoming 10th

night celebration on Thursday August 14, 2014 where he will be the recipient of

the festival’s Indie Animation Icon Award. Plympton will also premiere his new

short film Footprints and show footage from his upcoming animated feature film

Cheatin’ which is receiving a one week theatrical run in Los Angeles on Friday

August 15. The HollyShorts Film Festival’s opening night celebration takes place

at the TCL Chinese Theater and will be hosted by Erin Darling (AMC’s Movie

Talk). The festival runs August 14-23 at the TCL Chinese Theater and Roosevelt


For his latest feature Cheatin’ Plympton personally hand-drew the 40,000 frames,

and created a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $100,000 to help

finance the production of the film.

HollyShorts has raised the stakes on its Animation category for this year’s

festival. In addition to the Plympton Award, the festival recently announced that

Oscar winner and animation icon Joan C. Gratz and Arlene Klasky co-founder

of Klasky Csupo (Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys) are both serving on this year’s

jury for the Animation category.

HollyShorts has achieved records across the board. Starting with it’s famed

monthly screening series, which expanded beyond Los Angeles and into Miami,

Austin and New York, the festival received well over 1600 submissions for the

August mega-festival. The organizers have accepted and programed a fest

record 400 short movies. Filmmakers from Canada, France, Spain, Mexico, the

UK, Italy, Haiti, UK, Ireland, Israel, South Africa will transcend to Hollywood in the

coming weeks all for HollyShorts. Film schools such as USC, UCLA, Chapman,

Florida State, NYU, Columbia, Tisch Asia, NYFA and AFI are all represented with

official selections.

Annual HollyShorts Film Festival’s opening

HollyShorts is also awarding nearly $200,000 worth of production and

scholarship prizes. Company 3 is awarding $45,000 in Post-Production Services

including $15,000 for the Best Short, $10,000 For Best Director, $10,000 for

Best Cinematographer $5,000 For Best Music Video and $5,000 in Post services

for Best Commercial. Method Studios will award a $10,000 Post-Production

Services Prize for Best VFX. Latino Art Beat (LAB) and HollyShorts Youth

Film Competition celebrating young filmmakers’ will award the winning young

filmmaker a $40,000 scholarship prize to attend The School of the Museum

of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA). Sponsors also include UCLA Extension, NYFA,

ShortsHD among others.

HollyShorts tickets and the festival’s full schedule are currently available at

About Bill Plympton

Mr. Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation and is the first person to

hand draw an entire animated feature film. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon,

he graduated from Portland State University in Graphic Design. Bill Plympton

moved to New York City in 1968. He began his career creating cartoons for

publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.

In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short Your Face. In

2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for a short film Guard

Dog. Push Comes to Shove another short film, won the prestigious Cannes 1991

Palme d'Or. After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and

Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991 he’s made 10 feature

films, 7 of them, The Tune, Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person, Mutant

Aliens, Hair High and Idiots, Angels and Cheatin’ are all animated features.

About HollyShorts

HollyShorts Film Festival is an annual short film festival showcasing the best

and brightest short films from around the globe. HollyShorts is devoted to the

advancement of filmmakers through screenings, Q&A sessions and networking

events. The HollyShorts Film festival showcases the top short films produced 30-

minutes or less. For more information please

Fore more info on Bill Plympton, visit:

Follow Bill Plympton on Twitter @Plymptoons

Press Contact

Dumont Marketing Group

Theo Dumont