Don Hertzfeldt dominated conversation last week, but today, another stylistically audacious independent animator is making headlines. Bill Plympton has honed his craft for the better part of three decades, with his hand-drawn shorts first gaining in popularity during MTV’s mid-’80s early murmurings. More recently, a characteristically surreal short from Plympton made for a highlight in the otherwise uneven horror anthology The ABCs of Death 2. But the man has proven himself no less comfortable in the realm of features, turning around a half-dozen full-length films during his career. The most recent, Cheatin’, premiered just last week. In his review of the film, our Mike D’Angelo spoke positively: “Cheatin’… is a fairly simple, nutty tale of marital infidelity, but Plympton manages to keep it lively with one stunningly kinetic setpiece after another, many of which could easily be airlifted out of the picture to function as stand-alone shorts.”
Good news for viewers passionate about Plympton, simple nuttiness, or stunning kineticism: The animator has already set the wheels a-turning for his follow-up. The film has already been bestowed with the incredible title Revengeance, and Plympton has outlined the film’s details on its Kickstarter page. (As he did with Cheatin’, Plympton has turned to the alternate revenue streams of the Internet in order to retain creative control over his work.)
“REVENGEANCE tells the story of a low-rent bounty hunter (named Rod Rosse, The One Man Posse) who gets entangled in a web of seedy danger when he takes on a job from an ex-biker/ex-wrestler turned U.S. senator named ‘Deathface.’ Rod has to find what was stolen from the senator and find the girl who stole it. Soon, Rosse finds there’s more than meets the eye to this dirty job. Between the ruthless biker gangs, the blood thirsty cults, and the crooked cops - Rod Rosse is a marked man. If the bullets don’t kill him - the California sun just might!”
Revengeance also marks Plympton’s first collaboration with a creative partner. On the Kickstarter page, he recounts how a fellow animator named Jim Lujan handed him a demo disc and found a kindred spirit. The two likeminded artists have name-dropped Inherent Vice and The Big Lebowski as inspirations for Revengeance, which further stokes the flames of anticipation for this film. Plympton’s a notoriously quick worker, so it shouldn’t be too long before the film scrapes together its budgetary goals. It’s something of an inspiring story; with enough talent and hard work, there’s nothing stopping an enterprising artist from staying successful for decades, all without conceding to larger institutional impositions.