A portrait of Richard Thompson, the “cartoonist’s cartoonist”:
In an interview with Michael Cavna, filmmaker Andy Hemmendinger explains what motivated his tribute:
MICHAEL CAVNA: Congratulations on the beautiful documentary, guys. When did you first discover Richard’s work, and what inspired you to make this film?
ANDY HEMMENDINGER: Richard has been a friend and neighbor of mine for the last 15-plus years. I enjoyed his sense of humor from the beginning, and while I knew he did illustrations and cartoons, I’d never seen any of his work. One day, a friend of mine called up and said that he’d made fun of my last name in a cartoon that he’d done. After that, I started paying attention to his work.
I loved his sense of humor and began to read him regularly, especially when “Cul De Sac” started. It did surprise me that not everyone knew who he was, though. This past spring, I was visiting Richard and saw a self-portrait he’d drawn in which he was a chick that had just hatched. That image really struck me. It made me think of the endless hours he’d spent staring at a blank piece of paper, waiting for ideas to strike. Like staring at the inside of the egg. And now it wasn’t the lack of ideas that constrained him, but the Parkinson’s. [Ed. note: Thompson retired “Cul de Sac” in 2012 to battle his Parkinson’s disease.]
Between the combination of this mental image and wanting … other people to enjoy his work as much as we did, we decided to make a film.