July 17 2013
It's been nearly eight years since the 3,150th strip of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, a classic comic about the adventures of a lonely boy and his anthropomorphization of a stuffed tiger, ran in Sunday newspapers. But Milwaukee-born director Joel Allen Schroeder is here to fill that void with his new documentary about the cultural mainstay entitled Dear Mr. Watterson. The film is bound for theaters nationwide on November 15 after already making appearances at the Cleveland International, deadCENTER, Cinetopia, Chagrin Documentary, and Buffalo International Film Festivals, as well as taking home the Golden Badger award at this year's Wisconsin Film Festival.
This documentary happens to be another testament to the ability of crowdfunding to make proposed projects an uninhibited reality. After exceeding it's orginal Kickstarter goal of $12,000 by over 100% to get the film started, it went on to exceed it's second goal of $50,000 by almost 100% to place finishing touches upon the documentary, bringing in a grand total of $121,320 from the general public. With all of that money, Schroeder was able to secure interviews with the likes of Berke Breathed, Lee Salem, Stephan Pastis, Jef Mallett, Seth Green, Keith Knight, Jenny Robb, Jan Eliot, and Bill Amend just to name a few.
However, audiences will not witness an interview with Mr. Watterson himself and sneak a peak into his reclusive lifestyle. From the beginning, the film was not meant to be a puff piece, but an exploration and celebration of the art behind and impact of Calvin and Hobbes along with a search to answer why this simple strip became so meaningful in such a comparatively short amount of time and how it gave one man an undying legacy. It even touches on the artist's decision to forgoe heavy merchandising of the intellectual property despite the insane profit it would've brought in.
You can watch the trailer right here: