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Vanessa McMahon


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Interview with PSIAF Animation Festival Director Brian Neil Hoff

Brian Neil Hoff   

Brian Neil Hoff is the founder and festival director of the Palm Springs International Animation Festival (http://www.psiaf.org/home.html), the first edition of which is set to take place post AFM from November 9-11, 2017. Hoff has been working in animation for the last fifteen years and is a teacher/mentor of animation at the Palm Springs High School. He began the works for the PSIAF in 2009 and has now created a snowball effect with over 2,000 film submissions and a growing professional industry guest list for its upcoming debut. PSIAF made its first public announcement at Animation Day in Cannes, 2017.

I interviewed Brian about his vision for the upcoming festival and his love for animation. See below:



You have been working with animation for over a decade. Can you speak about your love and work with animation?

BRIAN: Animation is an art form that has the ability to transform, educate, inform and inspire a new world of storytelling with unlimited possibilities. The process can take years and you need to have the
patience to see your project come to life. I began developing the characters in my animated project "Secret Agent 00K9" after witnessing my dog spying on the neighbor house when he was a puppy. I was inspired by Cosmo and continue developing it because of him. Animation is one of the hardest art forms but when you can see it on the screen it's all worth the time you've dedicated.



What were the animation films that inspired you the most growing up?

BRIAN: I grew up in the 80's and loved movies like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Heavy Metal." I also loved Saturday morning cartoons with cereal and milk!



You mentor students in animation at Palm Springs High School. What has this experience been like?

BRIAN: I've truly enjoyed mentoring the students in animation at the high school and it has been amazing to be able to share my experience with them as they graduate and move onto college. The skills they're learning will help them as they go into creative fields of work. I also feel like I'm doing something special for them that will last for many years. I look forward to seeing them 10 years from now!



Why do you think animation is so important a medium for not just kids but adults too?

BRIAN: Animation allows the viewer to go into a fantasy world with elements they can relate to. The stories and visuals are evolving as technology catches up to the times more animation is build for young and older audiences. It think it's important for animated films to have elements that both young and old can get something from. Adults are starting to enjoy the films as the script and visuals are becoming more and more interesting.



Do you think the potential for animation is just at its beginning in the digital age?

BRIAN: Yes. I think we're just seeing a wave of new styles and concepts that open a new window to the possibilities. It think the partnership with Barco/Dolby is amazing when you combine the state of the art laser projection system with the incredible sound of Dolby.



Do you think VR will add to or take away from animation?

BRIAN: I think it's another interesting platform for delivering the content but I've always enjoyed watching films on a large TV or theater but the experience is worth having with VR and I can see this expanding in technology trends.



You are engineering the first ever Palm Springs International Animation Fest. Can you speak about what made you decide that US needs a film festival devoted to only to animation?

BRIAN: I have been a longtime fan of animation and the dedication it takes to completing a film or
series. I have felt that animation is one of the most amazing art forms but has gone unnoticed in the awards circuits. It seems to get lost in the Oscar season so I decided I would create an animated film
festival that would celebrate the genre on a grand scale.



The creation of this festival has been a painstaking journey. How did it all begin?

BRIAN: I began working on PSIAF (The 1st Annual Palm Springs International Animation Festival in 2009 after having been a volunteer at the PSIFF event several years and had always wanted to launch it. I began mentoring students at Palm Springs High School and in the process developed PSHS Animation LAB where students could learn animation. During the year the school guidance councilor suggested I start the festival and recruit students to participate. Since I had already been working on the festival it seemed like a great time to launch it.



What are your hopes for this festival?

BRIAN: My hope and goal is to screen the greatest animated film every year in November before the
bigger award season kicks on in the new year. I would love to see this grow into one of the most celebrated animation festivals in the world showcasing award winning films and merging talent from around the world.



What kinds of animation is the festival looking for and when will the festival take place? 

BRIAN: PSIAF is currently open for submissions and will be held in sunny Palm Springs from November 9-11th, 2017. We're looking for films that captivate or inspire. There are no rules, except to have a story even if you're using objects from the garage or creating fun stop motion characters or 3D
characters. Ultimately, the story and the character development is what we're looking for along with a visually interesting unique presentation. Currently we're seeking more feature film submissions. Follow the links below to submit your films!

Official Palm Springs International Animation Festival Website :
www.psiaf.org

Submit your film :
https://filmfreeway.com/festival/PSIAF

Secret Agent 00K9
Executive Producer
Brian Neil Hoff
http://www.00k9.com/

PSIAF in Cannes, 2017

Brian Neil Hoff with producer Max Karli at Annie Awards, 2017

Interview with Animator Brian Neil Hoff

Interview conducted and written by Vanessa McMahon 

 

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