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Brian Neil Hoff, Palm Springs Animation Festival Founder and Artistic Director, will leave PSIAF at the end of January




The Palm Springs International Animation Festival (PSIAF) successfully launched 400 animated films on-line, and hosted drive-in, screening events with enthusiastic audiences throughout 2020.  The Covid-19 challenges have complicated events but offered creative opportunities for re-thinking directions, funding, and staffing.   Brian Neil Hoff, Founder and Artistic Director, will leave PSIAF at the end of January to pursue personal projects and taking time to be with family. Hoff has enjoyed many years with PSIAF and looks forward to future collaboration within the animation industry.


Hoff, as founder, originally launched his first festival in 2009 called The Backyard Film Festival in Palm Springs, California. Over time, and with moral support from Palm Springs folks, film professionals, etc, he developed this into a larger annual international award event to celebrate quality animated films. PSIAF launched in 2017 with a screening of Loving Vincent (the first fully animated feature film ever made) celebrating the life of legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh. In its first year, PSIAF received an incredible 3000 submissions coming from many countries.  Over the past four years Hoff’s enthusiasm for the art form, and his commitment to celebrating the work of others, has allowed PSIAF to screen some of the most exciting and beautiful films produced internationally. This has given him a solid collaborative appeal to the world’s principal independent animators.  Today this international festival, and Hoff, is known to independent animation studios and schools in over 100 countries. The festival has been celebrated in press vehicles such as Animation World Network, Animation Magazine, NBC News, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety Magazine.


Hoff’s objective was to go beyond the norm, to discover, and provide a platform for the world’s best animation professionals.  To do this he created a festival with 42 categories.  Among these were the first ever LGBTQ category which in year 2018 included the film In A Heartbeat (an Oscar hopeful), and the Academy of Dream Awards which celebrates animated films produced by adults with a disability who have overcome these challenges in order to create funny, entertaining films.  Here Hoff works with Dani Bowman who herself is in the autistic spectrum and has become a major animator, instructor, and motivational speaker, traveling throughout the world to celebrate and work with dreamers.  Bowman is currently working with Hoff on his own animated film series Furrywood Hills – a series centered on a dysfunctional dog family living in a town with the same name.


In addition, in 2020, PSIAF followed the Sundance Film Festival and created a similar online model. Additionally PSIAF offered drive-in screenings. Two events stand out in particular.  During the summer, as Artistic Director of PSIAF, Hoff participated in the Berkshire International Film Festival offering several evenings of prize-winning shorts to enthusiastic sold-out audiences in Lenox, Massachusetts.  Also, this year’s PSIAF festival hosted a screening of a collection of its nominated animated shorts in an outdoor theatre in Palm Desert, California.  Many of these shorts had won awards at Annecy in France, others at the Ottawa Festival, Sundance, and the Oscars. 


Hoff has gained a proven reputation as a collaborator, promoter of animators, and celebrator of Art In Motion.  In 2020 he created an archival website ( to catalog animated films and resources for use by animation professionals. He should be extremely proud of the achievements he and his team have made in bringing this art form to a wider international audience.  He remarks: “ I’m very proud of the work I’ve done over the years to celebrate this amazing art-form, animation, which started over 100 years ago. It has the power to inform, transform, educate, and inspire an unlimited world of digital story-telling.  If you’re a fan of animation, consider making a donation to support independent artists and animators to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams. Thanks for your encouragement and support over the past four years.”


On January 28, 2021 PSIAF is set to announce the winners of its 2020 Festival on-line.  Please visit the PSIAF website, to learn more and donate and support the arts.

Brian Neil Hoff and Bruno Chatelin in Palm Springs 2019


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