Interview Emily Ann Hoffman: Animation is such an expansive and diverse medium that can be used in infinite ways to tell infinite stories

It’s not every day you see a short animated movie about adult topics such as sex, contraception and having children but when you see one, it’s a great one. Just like the very funny and joyful movie Nevada from director Emily Ann Hoffman. We talked to her about her latest short movie, the next generation of animators and what the future holds for her.

Hi Emily, how are you doing?

Hi, nice to meet you!

Congratulations with Nevada, it’s an amazing and joyful short movie to watch. It’s a very unusual story as well. Where did the idea for this movie come from?

The concept for this film came from personal and shared experiences of having to take Plan B. I would talk about the various awkward, intimate, frustrating, sad and funny situations my female friends and I were put in when in need of emergency contraceptives. But I realized all these conversations were had in private, giggling behind closed doors, and without our male counterparts. I wanted to share this story in order to shed light on a very common experience, and destigmatize the shame associated with these situations.

The topics that are being mentioned such as sex, contraception and having children aren’t the typical topics for in an animated movie. Do you hope that with this movie more films (whether it’s an animated one or not) regarding this topic are being made?

I do hope I see more animated films exploring “adult” topics. Animation is such an expansive and diverse medium that can be used in infinite ways to tell infinite stories. I think animation can help lubricate an audience to be more open to watching a “provocative” story, and I think it’s being underutilized in that regard. Film is all about starting a dialogue, so making films about difficult conversations is a great way to bring those conversations to light.

Was there also any specific reason why you chose for Zoe and Eli as a mixed raced couple? Because it’s amazing to see that.

I saw this story as an opportunity to diversify the faces we see on screen. I think the next step in representing diverse or minority characters on screen is allowing those characters have stories outside of their diverse or minority identity. This story is not about this couple being mixed race, and therefore these characters are just allowed to be human characters who you connect with, regardless of their appearance.

Making a film in general is very hard work and labor and demands so much time. With Nevada that might be even harder because you don’t have real life actors or actual settings? How do you start making an animated movie like that?

All filmmaking is very labor intensive, but animation is particularly tedious and time-consuming. Most animators animate at 12 frames per second, which means every second of animation is comprised of 12 individual pictures. Animation doesn’t require a large crew like live-action filmmaking does, but shooting the footage takes a lot longer. And with stop-motion, (which is the type of animation used in Nevada), you first have to make everything you see on screen. From sets, to the character puppets, to the props, etc.

How long does it roughly take to make one?

Each animation is different, depending on the style, but from beginning to end Nevada took about 9 months to make.

The movie will be shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival as well as Palm Springs this month. Are there any more upcoming festivals, cities or countries you heading to with Nevada?

We’ve been all over the country and world which has been very exciting. Most of our big festivals are behind us, but there will still be some screenings in New Jersey, Las Vegas, Texas and Mexico in the coming months.

You already have made other great movies such as Ok, Call Me Back. What was it that made you wanted to become part of the wonderful movie industry?

I started out as an illustrator but found I wasn’t able to say what I wanted to say through illustration. When I started taking animation classes I realized it was the perfect combination of visual art and storytelling. I love writing and have continued to pursue film because it allows me to fully immerse myself in worlds and stories that I write, which audiences will hopefully find relatable and inspiring.

Do you have any advice for other talented animators who want to make movies as well?

I love animation because it’s so accessible. If you’re interested in animation — just try it! You can animate with almost anything, even with just your phone. If you’re working on a longer project my two pieces of advice are to stay organized and listen to good music!

Just one last question: Do you already have other upcoming projects?

Yes, my newest short Bug Bite is in the final stages of post-production now. I intend to write a feature film based on the same concept — a young woman befriends a bed bug as they both contend with toxic masculinity.

Nevada Trailer (2017) from Emily Ann Hoffman on Vimeo.

Liselotte Vanophem, Just Celebrity Magazine’s Film and Celebrity Reporter

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