45th Annie Awards Interview

About The 45th Annie Awards

Since 1972, ASIFA-Hollywood has hosted the Annie Awards to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the art of animation.  Joining ASIFA-Hollywood is open to professionals, students, and fans of animation.  June Foray came up with the idea to award animators within the film industry. Max Flesicher and Dave Fleischer were the first to be honored with an Annie Award for creating Betty Boop, Popeye, Olive Oyl and inventing the technique of rotoscoping.

The 45th Annie Awards event is February 3, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. The award ceremony will take place at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los, Angeles, California.

Nominees for this year include. 

45th Annie Awards Interview

I was given the opportunity to speak with Gretchen Houser from Houser Public Relations.  A few of their many clients include the Annie Awards and the International Animated Film Society ( ASIFA-Hollywood).

1.  Can you tell me about Houser Public Relations?

 Houser PR is a full-service Public Relations and Event company.  I began handling Media Relations for ASIFA-Hollywood in 1997, and then it progressed to handling the coordination of the event every February. I handle the press line and media for the event, as well as work with all of the studios to coordinate their sponsorships, VIP seating, special requests, etc. I also work closely with our Catering company on the look of the event, as well as menus, etc.

2. How long have you been working with the Annie Awards?

Since 1997

3. Who is most likely to show up at the Annie Award ceremony?

 The Annie Awards are a ‘Whose Who’ in the Animation industry. The event has grown in visibility and popularity in the last 10 years. We have animation professionals as well as studio executives, movie fans and students who attend.

 4. What is the process like for setting up for the Annie Awards?

Lots of preparation and planning go into this event. We typically start full force in the summertime to secure the location and then determine what the event will look like in the coming months.

5. What is the voting process like?

Voting has been online for a few years now. You must be a professional in the animation industry to apply to be considered to vote. We have fine-tuned this process over the years and feel we have a very fair voting system in place.

6. Do you have any highlights of previous Annie Awards ceremonies?

 I believe there is an edited version of last year’s Annie Awards on the Annies website 

7. What do you wish to accomplish for this year at the Annie Awards?

 To honor the best way possible, all of the wonderful talents in this industry. We try each year to keep the ceremony at 2.5 hours, so that it moves along at an exciting pace while paying respect to all of the recipients.

8. Created in 1972 by veteran voice talent June Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past four decades.  Have you seen a significant change in atmosphere in the animated film industry?

 Yes…most definitely! Since animated features have been honored through the Academy, we have seen how animation has become more respected across the industry.

9. I noticed there are many sponsors that include Disney, Nickelodeon, Pixar and Cartoon Network. Do the proceeds from the sponsorships go back to the community?

ASIFA-Hollywood is a nonprofit organization, and while most of the money raised through sponsorship of the Annies goes to pay for this event, ASIFA-Hollywood does acknowledge students and other professionals through various programs throughout the year.

10. I noticed there is a rise in independent films breaking out into the animation spotlight. What makes these films unique compared to films made in Hollywood?

They are unique in that they typically do not have the kind of money at their disposal for advertising, screenings, etc.  This is why we felt it necessary to have a separate Independent Features category so that these films can be reviewed appropriately, and not be in competition with the major features coming out of the larger studios.

11. With the design for web series and shows on Amazon and Netflix do you see an increase in talent and work for these outlets? Will the Annie Awards in the future represent a category for these nominees?

Not sure if that will happen; we’ll have to see how it goes.

12. Last but not least, what do you think it takes for an animator to succeed? Is it talent, a little bit of luck or a combination of both?

Talent and persistence. But a bit of luck couldn’t hurt, too!

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