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08/24/2018 - 12:00pm to 08/26/2018 - 12:00pm
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"Comic Con Palm Springs, which catapulted to national attention the past two summers with appearances by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and television’s original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, is about to get more animated.

Event founder Christopher Spellman has purchased the one-year-old Palm Springs International Animation Festival from its founder, Brian Neil Hoff, who is staying on as animation festival executive director. They're both hoping to grow the combined event in the multi-faceted directions of the San Diego Comic-Con and the South By Southwest Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas.

The Palm Springs International Animation Festival & Expo, which launched last November at the Palm Springs Art Museum, will now be presented with Comic Con Palm Springs Aug. 22-26 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and the Camelot Theatre in the Palm Springs Cultural Center. It will be previewed May 25-26.

“May-hem! The Summer Kick-Off Con Party” will be an all-day celebration of pop culture May 26 at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage. It will feature appearances by Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, and Steve Cardenas, known as the Red Power Ranger.

Comic Con Palm Springs has featured music by Carter, local bands and an electric symphonic orchestra, and its big push into VR and augmented reality is coming at a time when film, music and gaming are all moving in that direction. Spellman recently hired Lesley Chinen as executive director of immersive entertainment after serving almost four years as lead producer of the Virtual Reality Festival in Las Vegas.

The broader programming seems to have increased Comic Con Palm Springs’ appeal to producing studios such as Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment and Hologate, a leader in immersive entertainment with a multiplayer VR system that can be fitted for theme parks, movie theaters and comic cons.

“Now that we have all these other areas we’re working in,” said Spellman, “they’re like, ‘Wait, you have animation?’ It’s making it much easier for me than when I just had the comic con side to bring down the studios and the production companies at the higher level. Hologate didn’t want to come down because they’re like, ‘This is a big set-up we have.’ Then, when I was done with (his presentation), they’re coming down not only for May, they’re coming back for August.”

Hoff featured more than 250 short films and six feature-length animated films from more than 100 countries at last November’s animation festival. He expects to have at least that many in August, but he’s hoping to expand his educational offerings."

Excerpt from the Desert 05/21/18 by Bruce Fesser