Today we have an interview with our well-known writer, director and film producer Neil Hollander – a unique phenomenon in American cinematography due to the impact that he had on the making of feature and short films.
Q: Why did you choose this old dramatic story?
Neil Hollander: This is a beautiful, old story, written back in 1907. It’s about a young girl, named Srna. Discouraged by the harsh world and cruelty towards children, especially towards girls, she decides to become a boy. Although the story is very emotional, in terms of drama it is too thin. So I added one more story, that describes a fierce conflict between father and son, and made an outstanding, world-renowned product, just like ‘Shrek’.
Q: Is “Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail” the greatest achievement in your career?
Neil Hollander: Absolutely! I have published several books, hosted museum exhibits and I have founded the animation department at the Academy of Fine Arts, but none of these can be even compared to the success of this project. At the present time, maximum 30 animated feature films are annually recorded. The fact that Italy has no movie at the fair in Lyon is a proof for the high demands of this job. In France, the last animated feature film was recorded 20 years ago. It will take at least another 20 years until someone challenges himself to engage in such a project. So, it wasn’t easy to make this movie, but I will not gripe. I decided to do my best to make this movie. From now on I will be silent, and the film will speaks itself.
Q: You were born in New York City where you finished high school. What do you most remember from childhood?
Neil Hollander: I was a genius. I come from the bottom of the social ladder. I have no background. My father died convinced that the Earth is not round. But my life has always been full of success. I have always been an excellent student, I received the Rector’s Award as the best student in New York. “Sea Devils” led me very close to an Oscar. I came to Paris for the entrance examination for architecture studies and I was the first on the list. I love architecture! If I were to be born again, I would study architecture. But I didn’t want to spend my life in office fighting to build a house. I’ve never been employed, but I was always earning by myself. I have made a movie career very quickly, but I never neglected the architecture, which I love immensely. I even have a realized project – my house in France. From theatre.