Creating new opportunities for rising, young animators

Local animation collective OOF will host a free showcase of short films from around the world Oct. 24.

Amy Cousins, an original member of the OOF Collective, talks about the upcoming film event. | Geneva Heffernan TTN

Three minutes may seem like a short amount of time, but to local short-film animators, 180 seconds is enough to create winding narratives that resonate with audiences.

Philadelphia-based animation cooperative OOF Collective recently announced a free screening of independent animated shorts held Oct. 24. The event, called Invisible Ink, will showcase the work of 20 artists from around the world, including well-known animators and emerging local artists. OOF partnered with the University of the Arts’ animation program to organize the screening, which will be held at the Levitt Auditorium on 401 S. Broad St. at 7 p.m.

A group of local animators started OOF to give artists an opportunity to showcase their work. Amy Cousins, an animator and a graduate student in the Tyler School of Art, joined  OOF Collective in 2013 to help find animations and organize screenings.

“We want to give a platform to animators that we love who are making unique and experimental animations,” Cousins said. “We also want to expose people who maybe wouldn’t see these animations or who wouldn’t think that they are fans of animation.”

Amy Cousins, an alumna, works with OOF Collective to promote emerging animators. | Geneva Heffernan TTN

Cousins said there was a lack of platforms for independent animations because “they’re not things you would usually see at film festivals or the movies, or even on television, since they’re not sponsored by companies.”

OOF aims to give animators and audiences a chance to view these works in a fine arts setting.

Jacob Rivkin, an animator and professor of hand-drawn digital animation at the University of Pennsylvania, will show his short film “flats and wagons” at Invisible Ink.

“I’ve been collecting postcards for years,”  Rivkin said. “Most of them were pictures that had to do with landscapes from all over the world. I was interested in using these postcards that had to do with our sense of place, our sense of desire and combining them to create new landscapes.”

Rivkin’s work, along with the other animated shorts at the screening, have a connected theme that, according to OOF Collective’s press release, “focuses on animations in which seemingly minor or secretive topics take center stage.”

“The animations all sort of revolve around these mysterious spaces or things that you wouldn’t think about,” Cousins said. “There’s a little bit of a spooky vibe to it for Halloween.”

With Invisible Ink and other future animation screenings, OOF Collective hopes to build a strong community of independent animators based in Philadelphia.

“We definitely want to provide a platform for these artists to show their work and for people to appreciate them,” Cousins said. “And also bring in different crowds to see animation as an extension of art and not just a niche thing.”

“I appreciate what OOF is doing,” Rivkin said. “It gives me a chance as an artist to see how audiences react to my own work, which is huge. It’s very different than putting your work on the internet or just watching it on a computer screen. But then when you see it in a gallery or in a theater, it’s a very different experience, and a rewarding one.”

Emily Thomas can be reached at

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