The Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) announces Rhode Island Independent Animators (RIIA) shorts 2020 Film Screening. A collection of 10 animators who live and work in the state of Rhode Island.

The group is comprised of Daniel Sousa, Mara Trachtenberg, Steven Subotnick, Emily London, Riley Thompson and Joel Orloff, Haley Morris, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, and Brian C O’Malley. What these 10 animators share in common is a love of short film, collaborating with other artists, presenting unique and strange worlds, and in most cases getting their work done without the help of a big studio or a big budget. Eight dynamic short films have been synthesized into one film to bring a screening to the Jamestown Arts Center on February 6 at 7p.m. The only place to see films of this nature is at film festivals and perhaps with the permission of the filmmaker on Vimeo. This is a unique opportunity to watch experimental films at the Jamestown Arts Center on a cinematic scale in a magnificent space. 

These films are going to take you on a trip where the mind is free to wander and contemplate the universe, be prepared for liftoff. Daniel Sousa’s microshort, Pendulum, takes you into a dreamlike sequence that is breathtakingly beautiful. Sousa is an Oscar nominated animator who has screened his films worldwide but this is the first public screening of Pendulum. Whole, is a film by Emily London that explores the layers of memory found in a home; the film ends with a charming ballad sung by a child. Mara Trachtenberg sets up a surreal stage to lift the veil of the myth of Sisyphus in her stop motion film, The Floating Hope of the Winged Elephantine; also a first public screening. Strange Fish by Steven Subotnick, a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, will leave you wondering what era you are in. La Vuelta de la Polilla/the return of the moth, is the only film in the line-up with a full length voiceover which is in Spanish (English subtitles). This film, which follows a moth and a shaman on a transcendental path to rebirth was animated by Brian C O’Malley and narrated by Daniel Penengo. Riley Thompson and Joel Orloff say of their film, when planets mate, “this is a psychonautic journey melded from biology and Hindu myth.” It is indeed a journey worth taking. Riley and Joel animated the film together and collaborated with Viraj Gandhi to produce this film.You could say that all of these films are psychonautic journeys, but I believe that there is an existential thread that ties them all together. 

There is a “special features” portion of the screening that will highlight RI animators who work out of animation studios with a budget for their projects.  There will be 2 films in this portion of the program: Negative Space and The Ecstatics. Negative Space (2017) was nominated for a 2018 Oscar in the short category. The film is directed and animated by Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter and produced by IKKI films and Manuel Cam Studios in France. The Ecstatics (2017) is an animated music video for the band, Explosions in the Sky; it was directed and animated by Haley Morris out of Shapes and Shadows studio in Providence.

This is the inaugural run of RIIA shorts and my hope is that it will be a biennial event, knowing how long it can take an animator to produce a film. RIIA shorts will be screening at other venues later in the year. Attending animators and collaborators will be available for a casual Q&A after the screening. Come join us on February 6 at 7p.m. for a drink and a session of short films that will have you wanting more.

Rhode Island Independent Animated Shorts 2020. – At A Glance

WHAT:            RIIA Shorts 2020 Film Screening

WHERE:      Jamestown Arts Center, 18 Valley Street, Jamestown RI 02835

WHEN:          Thursday, February 6th 7:00pm
TICKETS: $10 at the door and online


The Jamestown Arts Center is a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space that hosts art exhibits, theatre and dance performances, film screenings, JAC talks and concerts, and provides art and design educational programs for people of all ages. Housed in a former boat repair shop, the JAC was awarded Best Gallery in Newport County by the Best of Rhode Island 2017 & 2018 readers’ polls. Programming partners include: Heifetz International Music Institute, FirstWorks, RISCA, FabNewport, 10 Thousand Small Businesses, RISD, Manhattan Short Film Festival, SENE Film Festival, Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Island Moving Company, The Jamestown Schools, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, The Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Acting & Directing Program and many individual artists and local organizations. The Jamestown Arts Center has quickly become a leading arts and cultural hub, for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas and innovation flourish. 

The mission of the Jamestown Arts Center is to engage, enrich and inspire our community through extraordinary arts and educational experiences.