Animating From Behind Bars

Superjail is an animated series set in the cooler, but Brew reader Dominic Bisignano points out that there’s a non-profit organization called Giant Elephants Roam that teaches actual prisoners how to animate. The website features short animation tests created by inmates at the Antelope State Valley Prison in Lancaster, California, which is where the pilot program is currently underway. The program was conceived by CalArts student Vita Rabinovich. Below is an example of animation created by inmate “Doc.”


  • Julian Carter

    Very amusing (tee-hee!), and I like the subtle squash and stretch effects of the carnivorous flower, which I … er, doubt Carl Linneaus ever classified as a biological species. If I were the animator, however, I think I would have prolonged the instance of Merlin already having been swallowed (and undergoing digestion). The animation ends just a little too quickly, but kudos to the inmate who made this. 8)

  • C

    Would you call this… “CELL ANIMATION”?
    LOL

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I suspect the time allowed for this activity is quite small so the results are all the more impressive.

  • http://pegbarproductions.com Simon Stahl

    That’s a great idea, if prisoners were all ‘tweening instead of pressing license plates maybe we wouldn’t have to ship overseas.

  • http://www.giantelephants.com vita rabinovich

    haha.. that is very funny. indeed, this is cell animation.
    Thank you so much, Amid, for mentioning us. And thank you Dominic.

  • AdrianC

    That doesn’t look too bad!

    If this is “Doc’s” first time animating, that’s even more impressive.

    Not a bad way to spend your time in jail.

  • Ted

    MSNBC should commission some cartoon “To Catch A Predator” episodes from this incarcerated workforce, to expand their ongoing economic exploitation of criminals. Real thieves and killers just ain’t hip enough for Adult Swim.

  • http://siskavard.blogspot.com Corey

    “Would you call this… “CELL ANIMATION”?
    LOL”

    NICCCEE

    This is a really cool program.

  • http://www.giantelephants.com vita rabinovich

    yes, please note that the Yellow Wizard, along with Vitamin Slime, and Firstest Memory were all FIRST attempts at animation. so much talent..

  • Julian Carter

    Hey Vita! I watched all the animations on your website, and “Yellow Wizard” is actually my favourite. I like the dark humour and (as I said earlier) the animation quality.

    The other animations (by other guys) seem very different in style, and I was strangely impressed with ‘Firstest Memory’. I checked to see whether my tongue was still in place after viewing, though. ;)

    Keep up the good work! I think you’re doing a great job helping inmates to not only animate, but mostly rejoice in their creative imagination. I’m sure it helps.

  • http://www.ka-chingcartoons.com joost

    I always thought this was a good idea,

    I would go and rob a bank to get my million-dollar budget .
    If I get caught I can make the film during my imprisonment without any costs of rent food etc, maybe get some people to join and work on it for years.
    If I do get away with it , I still can make the film with all that money!

    its a win-win situation

    hippy hooraah

  • MattSullivan

    So, you think this is where they’ll outsource our jobs to next?