Port Richmond is the envy of New York.

Visitors from the Big Apple are plain jealous when they see Artifact Pictures animation studio on Amber Street near Willard, say the company's co-founders, Julie Goldstein and Erika Mijlin.

The studio's 3,000 square feet and 17-foot ceilings are real estate that one can only dream about in New York City.

Which is just one of the reasons Goldstein and Mijlin prefer working Philly-style.

"Essentially it's much more manageable to start up here than it is in New York because there already are so many animation studios there," Goldstein said.

Mijlin agreed, adding, "We felt like there was a huge potential here." Although Philly has few animation studios, there is an animation scene here that is "a little bit underground."

Improvements in technology make it convenient to work in the field away from media-centric cities such as New York and Los Angeles, they say. Their client list extends beyond Philadelphia.

But for their most recent project, "The Adventures of Teddy P. Brains: Journey Into the Rain Forest," most of the talent was local. Goldstein, who met Mijlin when they were both master's degree students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the cartoon's animation director and co-producer. Mijlin was its animation producer and co-producer.

The two and their animation team - including graduates or students from Drexel University, Temple University and University of Pennsylvania - brought Teddy P. Brains to "life" on their computers.

The computer models were based on illustrations by Wynnewood artist Gene Barretta, whom co-creators Eugene Haynes and Joseph L. Lewis III hired. Barretta had previously created animated segments on "Sesame Street."

Philadelphia casting agency Mike Lemon Casting found local actors to voice most of the show's characters. Veteran actor John Canada Terrell of West Oak Lane is the voice of Dexter Brains and Center City actress Jennifer Blaine is Teddy.

The music was scored by East Falls musician John Avalese.

And the DVD includes live-action dance performances by students at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. *


Veteran actor John Canada Terrell was misidentified in this story. He voiced the character of Dexter Brains.