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World’s best animators will reveal their top creative secrets at the first-ever Sharjah Animation Conference

The emirate’s biggest-ever animation festival will be held for the first time in the region on the sidelines of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, May 3 – 5, in Expo Centre Sharjah

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Sharjah Animation Conference

Presenting a not-to-miss opportunity to fans and professionals alike, the Sharjah Book Authority has announced the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference – a first-of-its-kind platform in the region to learn, be entertained and get up close and personal with Oscar winners and global industry leaders.

Set to take place from May 3 – 5 on the sidelines of the 14th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2023) in Hall 1, Expo Centre Sharjah, the event is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with Lilium, and in partnership with Italy’s Bergamo Animation Days (BAD) festival, and will provide a platform for people to come together, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections.

The event will host state-of-the-art masterclasses, workshops, film screenings, business networking meetings between publishers and producers, and in-person  interactions with the top brass of the world of animation. The artist line-up for SAC 2023 includes the likes of John Nevarez, film-story artist and Oscar winner for “Coco”; Sandro Cleuzo, animator and character designer and Annie Award winner for “Mary Poppins Returns”; and Takahiro Yoshimatsu, the animator and director of “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”.

With 9 seminars, 9 workshops and masterclasses, and 3 panel discussions as well as a vibrant professional agenda, the conference will also attract professionals and young people from all over the Middle East, and build Sharjah’s reputation as the animation capital of the Arab world. 

On the programme, activities aimed at a wide and varied audience, in terms of age and interests, with a major objective: to arouse curiosity and provide information on a world with a high level of creativity and technology. The conference will serve as a meeting point for different arts and crafts, stimulate new professionalism by directing attendees towards specialisations in the sector, and enable creative encounters between young aspirants and established protagonists of the world of animation.

The focus is on the writing, languages, themes, production techniques and technologies of animated cinema and how they are expressed in pure entertainment products, popular animation and communication.

Khoula Al Mujaini, SAC Executive Director said: “Animation lovers in the UAE and beyond are in for a spectacular treat. At the three-day Sharjah Animation Conference, they will enter the fascinating world of animation and get behind the scenes to learn so much about what brings these iconic and timeless characters to life. The conference is also aligned with Sharjah’s and SBA’s vision to elevate children’s visual content, and to fulfil this purpose, we will be presenting this platform to experts who will enjoy a unique opportunity to meet with the world’s top publishers, animators and producers to explore prospects for content selling and collaboration. We’re aiming to bring animation professionals together and create a community in the region, all while providing an opportunity for learning.”

For his part, Pietro Pinetti, SAC Artistic Director noted: “Our intention is for Sharjah to become the animation capital of the Arab world, attracting professionals and young people from all over the Middle East. A platform like SAC presents a great new opportunity for enabling exchange between the Arab and western worlds, particularly here in Sharjah, which has been investing in culture and young people for a long time. It is no coincidence that the emirate is the cultural capital of the UAE. Just this year Bergamo is, together with the neighbouring city of Brescia, the Italian capital of culture – another common touchpoint between BAD and SCRF. I thank Sharjah Book Authority for having believed in our project right from the start, and SCRF for welcoming us, proving that it fully shares our vision.” 

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