Article in brief: the author gives us his review of exploring MEFCC for this year.
Last month, I attended the Middle East Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC), which ran for the fourth consecutive year from April 9th – 11th. MEFCC is the largest pop-culture festival of its kind in the Middle East, including a wide array of entertainment and pop culture globally such as Film, TV, Animation, Manga, Comics, Art, Collectibles and more. I was never a hardcore fan of comics and manga so it’s safe to say I was enthralled by the whole world of comics and cosplay (representation of characters through dress and performances) and watching the enthusiasm of those in costumes drew a smile on my face. There’s nothing I love more than positively directed passion.
The Press Conference
I started my tour by attending the press conference, with a panel that had William Shatner, Karl Urban Kelly Hu, Sam J. Jones. Max Landis, Caitlin Glass, Vic Mignogna, Bryce Papernbrook, Alodio Gosiengfiao, LeeAnna Vamp, Angelica Bridges, Gillian Anderson, and Mitlos Yerolemou. The press conference was interesting and insightful; we got to know the speakers better on both professional and personal levels. When asked if she would be interested in creating an additional X-Men movie, Kelly Hu, X-Men actress, replied that she would be delighted to. Jokingly, she said she “also needs the money”.
Max Landis, screenwriter of Chronicle, said that he believed Dubai has a “tremendous opportunity” to host Moon Knight and other sci-fi movies.
Hayley Atwell, actress in the Captain America movie and its TV spin-off “Agent Carter”, believes her role in the show is one that empowers females. She said “It’s very rare that you see a friendship like she has with Angie [Carter’s friend in the TV show], for example. It’s not a competitive one, it’s not two women talking about men all the time. It’s an equal relationship where they look out for each other.” Additionally, she said “Continuing into season two I hope we can look into that more, the importance of women looking after other women. It’s not just a battle against the other sex, but more about women realizing that we need to support each other rather than compete with each other. I think that’s absolutely crucial.”
Jobedu is a brand that started out in Jordan and is now available online and through their partners worldwide. They are an Arab brand with products influenced by Arab pop culture. They have a large web of graphic designers from a variety of Arab nationalities from all ages. Their aim is to promote Arab artists by including their work in their products and for Arab culture to have a more significant global appeal.
Saeed Arjumand is an Emirati artist who studied illustration in San Francisco for five years and became a comic book artist. He is currently a self-published author in the United States and is working on two comic book titles with another author. Saeed grew up with Batman comics, but as he got older, he was exposed to other characters. Nevertheless, Batman is his inspiration. When speaking about illustration, Saeed says that DC and Marvel characters, and pop culture changed his world! Through his work, Saeed aims to entertain his readers; “Happy readers make us happy”.
Amna Al Balooshi:
This is Amna’s third year in MEFCC, but this year her work has a slight twist. Her pieces juxtaposed DC villains and the Pokémon’s from Nintendo. Amna finds villains more interesting than heroes because she likes their backstory. Amna hopes to draw smiles on people’s faces through her work.
Khaled bin Hamad is the founder and managing director of Moving Reflections Productions, which is an Emirati animation/marketing company. They mostly work on projects with government entities, with a great base of clients, ranging from oil fields to telecommunications and real estate companies. Moving Reflections has a deep appreciation for art, and their aim is to incorporate art into everything. They realize that art is not as understood by the average Emirati citizen, and thus, they often underestimate its value. Therefore, They wish to incorporate art in the UAE society more. In the long run, Moving Reflections wishes to “create an animated television series with an international concept and an Emirati identity.” They wish to fill the current void in Arab entertainment by producing shows that viewers watch “not because they want to support local talent, but because it makes them think, and because they love it.”
I have come across some vendors with awesome products but needed guidance in marketing. I am not an entrepreneurship expert, but I am a consumer, and I know what consumers want. It is necessary to have a long-term view; even though you might only be participating for the convention. “We want to exhibit our talents” is not an appropriate aim.
YOU decide the worth of your products. Your goods may be of high quality, but unless you properly advertise them through the various means and be a confident conversationalist with your customers, you won’t get the coverage you deserve. It saddens me to see talented artists who aren’t getting the coverage they deserve.
YOU are the product; invest in yourself. Attending workshops on marketing and public speaking can not only improve your performance in this convention itself, but it can for the the long term too.
Personally, I underestimated Comic Con. I wish I had taken advantage of my two days pass or stayed for the full day. Looking back, I wish I researched in advance for the events taking place to choose the best day and time to attend. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed my four-hour experience! It was extremely congested, and the queues were seemingly endless, however, the great management team ensured it was a smooth process.
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