Young guests can enjoy fun activities at FUNN’s Spring camp, the Sharjah-based foundation dedicated to promoting media arts among children and young people in the UAE, that is currently underway at Supreme Council for Family Affairs. At the heart of this creative endeavor is a 2D Animation workshop.
The 12-day workshop taking place until 11 April, is inspiring attendees to think of animation movements in a two-dimensional artistic space. The FUNNtastic spring camp, targeting children and young adults aged 14 to 18 years, enables the youngsters to engage in a series of diverse workshops, on media arts and animation.
The workshop is geared towards creating a 2-minute long film, where students are branching out to smaller groups, who are ultimately focused on producing one final film. These different clusters are concentrating on developing various elements right from the nascent stages, applying the principles of animation, overviewing the software, brainstorming story ideas, understanding the techniques of animation and post-production.
The first workshop features talks on the fundamentals of 2D animation, while a simultaneous second group is inducting students to the concepts of constructing animation. A parallel workshop is familiarising children about the basics of drawing and animating methods to teach character development. Students are pre-visualising the motion picture in a different workshop by creating a visual layout of events. Running alongside, is a workshop focused on enriching the emotional impact of the piece, by adding a well-informed colour palette.
The last two groups are sharpening their creative and technical skills, by bringing characters and stories to life, as a 2D digital animator. A session on post production using video editing software and laying sound tracks, concludes this workshop.
These different stages, therefore, go from concept to finished animation, using industry-standard tools and the latest animator techniques in the business, engaging children in a series of diverse activities, polishing their qualities of observation, patience and teamwork in order to succeed.
Speaking on the sidelines of the initiative, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and Sharjah International Children and Youth Film Festival said, “Our purpose is not just to teach young filmmakers the methods of production alone but to help them through a fantastic platform like this, to challenge their imagination and nurture their interest in the media arts, so that one day they can adopt this as a vocation and possibly pursue it as a profession. These initiatives are a reflection of our hope pinned on young people. We are optimistic that through our role we will contribute to lighting the way for tomorrow’s generation and leave a positive impact in the lives of children and youth for a better future, with cinema and the creative arts”.
FUNN further aims to nurture a future generation of creative artists in media and film. It is seen promoting new media works and films made by children and young filmmakers of the UAE at international film festivals and conferences worldwide. Their larger goal is to foster talent through festivals, conferences and workshops, both locally and internationally and form a close-knit network of talented youth who can share experiences and expertise on a global scale.
Majid Al Futtaim’s VOX Cinemas Launches Middle East’s First Interactive Movie Experience
VOX Cinemas, the dedicated cinema arm of Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and Africa is introducing CTRL, the region’s first interactive movie experience which lets the audience collectively decide how the plot unfolds. The latest innovation from VOX Cinemas in partnership with entertainment and tech company, Kino Industries, will launch across the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 05 August.
CTRL will be showing Late Shift (UAE PG 13), the world’s first interactive feature-length film, which enables cinemagoers to decide the fate of the lead character and the course of the movie using a simple voting system on an App. During the screening of the high stakes action thriller, which has countless storylines consisting of 180 decision points and seven alternative endings, the audience typically makes 40-50 choices while cutting-edge and seamless technology aggregates the votes and chooses the most popular option. Late Shift was directed and co-written by Tobias Weber, an award-winning filmmaker and a Co-Founder of Kino Industries, and Michael Robert Johnson, author of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The critically acclaimed movie was awarded the 2018 BAFTA Cymru Award.
Toni El Massih, Chief Content Officer, VOX Cinemas said, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Kino Industries and launch the Middle East’s first interactive movie, which puts the audience in control of countless adaptable storylines. Redefining the cinematic experience and introducing game-changing concepts that exceed our guests’ expectations has been a cornerstone of our success at VOX Cinemas and we continue to push the boundaries of innovation. Using pioneering technology, CTRL seamlessly combines the realism and production values of the film with the interactivity of a videogame to create a new dimension of engagement. Having sold out at the Beijing International Film Festival in less than five minutes, I have no doubt that this unique and exhilarating participatory experience will prove hugely popular with cinemagoers in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Chady Eli Mattar, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Kino Industries added, “We are thrilled to be teaming up with VOX Cinemas on this exciting venture. For us they represent the epitome of a contemporary exhibitor – they are bold, innovative, forward thinkers, and we at Kino share a similar DNA! Thus, this partnership will be setting the standards of the future of cinema in the region.” The daily screenings of Late Shift will take place at 6 pm and 8 pm (Sunday – Thursday) and 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm (Friday and Saturday) at VOX Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates, Yas Mall, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Al Zahia, The Galleria Al Maryah Island and Wafi City. The experience will also be rolled out across select VOX Cinemas in Saudi Arabia.
VOX Cinemas has been awarded ‘Best Cinema Experience’ at the MENALAC Awards for two years running (2019 and 2020). CTRL complements VOX Cinemas’ portfolio of world-class experiences which includes Snow Cinema at Ski Dubai; Sensory Friendly Screenings; OUTDOOR, an open-air concept, and THEATRE, and GOLD, luxury experiences that combine fine food and film. Tickets for Late Shift are now on sale and can be purchased on the VOX Cinemas website (voxcinemas.com), app, or at the ticket counter at any VOX Cinemas. The movie will be shown in English with Arabic subtitles.
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson Reaches Space in His Own Ship
Virgin Galactic has announced that VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the Company’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight. Yesterday’s flight was the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research, and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America.
Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said, “It is a landmark achievement for the company and a historic moment for the new commercial space industry. With each successful mission, we are paving the way for the next generation of astronauts. I want to thank our talented team, including our pilots and crew, whose dedication and commitment made today possible. They are helping open the door for greater access to space – so it can be for the many and not just for the few.”
VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. The vehicle reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport America. This seminal moment for Virgin Galactic and Sir Richard Branson was witnessed by audiences around the world. It gave a glimpse of the journey Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts can expect when the company launches commercial service following the completion of its test flight program.
Sir Richard Branson said: “I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. We are at the vanguard of a new space age. As Virgin’s founder, I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists and now astronauts. I can’t wait to share this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.”
Branson continued, “Our mission is to make space more accessible to all. In that spirit, and with today’s successful flight of VSS Unity, I’m thrilled to announce a partnership with Omaze and Space for Humanity to inspire the next generation of dreamers. For so long, we have looked back in wonder at the space pioneers of yesterday. Now, I want the astronauts of tomorrow to look forward and make their own dreams come true.”
The mission specialists in the cabin were Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett, Lead Flight Operations Engineer; Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations; and the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. The VSS Unity pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, while Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow piloted VMS Eve.
Power League Gaming Unveils New Studio for 360º Gaming and eSports Production
Power League Gaming (PLG) has announced the launch of the region’s first, fully-equipped 10,000 square foot production studio, that has been specifically built to deliver outstanding eSports and gaming content for regional and global audiences. Set to become home for branded content creation, production, and live broadcasts in the Middle East, the PLG studio has been built to host 360º production solutions, features the highest quality technical standards, and also features the latest broadcast hardware and IT infrastructure.
The studio’s facilities enable the PLG team to deliver seamless live eSports broadcasts and pre-recorded content to a global audience, and has seen leading brands such as Adidas, KFC and Lenovo already utilize the space. A unique facility in the MENA region, the studio also features an overlooking café so spectators can view the action in comfort when live broadcasts and events are taking place. “PLG has been at the forefront of the gaming and eSports sector in the MENA region for the past decade and the company is responsible for the region’s most ambitious related activations. It is what has formed our deep understanding of what resonates with Arabic gaming audiences, and what has powered us to launch the region’s first production studio that will play an integral part in production and development of the sector in the MENA region,” said Mathew Pickering, CEO of Power League Gaming.
He added, “The PLG studio has already produced activations such as the KFC MENA Cup (PubG Mobile) and the Adidas Elite 32 (EA Sports FIFA ’21) and has developed content for brands such as Lenovo and NAMSHI, which we continue to be very proud of. Our studio facility and unmatched industry relationships with leading publishers mean that we can offer the latest and most sought-after associations for brands who are seeking to incorporate gaming into their marketing strategies.”
Power League Gaming is the MENA region’s most disruptive full-service gaming, content, and eSports activation company that is made up of passionate gamers, ex-pro eSports athletes, brand strategists, content creators, designers, and educators. For the past decade, the PLG team has shaped the gaming and eSports sector in the MENA region through its offering of a tailored brand experience from a team that is guaranteed to help clients deliver on their marketing objectives—be it shifting perception, brand equity building, or simply growing the audience base, with tangible ROIs to measure the success.
PLG is Arabic First and actively seeks to engage with Arabic audiences. The company consistently produces ground-breaking, disruptive mechanics that successfully connect global brands with a gaming audience and has also designed engaging content platforms that transfer the skills and experiences necessary to develop the region’s next generation of gaming and content leaders.
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