Animation in the Middle East: Practice and Aesthetics from Baghdad to Casablanca
The internationally acclaimed films Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir only hinted at the vibrant animation culture that exists within the Middle East and North Africa. In spite of censorship, oppression and war, animation studios have thrived in recent years--in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Turkey--giving rise to a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and artists. The success of animation in the Middle East is, in part, a product of a changing cultural climate, which increasingly calls for art that reflects politics. Equally, the professionalization and popularization of film festivals, the emergence of animation studios and private initiatives, are all the results of a growing consumer culture, in which family-friendly entertainment is big business. Drawing together the diverse strands of local productions, regional co-productions, the influence of digital developments and television, and cinematic feature films, Animation in the Middle East reveals how animation is part of the broader cinema culture of a large, heterogeneous area. It uncovers the history and politics that have defined the practice and study of animation in the Middle East, and explores the innovative visions of contemporary animators in the region.
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