Sharjah Animation Conference 2024 concludes welcoming over 8,000 aspiring professionals and animation legends

The 2nd edition garnered record attendance, recognised exceptional industry talent through the SAC 2024 awards, and celebrated the 30th anniversary of Disney’s iconic film, The Lion King
El ganador del primer puesto del "Book Trailer Award" Budoor Almahri
The winner of the first place of “Book Trailer Award” Budoor Almahri
  1. Recognising exceptional talent at the SAC 2024 Awards 
  2. Celebrating animation legends and the future 

The Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) 2024 concluded its five-day celebration of the creative medium of animation, welcoming over 8,000 animation enthusiasts, aspiring professionals, and industry experts from around the world. Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the second edition of this premier event showcased the boundless creativity and innovation shaping the future of the animation industry. 

The conference featured an exceptional lineup of 32 international speakers, 11 workshops, comprehensive masterclasses, and 18 panel discussions, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to learn from the best in the business and explore the latest trends and technologies in the field. During the 5-day event SBA also arranged a number of meetings between publishers and animation studios to discuss new horizons in transforming fictional novels into cinematic works and television series. The authority aimed to provide opportunities for writers to create visual content and develop the animation sector in the Arab region. 

Raghad Odeh, ganador del tercer puesto del "Pitch the Project Award"​
Raghad Odeh, Third place winner of the “Pitch the Project Award” 

The closing ceremony also served as a platform to acknowledge the winners of the SAC Awards, which were presented by Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA. 

In her closing address, Khawla Al Mujaini, Executive Director of SAC, expressed her delight at the response to the event, saying, “The success of the 2nd edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference has been truly fulfilling and we are proud to have welcomed over 8,000 passionate animation enthusiasts, publishers, and industry leaders from across the region and the world. The future of animation is bright, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of this journey, cementing Sharjah’s position as a regional hub for the creative industry.” 

Raghad Odeh, ganador del tercer puesto del "Pitch the Project Award"
Abdulazeez Al-Refai, Second place winner of “Pitch the Project Award” 

Echoing this sentiment, Pietro Pinetti, Artistic Director of SAC, stated, “It has been an absolute pleasure to help curate the conference again this year. We have witnessed the boundless creativity and passion of the global animation community converge in Sharjah, which was inspiring. This success could not have been possible without the efforts of our dedicated team, the support of our sponsors and partners, and most importantly, the enthusiasm of the public - animation lovers who embraced this event and made it their own.” 

Recognising exceptional talent at the SAC 2024 Awards 

The SAC Awards, which challenged animators, creatives, and storytellers to showcase their talent and contribute to the vibrant animation industry. The “Pitch the Project Award” and the “Book Trailer Award" were met with an overwhelming response, with participants from across the region and beyond submitting their innovative ideas and captivating visuals.  

The “Pitch the Project Award” celebrated Middle Eastern animation and challenged entrants to conceptualise a potential animated series aimed at preschoolers or kids, with the top three winners receiving fantastic prizes to further their animation dreams. Boubaker Boukhari took home the first prize of AED 9,000, a Wacom drawing tablet, and a professional animation software licence for Toon Boom’s “Harmony” software. Abdulazeez Al-Refai and Raghad Odeh secured second and third place, winning AED 5,000 and AED 3,000 respectively as well as Wacom tablets and software licences for Toon Boom’s “Storyboard.” 

El ganador del primer puesto de "Pitch the Project Award" Boubaker Boukhari​
The winner of the first place of “Pitch the Project Award” Boubaker Boukhari 

The “Book Trailer Award” recognised the art of promotional advertising, with participants creating 30-60 second videos to capture the essence of the “Kharareef” book series by Emirati author Dubai Abulhoul, and published by Kalimat Publishing Group. Budoor Almahri claimed the first prize of AED 9,000, a Wacom drawing tablet, and a ToonBoom Harmony software licence, while Zeinab Mabrouk was awarded the second prize, including a Wacom tablet, a cash prize of AED 5,000, and a ToonBoom Storyboard software licence. 

Khawla Al Mujaini, Directora Ejecutiva de la SAC durante su discurso en la ceremonia de clausura
Khawla Al Mujaini, Executive Director of SAC during her speech in the closing ceremony

Celebrating animation legends and the future 

The conference was further enriched by a captivating and insightful presentation from the esteemed Disney Director, Andreas Deja, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the timeless animated masterpiece, The Lion King. Deja's engaging tribute to this iconic film not only highlighted its enduring impact on the animation industry but also offered a glimpse into the creative process and vision that brought this beloved story to life. 

Pietro Pinetti, Director Artístico de la SAC durante su discurso en la ceremonia de clausura​
Pietro Pinetti, Artistic Director of SAC during his speech in the closing ceremony 

Additionally, Andreas Deja treated attendees to a special screening of his short animated film, “Mushka.” This enchanting film, accompanied by a mesmerising musical score composed by the talented Italian-American artist, Fabrizio Mancinelli, showcased Deja's mastery of storytelling and animation, captivating the audience with its artistry and emotional depth. 

La Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) 2024​
The Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) 2024

Throughout the five-day event, SAC 2024 received incredible support from its sponsors, including Toon Boom Animation, WACOM Tablets, and Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. (MSI), all of whom played a vital role in the success of the conference. 

La Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) 2024
The Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) 2024

The closing ceremony was serenaded with a spectacular performance by the Florence Pop Orchestra, who captivated the audience with their renditions of classic Disney soundtracks, including Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and, of course, The Lion King. As SAC 2024 came to a close, it was clear that the conference is building on the momentum with its second edition and continuing to position Sharjah as a global hub for animation excellence and cultural exchange.