Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Ben & Izzy

 Ben and Izzy is an educational CGI series made by the Jordanian animation studio Rubicon. The official website is no longer online, but a few bits and pieces of the series can be found on YouTube.

Animation Magazine has a short summary of the series' premise:

"The action-adventure comedy series follows the adventures of two eleven-year-old boys, Ben, an American, and Izzy, a Jordanian, who embark on historical quests to ancient times and places in the Middle East and Africa region. The property has been popular on Cartoon Network Arabia, and in its featured window on Emirates and Qatar Airlines flights."

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sketch in Motion


Sketch in Motion is a Jordan-based studio that was founded in 2007 by Zaidoun Karadsheh and Tamer Qarrain.

From the studio's official website:

Sketch in Motion is dedicated to delivering meaningful messages with humor and laughter.  We recognize the ability to cross divides through laughter, utilizing its genuine universal experience. Sketch in Motion aspires to reach a wide audience range from adults, teenagers, and friends to couples and children of all ages through animation and cartooning products with witty content and stylish artwork, combined with meaningful messages. 
Sketch in Motion, produces one of the best animation show in the Arab World, “Al-Masageel”, aired 2 seasons in Ramadan 2011 and 2012, season 3 aired in Ramadan 2013, with creative animation, variety of funny characters and surprising plots.

As well as Al-Masageel, which is a sitcom about a traditional Bedouin Saudi tribe, the studio's projects include Ben7bek ya Baladna, a series of short clips intended for Palestinian audiences; Yahoo! Safety Oasis, a series of online games teaching children about safety on the Internet; and Iraq, a public information film about terrorism.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Abdollah Alimorad's Let's Reconcile

Let's Reconcile is a 13-episode stop-motion series made by the Iranian animator Abdollah Alimorad for the Ministry of Culture-affiliated Hozeh Honari. Mehr News has a short article on it with a few screencaps, along with the creator's description of the series:

"The animation relates the story of two neighbors’ fights and reconciliations. When the issue of money is at stake, they would quarrel; but when a common enemy appears, they unite and drop their hostilities.

The sound arranging of the animation has just been completed. The animation has used puppets made for stop-motion, where the movements are recorded frame-by-frame. The plastic material has been used to make puppets. It has some advantages over other materials. Working with plastic material is easy, puppets are highly malleable, and when the situation demands, they would be changed easily, and even they could be totally deformed."

Alimorad's career goes back at least as far as 1987 - I hope to write more about him in the future.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Naif Al Mutawa's The 99

Created by Kuwait's Dr. Naif Al Mutawa, The 99 is a comic book and animated series about a team of Islamic superheroes. As far as I can tell the series was never broadcast in the US or UK, but an English language version does exist and has been shown certain countries, including Ireland and Australia. It is also viewable online.

The series has managed to attract a good deal of controversey in certain quarters. Pundit Pamela Gellar claimed that it was part of an "ongoing onslaught of cultural jihad", while the Saudi Grand Mufti issued a fatwa against it. On the other hand, it won the endorsement of Barack Obama. See the official website here.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Crazy Piranha Entertainment

Founded by Jordan-based animator Amer Koch in 2005, Crazy Piranha Entertainment fits squarely within the Spike & Mike Sick and Twisted tradition - perhaps with a bit of Jamie Helwett on the side.

One of the company's more recent works is The Chainsaw Incident, a 2D-animated video game:

Crazy Piranha appears to be best-known for its games, but it has also worked on animated shorts and commercials. See its animation portfolio here.