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Ostora is a mixed media animation short that combines the history of the unification of the UAE with myths from Ancient Greece. Emirati national and script writer Faisal Al Sharyani explains his work, “I was mainly inspired by the multitude of books that I have read in the course of my life. I guess all this information that I had stored finally resulted in me writing the story of Ostora. With the expert support of Blink Studios, the story was re-written in script format that was produced into a mixed media musical animated short.”
Al Sharyani’s animation is unique in that it was also created for 3D stereoscopic viewing. This new technology used by Blink Studios has meant the project took five months to be completed and needed around 40 people to bring it to life. Nathalie Habib from Blink Studios explains, “The team was almost an equal split of professionals from Blink Studios and amateur talents from the general Abu Dhabi creative community.”
Al Sharyani’s script was chosen from amateur writer entries to twofour54 who saw its potential and matched him to Blink Studios. The studio and twofour54 have previously worked together as the latter commissioned Blink to produce Driver Dan’s Story Train, which airs on both the BBC’s and Al Jazeera Children pre-school channels. It was involved with the making of Captain Karim, another children’s TV programme.
“Blink Studios is co-producing the international version with a UK-based studio, which airs on “Cbeebies”, the BBC’s preschool channel. This includes producing animation and contributing scripts, stories and illustrations from regional Arab writers and artists,” says Habib. “We also lead the Arabic adaptation of the series for the MENA region, which airs on “Baraem”, Al Jazeera’s pre-school channel. This includes script editing, animation fixes, voice-over recording as well green screen shootings.”
Through this wide range of animation work, the production studios have been well placed to help Al Sharyani with Ostora.
“Blink Studios is currently in the process of sending it to both regional and international festivals. There are also talks with twofour54 to roll out Ostora into the educational sector and have children of all ages engage with the story of Ostora and be proud of the heritage and country they belong to and reside in,” says Al Sharyani.
For non-professional writers like him, these collaborations are the start of a new avenue of creativity for many in the UAE. He adds, “There are no boundaries to the creative mind and the more facilities and opportunities offered, the more chances there are to see the talent base of the UAE grow and excel.”
Habib agrees, “Support of the animation industry in the UAE is still at its start but it is definitely becoming more possible and accessible. Government entities are realising the diversity and impact of producing content in animated format and are more willing to support its growth and development.
If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, or have an idea that you believe deserves to be translated to the screen, creative lab can help. Take a look at some of our projects, and read stories about Ghafet Osha, Jirfah and others on how we’ve helped turn concepts into finished productions. Take some time to flesh out your idea and in the meantime connect with filmmakers, producers, directors and creative individuals within the community, who can offer valuable feedback and advice. The creative lab team is committed to funding and developing ideas that can enrich community discourse and present a diversity of views. Get in touch and see if your idea makes the cut.