Cartoon Network has announced plans to open a dedicated animation training centre, and development and production studios at twofour54 Abu Dhabi. The announcement comes a week after twofour54 announced a partnership with Dubai-based animation house Blink Studios to produce the Arabic version of Driver Dan’s Story Train.
The partnership, which was announced at MIPTV in Cannes, is geared towards developing Arabic content, a goal that twofour54 has espoused since the time of its inception.
According to the announcement, Cartoon Network will undertake its expansion to Abu Dhabi in two phases. The first phase, which will include the new Cartoon Network Animation Academy and development studios, will become operational in September 2010. The Academy will work closely with twofour54’s training arm tadreeb to offer specialised animation courses in the region.
As part of the second phase, Cartoon Network will also launch its production studios, which are scheduled to open early next year.
Tony Orsten, CEO of twofour54 stated that Cartoon Network will “revolutionise the creation of Arab animation”.
“When we launched twofour54, this is exactly the type of partnership we envisioned – one that impacts across the full content creation chain – from training through to broadcast. This partnership will not only facilitate the creation of Arabic media content, but also supports our aim to develop a sustainable media and entertainment content industry here in Abu Dhabi.”
Besides vocational training, students will have the opportunity to work with international experts. Leading students will also be offered internships at Cartoon Network’s international studios.
Alan Musa, VP & GM of Cartoon Network Middle East, Africa & Pan region said, “Cartoon Network has built a strong reputation in the Middle East so it made tremendous sense for us to invest directly in the region. Demand for quality Arabic animation is on the rise and our projects in Abu Dhabi will facilitate further growth in the industry. The academy will offer training programmes that will develop the skills of the region’s animators and find the talent that exists in the region and the development studio will ensure their creative animation ideas get off the ground. This is a very exciting opportunity for Arabic content creators and we look forward to working with twofour54 to realise the potential in the region.”