On April 20 and 21, the Middle East's first ever Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC) was held in Dubai, UAE. Organized by Extra Cake Pro., the convention took place at Dubai’s spacious and well located International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi.

Sammy Clark, left, and Jihad Atrash, right

With a conglomerate of activities and celebrities as culturally diverse as the city it was held in, the two day event was a smashing success. Panel discussions, workshops, film screenings, art contests and a cosplay competition were amongst the various activities visitors enjoyed.

The MEFCC was graced by both Arab and foreign celebrities. Fans lined up for over an hour to get autographs from Sammy Clark and Jihad Atrash – singer and voice actor, respectively, of Go Nagai’s 80s anime Grendaizer. Meanwhile, Game of Throne’s star Jason Mamoa tirelessly enjoyed getting photographed with his fans.

Actor Mark Sheppard chatting with fans

Supernatural star Mark Sheppard also attended and took the time to get to know his viewers, asking where they were from and conversing with them. Other Hollywood celebs included Battlestar Galactica’s Luciana Carro and Lord of the Rings co-star John Rhys Davies (aka Gimli) who wore a red shmaq on the first day!

Besides actors, a number of international media and gaming companies, publishing houses, and bookstores were in attendance like Sony Pictures, Sony Playstation, Nintendo, Marvel, IDW Publishing, Kinokuniya, Jashanmal Books, and more.

Qais Sedki, author of manga series Arabic Gold Ring

Qais Sedki, founder of Pageflip Publishing and author of the award winning Arabic Gold Ring manga series, was also at the event and was very encouraging to young artists.

ThinkUp GCC's Saleh Al-Braik and his team were also there and reserved plenty of space to showcase the work of young artists from the UAE. Amongst them were Aisha Thani, author of Warrior. U. comic, and Bader Najeeb who sold his handmade clay magnets, rings and necklaces.

From Kuwait, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa was invited to screen 99 Unbound, his world famous animated feature based on his comics of Islamic superheroes. His son came as well and was very happy to be photographed with John Rhys Davies.

Feel Like So! fashion figure dolls

More Kuwaits included Mishari Al-Arouj who showcased an extremely well made Grendaizer costume perfectly fitting for the event. Bou Saleh Est. was also one of the event’s many sponsors. The Kuwaiti hobby store displayed and sold items from their new partner brand, Feel Like So! fashion figure dolls, in addition to other authentic Japanese merchandise.

More sponsors included Mr. Ben’s costume closet where many visitors purchased and immediately donned outfits of their favorite characters. Media partners included Director Ali-Mostafa’s production company afmfilms, OSN, Virgin Megastore, Ashraf Ghori’s Xpanse CGI, VOX, and Youth Arabia.

“This has been one of the most amazing weekends of our lives,” stated Ben Caddy, Managing Director of Extra Cake Pro. The guests all seem to agree. Max Landis, screenwriter of Chronicle and an instant hit with the fans called coming to the festival: “Best decision ever!” Mark Sheppard reiterated how wonderful the people were.

To sum up, I would like to borrow words from the lovely Luciana Carro: “Thanks for inviting me. I had the time of my life. Best Con ever. I love you all. Thank you Dubai.”

Thank you, indeed. I can’t wait for next year.

– Huda Al-Ateeqi; Images courtesy of Huda Al-Ateeqi and ThinkUp GCC

Dr. Naif Al Mutawa's son with actor John Rhys Davies
Game of Throne’s star Jason Mamoa, center, with fans
An attendee dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow
ThinkUpGCC at the Middle East Film and Comic Convention
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