Amin Abbas Dubai
Saudi animator and illustrator Farah Arif worked on the recently released Saudi/Japanese anime series called the Future’s Folktales, or Asatir: Mirai no Mukashibanashi.
The animated series was broadcast on Arab TV channels MBC1 and SpaceToon. Arif said she started working with Manga Productions in 2018, an affiliated company of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman “Misk” Foundation.
“We collaborated with TOEI animation, by working together closely from pre-production to post-production outputs. We provided their team with the storyline, scripts and worked on character designs to ensure it matches our rich culture,” she told Arab News Japan.
“I am very happy with people's reactions towards our show, especially the children's reactions. After the show ended, we decided to create a wholesome video for Eid Al Fitr,” Arif added. “I had the opportunity to lead the production team during the project and with the support of my colleagues and I was a co-director with Mr. Masami Shimoda, the audience fell in love with it.”
Arif said it was her “dream come true,” for her work to be shown on television screens across the Middle East.
“We will be premiering the first Saudi/Japanese animation movie called ‘The Journey’ at Cannes Film Festival, and currently airing our first animation series ‘Future’s Folktales’ on various channels and platforms in the region as well as globally,” she said.
Arif told Arab News Japan that once she joined Manga Productions, she had the opportunity to visit Japan for projects and internships.
“I toured around many neighborhoods including Odaiba, Akihabara, and visited Disneyland. Odaiba had beautiful scenery and Akihabara is a hub for all anime and games merchandise,” she said.
Arif said she started her career in animation when she was 12 years old and faced challenges in teaching herself the skills needed.
“The big challenge for me was learning on my own because back then, there were no programs or courses in animation or drawing. Teaching yourself how to draw and animate while infiltrating the industry was difficult. I’m so glad things are different now and the industry is growing in Saudi Arabia and the region,” she added.