William Shatner, Karl Urban, Thirty Seconds to Mars and more pop culture
Time Out Dubai staff
Last year, MEFCC outdid itself with a stellar programme of guests and exhibitors that included Marvel Comics, Seth Green, Giancarlo Esposito and C.B Cebulski, plus a live Skype session with the amazing Stan Lee. A Power League Gaming arena held competitive and open tournaments of Dota 2, FIFA 14 and Titanfall, while a schedule of film screenings, panels and workshops (including one on how to create your own fake cuts and scars) took place and celebrity guests hosted meet and greets.
As the event grows for 2015, organisers are targeting a whopping 50,000 visitors. So dust off your costumes and head to Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9 to 11 for a weekend of pop-culture, comics and cosplay.
William Shatner The headline guest for 2015 needs little introduction. Perhaps most widely known for his role as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, over the course of his more than 50-year career, he’s starred in countless movies including six Star Trek films, and Miss Congeniality, not to mention famous series such as The Defenders and Twilight Zone, and, more recently, Emmy Award-winning Boston Legal.
Karl Urban Known for his role as Éomer in the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in Star Trek, and Judge Dredd in Dredd.
Kelly Hu Kelly Hu is currently playing China White on the upcoming CW series, Arrow. Her long list of credits include voicing the character of Stacy on animated series Phineas and Ferb, guest starring in CSI, and recurring roles in countless other series including Army Wives and Vampire Diaries. In 2003 she was part of X-Men 2’s all-star cast – plus she has a black belt in karate.
Max Landis Back for the fourth time, since his appearance at last year’s event, Landis has made his directional debut with Me, Him, Her, directed a music video for Ariana Grande and undertaken three huge film projects: Victor Frankenstein (starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy), American Ultra (starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart) and Mr. Right (starring Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick). In addition to hosting the popular cosplay competition, he will also be taking part in a Q&A.
Livio Ramondelli The brilliant artist behind Transformers for IDW Publishing, his other notable credits include Autocracy, Monstrosity, Primacy and Robots in Disguise, among others. His credentials include design work for DC Universe Online under Jim Lee at WildStorm Productions in addition to covers for Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Skan Srisuwan Srisuwan recently co-founded Studio HIVE, which provides comic production, concepts and illustrations among other things. The studio’s first project was with the one and only Stan Lee on Romeo and Juliet: The War. He’s now well known for his design work on projects such as statues for XM Studios including Magneto on Sentinel Throne.
Denis Medri Medri is a comic artist, illustrator and concept designer as well as being the creator of Arcade Boy – the popular comic series published by Dark Horse Comics.
Long Vo The legendary founder of the biggest anime online community and gaming site Gaia Online.
Andy Suriano The Emmy Award-winning artist and creator is currently the artists for IDW’s Samurai Jack and has worked on Star Wars: Clone Wars, Batman: Brave & the Bold and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Danny Choo The producer of Culture Japan – a brand that shares Japanese culture with the world – will be talking manga, anime, games and more. There will also be the change to meet him in this year’s Renovada Manga Town.
Caitlin Glass Glass has been working in the anime industry for more than ten years. Well known for her numerous voice acting roles, which include Triela in Gunslinger Girl, Evergreen in Fairy Tail, Yakumo in School Rumble and Kim in Soul Eater, she has also directed the popular Ouran High School Host Club.
Jeff Gomez CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Gomez has been hugely influential in the pop culture industry. Don’t miss the chance to gain insight from someone who has contributed to the planning and production of major blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar and The Amazing Spider-Man, not to mention his work on Microsoft’s Halo. His inspirational career has also included work to support social, educational, and geo-political causes, consulting on a number of projects in countries like Mexico, Colombia and Afghanistan.
Claudio Castellini The first Italian author to work for Marvel Comics, Castellini became one of the most important figures in the comic book industry, thanks to his work that includes Fantastic Four Unlimited, a Silver Surfer graphic novel, Spider-Man and becoming official cover artist of the series Batman: Gotham Knights.
Des Taylor Pop artist, comic book illustrator, designer and founder of his own print and comic art company DESPOP, he has worked with huge names including DC Entertainment, Michael Jackson, Hamley’s and ITV Studios America.
MEFCC is one of the best places to discover the incredible amount of creative talent to be found in the Middle East, bringing guests from across the region such as founder of ThinkUp PR Saleh Al Braik, popular retro pop artist Mel Pickup, illustrator and character designer Joumana Ismail and Emirati artists and designer Fatima Al Muhairi, who graduated from the Cartoon Network Animation Academy.
Ashraf Ghori, the award-winning artist and filmmaker of Xpanse CGI, who produced the first CGI sci-fi film in the Gulf, Xero Error, will also be attending, and returning to the event this year will be Mo Abedin – the Emirati artist behind Foo Dog and curator of 2014’s Art Wars exhibit.
Be sure to check out the work of Jalal Luqman, one of the UAE’s most significant artists. He has held contemporary art exhibits across the world from Kuwait and Egypt to Tokyo, New York and Beijing. He will be talking about his latest project from the Domain Entertainment stand, a graphic novel titled Armagondas that has been 20 years in the making.
If you want to pick up a truly unique piece of art, this is the place to go. Artist Alley is crammed full, year upon year, with some of the region’s best, coolest and quirkiest artists selling everything from pop art prints, paintings, models and apparel to books, comics or photography and anything else you can think of.
Cosplay is ‘the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime’, and last year’s competition was one of the biggest and most impressive yet. Everyone from Darthvader, Goku and Wonderwoman to a gigantic Warhammer and Frozen’s Elsa took to the stage. This is one of Comic Con’s definitely-not-to-be-missed events: hosted by Max Landis and judged by some of the biggest names in cosplay, it’s guaranteed to be one of the most entertaining shows you see this year.
Thirty Seconds to Mars
In one of the most exciting announcements so far, it was revealed that Thirty Seconds to Mars – made up of brothers Jared and Shannon Leto and guitarist Tomo Milicevic – will be performing at the DWTC Arena on Friday April 10. The band has sold more than five million albums worldwide and fans can look forward to hearing hit singles such as ‘From Yesterday’, ‘Kings and Queens’, and ‘This Is War’. For more information visit, www.MARSindubai.com or www.mefcc.com/tickets/. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ae. Middle East Film and Comic Con will run from April 9-11, Dubai World Trade Centre, Zabeel Halls 1, 2 and 3. For more information and tickets visit www.mefcc.com.