SpaceToon ani studio a go for launch

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- It was hard to tell who was more excited, SpaceToon president and CEO Fayez Weiss Alsabagh, speaking at a press conference to announce plans of his company's expansion, or the assembled hoard of media hacks, who were presented with, among other items, their own "Fulla" toy doll to play with.

Ignoring the clicks and clacks of fully moveable body parts, the CEO, speaking in both Arabic and English, unveiled plans for SpaceToon Media Group -- one of the most recognizable media brands in the Middle East -- to set up its regional headquarters at the Dubai Studio City, a member of TECOM Investments.

"The base at Dubai Studio City will be the main office for SpaceToon in the Middle East," Weiss Alsabagh said, "bringing with it experience from around the world."

An integrated media company involved in TV, radio, licensing, merchandising, online and interactive products, SpaceToon holds the rights to the largest library of Arabic dubbed animated cartoons in the region.

Jamal Al Sharif, director of DSC, also speaking at the conference, said that the expansion plans of SpaceToon were in line with the development of the media industry within the United Arab Emirates.

"SpaceToon started with only one channel, which broadcast only in the Middle East area," Al Shar said. "The growth of Dubai and the UAE in terms of media industry has to be respected; therefore SpaceToon is ready to grow internationally."

The DSC director said he was proud that SpaceToon was relocating its headquarters and expanding its operation to Dubai Studio City, adding that having SpaceToon at DSC will "add value to the city."

SpaceToon president Weiss Alsabagh also revealed that alongside the expansion plans to DSC, SpaceToon will also be launching SpaceToon Animation College, the first institution of its kind in the Middle East, which will offer courses in 2-D and 3-D animation technology.

"The courses, which will teach 3D multimedia and aspects of the movie business, will be run by a Canadian company and will commence 18 months from now," Weiss Alsabagh said. "An average course will last 2 1/2 years, and will give students the chance to be employed (in animation)."

Weiss Alsabagh went on to say that the new headquarters and college represent an investment of "$10 million."
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