ANIMATION IN AFRICA AND THE ARAB WORLD From Geneses to Present Day: Challenges and Perspectives



The #Democratic_Arabic_Center based in Germany – Berlin, is pleased to announce the First  International  Conference on


From Geneses to Present Day: Challenges and Perspectives

Date: November 2-3, 2024

Location: Zoom + In-person at the University of Kairouan-Tunisia

N.B:  Participation is free of charge

In collaboration with – Partners

  • Faculty of Fine-Arts, University of Babylon IRAK
  • Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers de Kairouan-University of Kairouan-Tunisia
  • Festival International du Cinéma d’Animation de Kairouan


 Conference Chair: Dr Maya BEN AYED Research Fellow at The Centre d’Histoire Sociale des mondes contemporains (UMR:8058 CNRS, Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), France


Chair Woman of the Scientific Comittee : Dr Faten RIDENE Film Studies Teacher-reseacher at the Université of Jendouba-Tunisie- Official representative of the Arab-Berlin-German Democratic Center in Tunisia-.Member of the international ranking Committee of Université de Jendouba.


Honored Committee

  • Pr Amer Sabah ALMARZUK,  Dean of the University of de Babylon-Irak
  • MA Dr Abdelaziz Smida University of  Kairouan-Tunisia
  • Mme Raja KMICHA Président and fonder of the festival international du cinéma d’animation de Kairouan-Tunisie
  •  Pr. Ammar Sharaan, Head of Democratic Arabic Center, Berlin-Germany

Conference management

  • MC Dr Bahia ZEMNI,  Université Princesse Noura Bent Abderrahman, Arabie Saoudite
  • Dr Imene BEN HASSINE, University of Kairouan, Tunisia
  • Abir BEN WAHHADA, Universityof Carthage, Tunisia
  • Dorra DAALOUL, University of Kairouan, Tunisia
  • Dr Karim AICHE, Democratic Arabic Center, Berlin-Germany
  • Dr Ahmed BOHKOU, Democratic Arabic Center, Berlin-Germany

The Scope of the Conference

Arab and African animation has come into the spotlight, gaining more visibility in international festivals by virtue of a renewal of interest and curiosity for these societies since the popular uprising of 2011.  Despite being noticed and/or awarded at the most prestigious festivals (Annecy, Cannes, the Berlinale) as the subject of exclusive cultural events, animation is rarely approached as an exclusive study object but often as a cultural product that highlights the socio-political upheavals in the region

Animation Studies in the Arab world, and even more so on the African continent, are still in their embryonic stage, despite a renaissance of the genre and the production’s boom since the early 2000s accompanying the technological revolution

The “democratization” of digital tools has freed the practice of this artistic expression and technique from the financial and technical constraints specific to the genre (Rostrum camera, filmstrip, etc.)

Maureen Furniss (2007) noted this marginal status of animation at university compared to “the other” cinema until the late 1980s. The author sheds light on the context of emergence of Animation Studies in the United States. She explains this in terms of the influence of postmodernism on media studies, which legitimized the study of popular forms of art and entertainment (wrongly considered less “serious”), on the one hand, and the urgent need to document and trace the “evanescent” memory of this art form, on the other

Somewhat paradoxically, it’s hugely the mass-market and commercial cinemas, with their hegemonic presence on both large and small screens, which mostly mobilized discourses and writings on the genre. State cinemas such as Canadian animation, mainly supported by the National Film Board, or Eastern European cinemas benefiting from a privileged status under socialist regimes (compared to other countries) find themselves on the bangs of animation literature. Even though they are not lacking in “visibility”: international recognition, prizes, and awards at festivals (S. Bahun: 2014, Ü. Pikkov: 2018, M. Jean: 2008)

Animated films from Africa and the Arab world are at the edges of the margins of film and animation studies despite the fact that the animation’s genesis in these cultural and geographical areas goes back to the early years of the last century. One of the continent’s first animated films was made in 1915 in South Africa by the American Harold Shaw, The Artist’s Dream (Bendazzi, 2015). Egyptian animation was also a pioneer in Africa and the Arab world, with the Frenkel Brothers’ Mish-Mish Effendi, Belarusian immigrants in Egypt whose first opus dates from 1936. This experience would be followed by Dokdok in 1940, directed by the Egyptian Antoine Selim Ibrahim who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s where he joined the Hanna Barbara Studios as an animator.    The decade of the 1960s, when many of these nations gained independence, also marked the birth of African and Arab cinema

In 1961, the Moheeb brothers, Cairo School of Fine Arts graduates, founded an animation department in Egyptian television (Ghazala, 2021). The cartoonist Mohamed Aram, who self-taught to produce animated shorts for Algerian television, headed the animation department founded in 1964 at the Centre National du Cinéma. The same year, 1965, saw the production of the first African films: La mort de Gandji by Nigerian filmmaker MoustaphaAlassane during his study period at the National Film Board (Canada), and La rentrée des classes by Tunisian filmmaker Mongi Sancho as part of an association (Association des Jeunes Cinéastes Tunisiens, which became the Fédération Tunisienne des Cinéastes amateurs in 1968). Like many of Tunisia’s animation pioneers, Mongi Sancho left to complete his studies in Bulgaria in 1967 (Ben Ayed, 2019)

This is also the case for the pioneers of animation in the Levant, Syrian cartoonist Mwafak Katt, who graduated from the VGIK in 1982 and made the first Syrian animated film, Juha Fi Al-Mahkameh, for television in 1985, and Iraqi filmmaker Fayçal al-Yasiri, who graduated in television directing in Vienna and worked for East German (ex-GDR) television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, made the first Arab animated feature film, The Princess and the River, in 1982. At the end of the 1980s, Congolese animation pioneer Jean Michel Kibushi, who graduated in film studies from Kinshasa’s National Institute of the Arts and received animation training from the Belgian company Atelier Garphoui, founded the Malembe Maa animation film studio. In addition to producing the director’s works, the mobile studio organizes workshops for young people. The aim is to promote animation as a natural extension of Congolese cultural forms and heritage (Callus, 2010). At the same time, in 1989, Malian director MambayeCoulibaly directed an animation film, La geste de Ségou, which was, as far as we know, the first of its kind in the country

African and Arab animation, though still little known today, is an integral part of the global history of animation. Although it emerged at different times in this vast region, its genesis, and evolution were strongly influenced by tricontinental internationalism and the pan-African and pan-Arab movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Tunisian capital, at the crossroads of two African and Arab cultures, and its JCC (1966), along with FESPACO (1969) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, were spaces for reflection and aesthetic debate on the educational and artistic vocation of cinema and its mission to awaken consciousness in the countries of the South. What has become of this heritage in today’s global age

The primary aim of this conference is to bring attention to film production that is still barely explored in film discursive practices and to expand the existing knowledge base on film and animation. The vulnerability of early movies due to the use of the silver medium, the loss of pioneers like Mohamed Aram and Moustapha Alassane, and the transience of contemporary works, such as web animations created exclusively for the Internet and quickly overshadowed by the constant flow of information, all contribute to the urgency of documenting these cinemas. There is a pressing need to record the history of animation in these unexplored regions and to integrate it into the global narrative of this art form and the cultural and heritage history of these societies

The second objective is to map the theoretical field of African and Arab animation by approaching it as a whole. By “a whole”, we mean not only the final artwork but the whole ecosystem involved in its production, from the training of its authors to the various circuits of its distribution. This conference will focus on its inherent hybridity (between art and technology), its multi-layered filiations with other artistic expressions, its marginal status as a practice and in film studies, and how animation can be a social witness to major transformations

Research Axes

  1. Animation in Africa and the Arab World : an uncharted territory
  • National and Regional Animation: Early Cinema and Pioneer Portraits
  • The historiography of an Art: Animation-specific blurring of boundaries between different artistic forms (theater, film, visual arts)
  • Afro-ArabAvant-Garde: Legacies of the Pan-Africanist and Pan-Arabist Movements of the 1960s and 1970s: affiliations and disruptions
  1. Legacy, national and regional identity(ies) and contemporary practices
  • « Pervasive Animation », Hybridity and Transmedia: Animation at the Crossroads of Disciplines, Artistic Expressions, and New Media. From puppetry, shadow’s theater to video games, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality
  • Animation at the intersection of creativity and technicality: the cross-fertilization between graphic designers/visual artists and video processing and web development technicians
  • Identity and heritage: Animation film as a tool for the promotion of cultural heritage. African and Arab cultural heritage (oral traditions of storytellers, griots, fdawi hakawati, Karagöz shadow theater, Puppet Theater) as a source and material for the construction of a singular national, regional, and transnational imaginary
  1. Teaching animation at the African and Arab universities: overview and approaches
  • Status and comparative approaches, public/private training
  • Associative environments as a training ground on the margins of the academic space: examples: Tunisian film clubs (FTCA and FTCC), ASIFA by country
  1. The changing ways of financing, producing, and distributing in the global era. Constraints, challenges, and prospects that are specific to the genre
  • The neoliberal economic policies of the mid-nineties, the end of state protectionism, and the digital revolution: the consequences for the film industry, especially animation in African and Arab countries
  • Flows and movements of people/creators and “animation workforce” abroad due to lack of means and production structures or as a result of political/armed crises, etc. Attractiveness of certain countries for African and Arab animators and filmmakers (Gulf countries, Europe and the Americas)
  • The State cinema versus an “independent” cinema. “Independent”/transregional/transnational financial support funds for creation since 2000
  • Transnational platforms of creations: associations, artist collectives
  • New ways of circulation and venues of films in the World age: Film festivals, specialized festivals, animation in art galleries, exclusively online diffusion, and other new medias
  1. Animated films as a source of knowledge documenting Arab and African societies. Social witnesses and historical documents in the same way as documentaries and other film genres
  • Memory and historical narratives and the docu-animation example
  • Animation and crisis(es): The revival of a genre a causal links
    • Webanim documenting the 2011 revolutionary episode in the Arab world
    • Global health crisis of 2020. Lockdown: from hybridity to animation as the alternative

Selective bibliography

AKINYEMI, Akintunde& FALOLA, Toyin.The Palgrave Handbook of African Oral Traditions and Folklore.Allemagne: Springer International Publishing, 2021

 ALAKILI, Hussein. MediologiaAflamAltahrik. Babel, Irak: Dar Al-FouratThaqafawa Al Ilam, 2024

Alrimawi, Tarek. “Challenges Facing the Arab Animation Cinema”. In: Lee, N. (eds) Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games. Springer, Cham, 2015

BAHUN, Sanja. The Human and the Possible: Animation in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, 1960-1980. In: Cinema, State Socialism and Society in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1917-1989 Re-Visions. BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. London: Routledge, 2014

BARRES, Patrick. Le cinéma d’animation, un cinéma d’expérience plastique. Paris : Éditions l’Harmattan, 2006

BAZZOLI, Maria Silvia (Ed.). African Cartoons. Il cinema di animazione in Africa. Milano: Il Castoro, 2003

BEN AYED, Maya. Le cinéma d’animation en Tunisie (1965-1995). Un cinéma de la marge en contexte autoritaire. Paris :L’Harmattan, 2019

BENDAZZI, Giannalberto. Animation: A World History: Volume I: Foundations – The Golden Age. États-Unis: CRC Press, 2015

BENDAZZI, Giannalberto. Animation: A World History: Volume III: Contemporary Times. ÉtatsUnis : CRC Press, 2015

BUCHAN, Suzanne (Ed). Pervasive Animation.London :Routeledge, 2013

CALLUS, Paula. “Animation as a Socio-Political Commentary: An Analysis of the Animated Films of Congolese Director Jean Michel Kibushi (2010)”. Journal of African Media Studies, Vol 2, No. 1, Intellect Publishers, 2010

CHERIAA, Tahar. “La politique et le cinéma dans les pays arabes et africains”. Cinéma 71, Mars 1971 : 99-109

CONVENTS, Guido. HUYSMANS, Guido & KIBUSHI, Jean-Michel. Images & animation : le cinéma d’animation en Afrique Centrale, introduction au cinéma d’animation en République Démocratique du Congo, au Rwanda et au Burundi. Pays-Bas: Afrikafilmfestival, 2014

COTTE, Olivier. 100 ans de cinéma d’animation: La fabuleuse aventure du film d’animation à travers le monde. N.p., Dunod, 2023

DENIS, Sébastien. Le cinéma d’animation. Paris : Édition Armand Colin, 2007

DIAWARA, Manthia. “Popular Culture and Oral Traditions in African Film”.Film Quartely 41, no3. Spring 1998: 6-14

DIAWARA, Manthia. African Cinema: Politics and Culture. États-Unis: Indiana University Press, 1992

FURNISS, Maureen. Art in Motion.Animation Aesthetics. London: John Libbey Publishing, 2007

GHAZELA, Mohamed. Animation in Africa. Egypt: Luxor African Film Festival, 2021

JEAN, Marcel. “Le cinéma d’animation au Québec : État de la recherche et de la production”, in: Nouvelles vues n° 7, revue sur la théorie et les pratiques du cinéma au Québec, 2008. URL : http://www.cinema-quebecois.net/index.php/articles/7/jean_quebec_animation, Site qui n’est plus référencé [consulté le 15 mai 2011]. Texte disponible en ligne : URL : https://nouvellesvues.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/NVCQ7Jean.pdf

KABORÉ, Gaston & MARTIN, Micahel T (Ed.). African Cinema: Manifesto and Practice for Cultural Decolonization: Volume 1: Colonial Antecedents, Constituents, Theory, and Articulations. États-Unis: Indiana University Press, 2023

KORNHABER, Donna. Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film. Royaume-Uni: University of Chicago Press, 2020

LAMARRE, Thomas. The anime machine.A media theory of animation. USA: University of Minnesota Press, 2009

MADICHIE, Nnamdi O., & HINSON, Robert Ebo. The Creative Industries and International Business Development in Africa.Royaume-Uni : EmeraldPublishing Limited, 2022. OUÉDRAOGO, Jean. Figuration et mémoire dans les cinémas africains. Paris :L’Harmattan, 2011

PIKKOV, Ülo. Anti-Animation: Textures of East European Animated Film. Tallinn: EstonianAcademy of Arts, 2018

RIDENE, Faten. “La recherche scientifique en patrimoine cinématographique en Tunisie: l’état des lieux et les recours possibles”. In : H.B Labbed (Ed.), International Journal of Cultural Linguistic and Artistic Studies, V7 (27). Berlin Germany: 2023: 538-559

SAKR, Naomi & STEEMERS, Jeanette (Ed).Children’s Television and Digital Media in the Arab World. London: I.B. Tauris, 2017

SAWADOGO, Boukary. African Film Studies: An Introduction. Royaume-Uni: Taylor & Francis, 2018

SCOGGIN Lisa & PLANK Dana (Ed.). The Intersection of Animation, Video Games, and Music: Making Movement Sing.Royaume-Uni: Routledge, 2023

SHAFIK, Viola. Arab Cinema, History and cultural identity. Cairo/ New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 1988 (5th edition, Egypt 2005)

TAURA, Nasiru D. BOLAT, Elvira & MADICHIE, Nnamdi O. Digital Entrepreneurship in SubSaharan Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects. Allemagne : Springer International Publishing, 2019

TOLAN-SZKILNIK, Paraska.Maghreb Noir.The Militant-Artists of North Africa and the Struggle for a Pan-African, Postcolonial Future.Allemagne: Stanford University Press, 2023

VAN DE PEER, Stefanie(Ed). Animation in the Middle East.Practice and Aesthetics from Baghdad to Casablanca.London: IB Tauris, 2017

L’industrie du film en Afrique: Tendances, défis et opportunités de croissance.N.p., UNESCO Publishing, 2021

Scientific Committee

  • Prof. Sahbi ALLANI, Faculty of Arts and Letters of Unayzah, El Qasim University-KSA
  • Mohamed Adlane BEN JILALI, University of Oran 1 Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria
  • Azelarab QORCHI, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences (FLSH) Agadir, Ibn Zohr University, Morocco
  • Aïssa RASSELMA, Faculty of Letters and Arts, University of Oran1 Ahmed Ben Balla, Algeria
  • Yolanda Guardi, University of Turin, Italy
  • ElieYAZBEK,Director IESAV – Saint Joseph University, LEBANON
  • Sana Jammali, University of Sousse, Tunisia
  • Ikbel Charfi, University of Sfax, Tunisia
  • Ahmed Gamaleddine Bilal, University of Muscat, Oman
  • MondherSamehMuhamed Al Attum, Yarmouk University, Jordan
  • Abdelaziz AMRAOUI, Cadi AyyadUniversity, Morocco
  • MCF Murat Akser, School of Arts and Humanities, Ulster University, Ireland
  • MCF Toufic EL KHOURI, IESAV-Saint Joseph University USJ – Beirut, Lebanon
  • MCF Privat Roch TAPSOBA, UFR-LAC, Joseph Ki-Zerbo University, Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO
  • MCF Hassen ZRIBA, Editor-in-Chief (IJHCS), ISEAH Higher Institute of Applied Studies in Humanities, Gafsa University, TUNISIA
  • MCF Delphe KIFOUANI, UGB-SL-Gaston Berger University, Saint-Louis, SENEGAL
  • Amer Sabah ALMARZUK, Dean of Babylon University, Iraq
  • Hafedh Rekik, Quassim University, Saudi Arabia
  • HaythamNawar, Director, Diriyah Art Futures
  • Hamid Tbatou, IbnZohr University, Morocco
  • Mohamed Ghazela, IFFAT University, Saudi Arabia
  • Tarek Ben Chabane, University of Carthage, Tunisia
  • OuafaOuarniki, University of Guelma, Algeria
  • Anis Semlali, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
  • MCF Anouar Ben Khalifa, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • MCF Chiraz KILANI, Virtual University, Tunisia
  • MCF Manoubia BEN GHEDAHOM, University of Carthage, Tunisia
  • MCF Samira OUALHAZI, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • MCF Mohammad Badeer, Tlemcen University, Algeria
  • A. Maya Ben Ayed, Center for Social History of Contemporary Worlds, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
  • A. Yazan Ibrahim ALAMARAT, Petra University, Amman, Jordan
  • A. AmiraTurki, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • MA Stefanie Van de Peer, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, UK
  • A. Ali Chamseddine, University of Gabès, Tunisia
  • A. Imene SAMET, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • A. Omar Alawi, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • A FatenRidene, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • A. FatenHamdi, University of Jendouba, Tunisia
  • A. Wassim Al-Jamal, University of Sfax, Tunisia
  • A. Ali MawloudFadel, Al-Esraa University, Iraq
  • A Mohamed Abdelwaheb YOUSSEFI, University of Manar, Tunisia
  • A Ahlem HAMED, University of Gabès, Tunisia

Author Guidelines

  1. Only original and unpublished articles are accepted for submission. Submitting an article to another conference or journal while it is under review here is strictly prohibited
  2. Authors must ensure their research is novel, in-depth, and intentional, adhering to scientific and methodological standards as per the APA guidelines
  3. Articles should be between 40,000 and 45,000 characters inclusive of references and appendices. The Word file should be saved in Word 365 format
  4. Regardless of the article’s language, an English abstract and an Arabic abstract must be included (translation assistance is available for non-Arabic speakers)
  5. Articles are accepted in English, Arabic, and French
  6. The research paper and abstract should be prepared in Word using the following fonts: Adobe Naskh Medium (16) for Arabic text. Calibri (Body) (12) for Latin languages. Font size 12 for Latin languages
  7. Duplicate submissions will not be accepted

Participation Fees

  • Free Participation
  • Participating presenters will receive an electronic copy of the conference proceedings. All presenters will receive a certificate of participation acknowledging their contribution to the conference. A selection of peer-reviewed and accepted articles will be published in a collective book with an international standard ISBN number. Authors of selected articles may have the option to publish their work in the International Scientific Conference Journal, an international peer-reviewed journal published by the #Arab Democratic Centre Germany – Berlin. This journal publishes research articles drawn from the proceedings of academic scientific conferences
  •  The views expressed in the submitted papers are solely those of the authors, who bear full responsibility for the authenticity of the data and any ensuing ethical and scientific integrity issues
  • Articles should be written in the first person singular

Submissions that meet the above conditions should be sent to the email


Important Dates

  • July 14, 2024 : Deadline by which contributors should submit their abstracts to  dr.faten-ridene@democraticac.de
  • Results of abstract review returned to authors by July 25, 2024
  • August 20, 2024: Submission Deadline of the full paper.
  • September 25, 2024: Results of full conference paper review returned to authors
  • October 10, 2024, Final articles should be sent to be published

Democratic Arabic Center For Strategic, Political & Economic Studies

Deutschland – Berlin

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