Dr. Mohamed Ghazala from Egypt has been elected vice president of the International Association of Animation Films (ASIFA) for a three-year term, which ends in 2022. The elections were held in January among the 40 members of the international board of ASIFA, which represents more than 5,000 members in the field of animated films around the world. Sayoko Kinoshita, head of the Japanese chapter, was elected president of ASIFA; she will also serve a three-year term. Three other vice presidents from China, Austria and the US were also elected.
Dr. Ghazala is an assistant professor of animation and the chair of the Department of Visual and Digital Production at Effat University in Jeddah, which is the first in the Kingdom to teach film production, animation, screenwriting and interactive media. He has won several awards for his films, including the prize for Best Animation of the African Oscars (AMAA) in Nigeria 2010 for “Honyan’s Shoe.” He has also done a range of studies in the field of animated films, including writing two books — “Animation in the Arab World” and “Animation in Africa.”
ASIFA was founded in 1960 in Annecy, France as an association of individual animation artists, headed by Norman McLaren, a Scottish-Canadian animator, director and producer; and Paul Grimoult, a French animator. Since its founding 59 years ago, ASIFA has promoted the art of animation through a variety of activities: Supporting festivals, organizing training and educational workshops, creating archives, presenting annual awards such as the Annie Award in Hollywood, and celebrating the World Animation Day on Oct. 28 each year.
ASIFA has more than 40 branches around the world. The Arab and African branch, ASIFA Egypt, was established in Alexandria in 2008; it has launched a series of local and regional initiatives since its establishment.
These include organizing monthly performances at the Bibliotheca Alexandarina under the supervision of the late critic Samir Farid and also holding workshops with foreign animation artists in several Arab and African countries, such as Algeria, Ghana, South Africa, Libya, Comoros, Jordan, Cape Verde and Morocco, in addition to launching the ASIFA Egypt Prize for the best Egyptian, Arab and African film.