The internationally acclaimed films Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir only hinted at the vibrant animation culture that exists within the Middle East and North Africa. In spite of censorship, oppression and war, animation studios have thrived in recent years - in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Turkey - giving rise to a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and artists.
The success of animation in the Middle East is in part a product of a changing cultural climate, which is increasingly calling for art that reflects politics. Equally, the professionalization and popularization of film festivals and the emergence of animation studios and private initiatives are the results of a growing consumer culture, in which family-friendly entertainment is big business. Animation in the Middle East uncovers the history and politics that have defined the practice and study of animation in the Middle East, and explores the innovative visions of contemporary animators in the region.