Building Bridges In Iraq - Promoting Tolerance Through Animation

David here, and I wanted to tell you all a little story.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to do a small virtual talk for a few fans of comics and art in Tunis, Tunisia. That's in North Africa, and coincidently, it was on the 40th anniversary of the filming of Star Wars in Tunisia. George Lucas had shot many of his Tatooine scenes in the deserts there back in 1976.

Needless to say, Tunisians are big Star Wars fans! I was invited to do a talk on all things art, animation and visual effects. The talk was done through Skype, and we showed off some very, very cool stuff: how to use Blender, how visual effects work, and how to animate using our favorite characters, Ray & Clovis.

Fast-forward to 2018 and our team has now done talks in Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands and Algeria. Today, we're proud to add one more location to that list:



I spoke to animation enthusiasts in Iraq!

Thanks to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, IREX - Higher Education, and one fantastic interpreter, I was able to talk directly to Iraqis about animation, the visual effects industry, and how they, too, could create art and animation in Blender. I even learned how to say "Ray & Clovis" in Arabic!

I love doing talks like this because I get to watch inspiration happen firsthand. Teaching the secrets behind animation, games and visual effects, I can see minds opening and new ideas forming. This inspiration-by-entertainment process is the same wherever I go.

At Theory, the core of our mission is simple: great artists can come from anywhere. We've always strived to be a home for artists and storytellers working from around the world, giving them a place to flourish, pitch ideas and grow.

Today's talk reinforced that mission. The enthusiasm for entertainment I saw is the same in Albuquerque as it is in Erbil. Inspiration can happen to anyone anywhere.

As the co-founder of Theory Studios, I'm proud to have spoken to this next generation of artists and storytellers. Today's talk was the next step in building an important bridge with our friends in the Middle East, and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.

But you don't have to be a studio founder or a AAA game developer in order to inspire others. Every day, you have a chance to inspire someone. It can be as simple as writing an old friend an email, listening to a story from a stranger, or talking movies with a classmate or coworker.

It's really that simple!

Here's to building the next generation of animators in a beautiful country.


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