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SCENIC to push animation industry in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU, 29 Sept 2021: Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC) is set to propel the state’s animation industry forward as it becomes Malaysia’s first Toon Boom Authorised Training Centre.

Toon Boom is an innovative animation software that is used by world-class animation companies such as Disney, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. Animation.

Such an achievement is part of the centre’s five years plan under the Creative Chamber to guide creative talents in Sabah in the animation’s field through a human capital development programme.

Its General Manager, Viviantie Sarjuni said navigating SCENIC is not merely organising programmes for the people but requires a great understanding of the talent and industry landscape in Sabah apart from measuring the effectiveness of a programme over time.

“Last April, a discussion on the direction of SCENIC for the next five years was organised and it was attended by 18 SCENIC Advisory Bodies. The blueprint paper has been completed and is ready to be implemented until 2025.

“The Advisory Body is made up of highly skilled industry professionals who have established themselves in their fields both in Malaysia and internationally. They assist SCENIC in the implementation of projects that are consistent with the vision and mission of each of our key thrusts,” she explained.

Representatives from 18 SCENIC Advisory Bodies attending a discussion on the direction of SCENIC for the next five years in April, this year.

Viviantie said this during the virtual launching of SCENIC’s Five Years Blueprint, today. The launch was also attended by Sabah Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation Permanent Secretary, Jasmine Teo; Deputy Permanent Secretary 1, Zainudin Aman; and Deputy Permanent Secretary 2, Henry Idol.

The virtual event was also witnessed by Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Chief Executive Officer Mahadzir Aziz, Studio Ace Production Chief Executive Officer Sinn Chun Hou @ Geoffrey, and Toon Boom’s representative.

SCENIC’s key thrusts are Creative Chamber, Technology and Innovation, and Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship.

Viviantie noted the centre identified 13 main strategies and 26 initiatives that cover aspects of human capital development and how talent, the discovery of new technologies, and innovations can help drive Sabah’s economy.

“We hope these initiatives can be carried out successfully for Sabah people through the collaboration of various stakeholders because the work of developing a state, in which the demographics are very different from other states is not an easy task,” she added.

Viviantie Sarjuni

In commending SCENIC’s achievement, Jasmine said the initiative to bring animation technology to Sabah was an example of cooperation between community developers, corporate and governments that should be emulated by all sectors.

“The state government is very pleased with this cooperation and welcomes the involvement of experts from various industries as well as institutions of higher learning to jointly drive the development of the technology and innovation agenda in Sabah to increase the state’s economic results.

“On behalf of the Ministry, I am very happy to hear the good news and developments in the animation sector which is one of the sectors that is also supported by the Ministry,” she said.

Jasmine Teo

The Toon Boom Authorised Training Centre led by SCENIC has started working with Toon Boom Animation – an animation software company based in Canada and specialising in animation production and storyboard software.

Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro and Harmony brought by SCENIC to Sabah have been used as part of the process of making Netflix’s first animated film ‘Klaus’, which has received various awards including Academy Awards and Oscar nominations.

“There is no shortage of creative potential in Sabah. It is not impossible that we may one day be able to produce world-class animation on par with international production.

“In addition, by training animation talents in Sabah we can also provide more job opportunities to them due to the network support available to Toon Boom and its community,” concluded Jasmine.

In congratulating SCENIC, Mahadzir said Malaysia’s digital development plays an important role in helping the country achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for the people as stated in the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.

“MDEC and SCENIC share a common mission in driving local creativity and technological growth as well as contributing to the national economy.

“We appreciate the value and impact that SCENIC contributes to the digital ecosystem in Sabah. In its first year of operation, SCENIC has impacted over 3,500 talents from Sabah through programmes co-organised with MDEC and a network of ecosystem partners.”

Mahadzir Aziz

Speaking on Sabah’s animation industry, Geoffrey said it was still at infancy stage with only a handful of animation company operating in the state, adding Sabah needs a platform to provide local talent with opportunity and exposure to compete with global market.

“We are proud to see Malaysian flag among other international countries like United States, Italy, and Canada on Toon Boom website. This means there’s plenty of opportunity to be competent global talent and to upgrade our profile to build more demand for our work.”

Sinn Chun Huo @ Geoffrey

Meanwhile, Toon Boom Animation’s sales agent business development (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia & Brunei) Sylvain Grisollet said animation talents in Sabah can now obtain animation skills with training from real industry professional in industry standard software as well as Toon Boom’s Story Board Pro and Harmony.

Sylvain Grisollet

“This is a great opportunity for animation talents at all levels. Whether high school graduates or diploma and bachelor degree graduates, who want to complete animation training and be better ready to join in the industry or even existing professional, who wants to upskill with Toon Boom  software.

“SCENIC will be the place in Sabah to take your skills to next level and fast track your way to the industry,” he said.

Since its operation in April 2020, SCENIC has successfully organised various initiatives with related stakeholders and collaborated with 150 strategic partners. Its programmes and collaborations have benefited the Sabah people, with around RM1.5 million in investment and funds being provided to talents and entrepreneurs in the state thus far.

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