Arafaat Ali Khan, co-founder of the Middle East Film and Comic Con, talks cosplay, unique art and geeks
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?
That’s potentially the most difficult question you could ask. It’s impossible to recommend just one thing, there’s so much happening. We’ve got Funko and Netflix attending with exclusives for the very first time, lots of amazing merchandise stands and some great workshops and talks. However, if I have to choose one, then I’ll go for an area rather than one stand: Artists’ Alley. The amount of talent and utterly unique products on display – and on sale – here will be absolutely astounding.
How has Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) developed?
It’s happened at quite a rate. The region shouted loud and clear that it was a nation of geeks back in 2012 – and we were glad to hear it. We really weren’t sure what to expect at that first event, but managed to attract over 14,000 visitors. That has since grown to over 60,000 in recent years.
Cosplay is a huge part of the scene, how does Dubai shape up?
I remember seeing one of our top regional cosplayers, Vega, bring the house down at the very first MEFCC in 2012 with his Jin Kazama cosplay from Tekken. He had built a set of wings that actually opened up from his back.
Let’s cut to the chase – which celebrities are coming?
We have big names. There’s Stranger Things star Natalia Dyer who plays Nancy Wheeler, and Game of Thrones star Kristian Nairn who plays Hodor. We also have Karl Urban, who’s played heroic characters like Eomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, McCoy in the latest Star Trek movies and Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok.
What top tip can you give us?
Consider picking up an Al Awal Premium Pass. This will get you in every day, fast-track you through the event and give you a host of other goodies. The best part? One Pass holder will get a special portrait drawn by The Simpsons’ annimator, Phil Ortiz, during the show.