Superheroes assemble at new Abu Dhabi HQ

The Middle East Film and Comic Con 2022 settled into a new home base at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and visitor numbers were a marvel.

Hollywood actor Charlie Cox, who headlines Marvel's "Daredevil" TV show, was one of a host of celebrities who made an appearance at MEFCC 2022 in Abu Dhabi.
Hollywood actor Charlie Cox, who headlines Marvel's "Daredevil" TV show, was one of a host of celebrities who made an appearance at MEFCC 2022 in Abu Dhabi. Photo Credit: MEFCC

The Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) showcased its highly popular three-day extravaganza at its new home, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), in March this year.

Now into its tenth year, the MEFCC is the Middle East's largest pop culture festival, eagerly awaited and sought after by an avid fan community. The festival celebrates film and television, comic book culture, animation, and gaming as well as anime and cosplay, attracting fans of all ages. Since its inception in 2012, the event was held annually at the Dubai World Trade Centre but shifted to the Emirates' capital in 2022 where it has made a splashy debut.

The Informa Connect-organised event was housed in two halls at ADNEC and comprised of exhibition space, meet-and-greet areas, the main stage and activation areas. A designated "Artists Alley" provided a showcase for local and regional artists and creators while a "Party Plaza" took over one of ADNEC’s outdoor spaces. Additional entertainment was provided in the "Central Plaza," which featured a skate park, food truck zone, and an outdoor stage with DJ and dance performances.

The event attracted 24,000 unique visitors, more than 250 exhibitors and in excess of 200 media representatives as well as over 50 regional influencers. Visitors came from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the Northern Emirates as well as surrounding GCC countries, with nearly half (41%) of whom visited from Saudi Arabia.

Although attendance was down in comparison to pre-Covid iterations of the MEFCC, annual average MEFCC attendance figures had topped 45,000 in 2018, according to the Dubai World Trade Centre, the post-Covid 2022 turnout was still "higher than expected," according to an industry report.

Event highlights included celebrity meet-and-greets as well as panels from film and TV stars, workshops, entertainment and cosplay, dance and gaming competitions with top prizes of up to AED30,000 (US$8,000) awarded to winners.

Celebrities in attendance included fan favourites and actresses Nathalie Emanuel from HBO's Game of Thrones and Ming Na-Wen from Disney+'s The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Hollywood actors Barry Keoghan, Charlie Cox, and Michael Rooker from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and beyond. Creators and artists from publishers such as Marvel and DC were also on hand for workshops and panels.



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