Sabah can be a hub for creativity and innovation


Siung Animation hires most of first batch of animators trained by SCENIC Creative Academy in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU (March 31): Talents in Sabah are an invaluable resource who, with proper training and guidance, can create world-class content.

In line with this vision, Siung Animation has recently hired 90 percent of the first batch of animators trained through the SCENIC Creative Academy.

Siung Animation is a production company that was founded in 2013 with a mission to bring the stories of the peoples of Borneo to the screen led by two experienced and talented directors, Jo Luping and Aaron Cowan.

Luping said the creative industry in Sabah has seen significant growth in recent years, with many local talents emerging and gaining recognition both locally and internationally.

“It is difficult to predict whether or not the creative industry in Sabah will grow as much as it has in developed countries. However, with the right support and investment, for example the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC) providing support through the Animation Academy, there is no reason why Sabah cannot become a hub for creativity and innovation in the region.

“It is a hugely promising sector that has seen significant growth in recent years. Animation in particular seems to be on an upward trajectory judging by the amount of projects Siung has received,” she said in a statement.

Jo, who is also a producer, said the company believes that with adequate training and support for new employees, regardless of their position, it would help them succeed in their roles.

“We value employees who are passionate about what they do, are committed, and are goal-oriented individuals. We definitely see these qualities in the newly recruited animators.

“We hope that they are able to align with the company culture and work environment. It goes back to the passion and commitment from each and every one. When you love what you do, you can do the job better and yield better results,” she said.

Though these new graduates have necessary animation skills, they need to spend many hours refining their craft to become more proficient at animation and storytelling.

Jo also said that under Siung Animation, these new graduates would also have the chance to work with seniors for international projects.

Meanwhile, newly recruited Mohd Hairol Azlee Bin Sidik said he has been driven by passion in animation since he was nine when he started watching animated videos on TV and reading comic books.

“After completing school, my cousin introduced me to Kolej Yayasan Sabah in 2010, which offered an animation course. I took this golden opportunity to learn more about the creative field, particularly animation.

“It was through this course that I delved deeper into the world of animation and became inspired to create my own animations.”

Another employee, Hafizulhafiz Asmat said, “My first exposure to animation was during my college years when I pursued it as my major. We were taught both traditional animation techniques as well as modern software-based methods.

“As my interest in animation grew, I began working as a freelance animator. With the field’s increasing demand, I continued learning and improving my skills.

“Recently, I had the opportunity to learn and use Toon Boom through the SCA Academy and SCENIC, which helped me to enhance my abilities even further.”

For Valerina George, she aspired to become an animator to tell stories about the challenges of modern youth living and let them know that they are not alone.

“We can understand each other completely, no matter where we are in the world. I also wish to work with like-minded individuals who share the same goals and dreams by collaborating on the same project.

“However, I know that I still have a long way to go before reaching my desired level of proficiency. My education is ongoing, and I am actively working on improving my skills as both an animator and illustrator.

Another employee Natraya Nur Aliya Mustapha said animation has always intrigued her since she was still a young girl and has been the source of inspiration for her to this day.

“I have always been curious about the inner workings of these TV shows or animated films that have brought so much joy to our lives.

“I decided to dive into it with SCENIC’s Toon Boom IBP Programme in hopes to one day be able to evoke the same emotions for other people.

“My hopes for the future in the animation career are for the local animation scene to flourish and grow and I hope to grow together with it as well.”