Netflix is supporting Arab filmmakers by partnering with the Lebanon-based Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) for a new grant.
The one-time $250,000 grant – which comes from the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, established in 2021 to invest in underrepresented communities in the entertainment industry – will go to female producers and directors in the Arab world, with five shortlisted projects .
“We are committed to telling stories about and by women across our roster in the Arab world,” wrote Nuha el Tayeb, Netflix’s Director of Content Acquisitions for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and Turkey, in a blog post announcing the initiative. “The Arab world has a long history of women in entertainment, and we’ve had some incredible successes and firsts in the region that we’re all very proud of. But to give more people the chance to see their lives reflected in the screen, we need more women behind and in front of the camera.
Among the five shortlisted filmmakers are Asmae El Moudir (Morocco) with the documentary The mother of all liesand, on the fiction side, Diala Kachmar (Lebanon) with From the other sideJana Wehbe (Lebanon) with The day Vladimir diedTania Khoury (Lebanon) with Manity and Sarra Abidi (Tunisia) with My name is Clara.
The investment marks the second time Netflix has worked with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture after setting up two support funds to help workers in the region during the coronavirus pandemic. The streamer has also recently backed shows, including Jordanian dramas Al Rawabi School for Girlscreated by Shirin Kamal and Tima Shomali, and Egyptian comedy-drama Looking for Olaproduced by Hind Sabri.
“More and more Arab filmmakers are creating moving images that have the power to shed light on the realities of the region,” said AFAC Executive Director Rima Mismar. “This second collaboration with Neftlix, this time to support women in film, perfectly complements AFAC’s mission to promote diversity of voices and stories.”