Together, they’ve launched the Creative Training Program for emerging Arab women in film.
If recent milestones in cinema are any indication, it’s clear that the region’s female filmmakers are not only telling stories from an Arab perspective, but also increasingly diversifying the industry — and tackling negative stereotypes in the process. Look at the powerful drama Capernaum, for example. Through its success, Nadine Labaki not only made history as the first female Arab director to win the July Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, but also changed the fate of a young Syrian refugee forever. It’s no wonder, then, that Netflix has partnered up with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) once again, this time to launch a training programme for emerging female talent.
Entitled The Women in Film: Introduction to the Creative Process, it aims to introduce the creative filmmaking process and the different roles that women can play behind the camera. The initiative will offer valuable insights into today’s filmmaking industry and has been created for emerging women filmmakers graduating from film studies and interested in film residing in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. A total of 45 women will be selected to take part in what has been designed as a series of workshops.
Participants will be introduced to scriptwriting and the creative process of filmmaking by established female filmmakers from the Arab region, helping to develop the talent pipeline and introduce storytelling as a viable career option for the next generation of Arab women. Beginning in November, workshops will take place in Cairo, Dubai and Jeddah. And as part of the programme, all participants will also be provided with the unique opportunity to visit Netflix’s production hub in Europe early next year.
“At Netflix, we are passionate about amplifying women’s voices behind the camera,” says Nuha el Tayeb, Director, Content Director Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Netflix. “That includes a commitment to authentic storytelling which is intrinsically linked to developing the region’s talent pipeline. AFAC has been a longstanding partner and done some incredible work for underrepresented voices. Through this partnership, we are discovering a wealth of promising Arab talent and working to ensure that women are represented both on and off camera.”
Founded in 2007 by Arab cultural activists, AFAC is an independent foundation supporting artists, writers, researchers and organisations in the Arab region. “Throughout our 16 years in operation, we have been committed to supporting bold creative voices of women and men artists, who are trying to push boundaries and challenge status quos,” adds Rima Mismar, Executive Director at AFAC. “In film specifically, 44 per cent of supported films to date are by women filmmakers. Through this renewed partnership with Netflix, we build on that commitment, extending our technical support to emerging women talents and allowing for a deeper understanding of the inequities and inequalities that women are subjected to in the film industry.”
The initiative is open to female candidates between the ages of 21-27. Applications for the programme will open on the AFAC website on Thursday, 17 August, with the deadline for submission set at 8 September. An external jury will then review applications, after which successful candidates will be notified on 17 October. Incidentally, Women in Films: Introduction to the Creative Process program is part of Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, which exists to help build new opportunities for underrepresented communities within entertainment.
GO: Visit www.arabculturefund.org for more information.