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Netflix to support Arab female filmmakers with $250,000 grant

Five grantees represent different parts of the Arab world including Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Netflix to support Arab female filmmakers with $250,000 grant
[Source photo: Netflix MENA | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Diversity in cinema brings perspective and insight. With adequate industry support for Arab female filmmakers, a seat at the table adds authentic storytelling, which is crucial to preserving the region’s cultural tapestry. In recent years, films by Arab women have received recognition at the Oscars, Academy Awards, and Cannes Film Festival. However, there is still much to be achieved. Local funds and programs in filmmaking amplify women’s voices and ultimately bring fresh content to audiences.

To support more women in cinema, Netflix, in partnership with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC, announced a one-time grant, valued at $250,000, through Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, for five women filmmakers in the Arab world.

 The grantees include director and producer Asmae El Moudir from Morocco, whose film The Mother of All Lies has been shortlisted for the non-fiction category; three Lebanese filmmakers –  Diala Kachmar, creator of From the Other Shore; Jana Wehbe, producer of The Day Vladimir Died and Tania Khoury, director of Manity – and director and producer Sarra Abid from Tunisia who will bring her fiction project My Name is Clara on screen.

The five directors and producers represent different parts of the Arab world, including Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco. This initiative is in addition to AFAC’s two grants aiming to support filmmakers in cinema and documentary making. Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity grantees was selected from the list of women filmmakers shortlisted for each grant for the 2021 cycle.

“The Arab world has a long-standing history of women in entertainment, and we’ve had incredible successes and firsts from the region that we’re all very proud of. But to give more people a chance to see their lives reflected on screen, we need more women behind and in front of the camera. The Fund for Creative Equity helps the industry as a whole to have a much more dynamic, interesting, multidimensional representation of women, and this is one step in the journey to enabling more women to tell their stories and have new audiences discover their work”, says Nuha El Tayeb, Director Content Acquisitions, Middle East, and Turkey – Netflix.  

The Netflix Fund for Creative Equity is a global fund launched in early 2021 that aims to establish more opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to have their voices heard and close skill gaps with training programs. 

 “More and more Arab women filmmakers are creating moving images that have the power to shed light on the realities of the region. This second collaboration with Netflix, this time to support women in the field of cinema, complements perfectly AFAC’s mission to promote diversity of voices and narratives”, said Rima Mismar, AFAC’s Executive Director.

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