Netflix and Arab cultural fund to train female filmmakers in region

Programme will be open to 45 women from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt

Rima Mismar, executive director at the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, says the partnership aims to help address inequalities women in the film industry are subjected to. AFP
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Emerging female filmmakers in the Mena region are getting a chance to hone their skills thanks to a new initiative.

Netflix and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture are partnering up to create a new training programme called Women in Film: Introduction to the Creative Process, which aims to support talented young female filmmakers.

A group of 45 women, who reside in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt, will be chosen to take part in the initiative – presented as a series of workshops over three days in Dubai, Jeddah and Cairo, starting in November.

Participants will be introduced to skills such as scriptwriting and the creative process of filmmaking by already established female directors from the region.

All participants will also be provided with an opportunity to travel to a Netflix European production hub early next year.

“At Netflix, we are passionate about amplifying women’s voices behind the camera. That includes a commitment to authentic storytelling, which is intrinsically linked to developing the region’s talent pipeline,” said Nuha Eltayeb, director of content Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Netflix.

“Afac has been a long-standing partner and has done some incredible work for under-represented voices within the film fraternity in the region. 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.”

Who is the initiative open to?

Any woman aged 21 to 27 who has graduated from film studies and residing in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt can apply. Applications will be open on the Afac website from August 17 until September 8.

An external jury will review applications throughout September, and successful candidates will be notified on October 17.

The new partnership follows on from Netflix and Afac's Because She Created programme last year – a $250,000 grant for female producers and directors in the 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,” said 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.”

More information is available at

Updated: August 15, 2023, 8:34 AM