Netflix has awarded a grant to five female Arab filmmakers to help them bring their projects to life on screen.
The streaming platform, in partnership with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, has given a one-time grant worth $250,000 to the five women through its Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, launched in 2021.
The aim of the initiative is to establish more opportunities for people from under-represented communities to have their voices heard, as well as to offer training programmes where they are needed.
“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,” said Nuha El Tayeb, Netflix’s director of Content Acquisitions for the Middle East and Turkey.
“But in order 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.”
The five women selected for the grant are from Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco. Asmae El Moudir, a director and producer from Morocco, was awarded the funds for her non-fiction film The Mother of All Lies. From Lebanon, the grant was awarded to Diala Kachmar for From the Other Shore, Jana Wehbe for The Day Vladimir Died and Tania Khoury for Manity. Sarra Abidi, a director and producer from Tunisia, was awarded the funds for her fiction project My Name is Clara.
The AFAC already offers two grants to support filmmakers in cinema and documentary-making in the region, and those chosen for Netflix’s award came from these shortlists.
"More and more Arab women filmmakers are creating moving images that have the power to shed light on the realities of the region,” Rima Mismar, AFAC's executive director said. “This 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.”