Netflix partners with Saudi production company Telfaz11 on film deal

The company behind the award-winning film collection 'Six Windows in the Desert' is set to produce eight feature films for the streaming major

The Telefaz11 team in their offices in Saudi Arabia, from left to right: Ibraheem Al Khairallah, Ali Al Kalthami, Mohammed Al Garawi, Faisal Al Amir, Alaa Yousef Fadan and Mohammed Al Dokhie. Courtesy Telfaz11
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Telfaz11, the Saudi Arabian production and financing group behind Six Windows in the Desert, has struck a partnership with Netflix to produce eight feature films.

Though little has been announced about the films at this point, it has been reported that the first of the projects will be available on the streaming platform in late 2021 and will be aimed at both regional and international audiences.

The partnership between Telfaz11 and Netflix comes after the success of Six Windows in the Desert, a collection of six short films that cover various topics such as nature, social taboos, extremism and the human psyche.

The films within the collection, directed by different filmmakers, were released on Netflix in March and have won several awards, including the Best Short Film Award from the Gold Film Awards Goddess Nike International Film Festival, and the Best Foreign Film Award for students at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

“Great stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere,” Nuha El Tayeb, director of content acquisitions at Netflix Menat, said in a statement. "We are expanding our library of Saudi content and showcasing the beauty of Saudi storytelling by joining forces with its creators to produce authentic and intriguing stories that will resonate with both Arab and global audiences.”

Founded in Riyadh in 2011 by Alaa Yousef Fadan, Ali Al Kalthami and Ibrahim Al Khairallah, Teflaz11 quickly grew in popularity following the release of its web series Khambalah, as well as Top 5 and Alkhallat, which have collectively amassed billions of YouTube views.

Khairallah was also among the four comedians representing the Arab world in Netflix's Comedians of the World – a production that brought together 47 comedians from 13 regions in a stand-up comedy series. Kalthami, on the other hand, has written, directed and produced several films in his nine-year career, including Wasati, which is part of the Six Windows in the Desert collection.

“We are thrilled to partner with Netflix in an important validation of both our success at Telfaz11 and the region’s burgeoning production ecosystem,” Telfaz11 chief executive Fadan said in a statement. “These eight films will showcase for global audiences the incredible culture, locations and talent that exists within both our region and the Telfaz11 filmmaker network.”

This is the second partnership for Netflix with a Saudi production house as it continues to expand its production in Saudi Arabia. Earlier in September, it also announced a five-year partnership with Myrkott, the Saudi Arabian animation studio behind Masameer.