Each year, the entertainment community and cinephiles around the world turn their attention to global award ceremonies such as the Academy Awards, the BAFTAs, Cannes, Venice and more. All eyes are on the films, no matter where they’re from and what they’re about, welcoming authentic storytelling from all parts of the world.
Netflix is now priding itself on giving people the opportunity to experience content they may not have had a chance to see and have made this even easier, with the launch of the Prestige collection in 2020 which celebrated iconic Arab films. They build on that legacy, with a catalogue of 58 films that celebrate Arab cinema, bringing the best of the Arab world to the global stage.
The collection features true masterpieces of cinema, including award-winning and globally recognized films such as the BAFTA-winning The Present and Lift Like a Girl which won three awards at the 2020 Cairo International Film Festival, including The Bronze Pyramid Award. It also features films that have broken the mould, such as Like Twenty Impossibles which was the first short film from the Arab world to premiere in Cannes. The collection isn’t just fictional stories but also includes powerful documentaries, such as the exploration of first responders in war-torn Syria in White Helmets which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The Celebrating Arab Cinema collection does just that, bringing together the best from the Arab world.
Many of these movies were also selected to represent their country in the Academy Award submissions for Best International Feature Film, spanning different parts of the Arab world covering Egyptian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Jordanian and Iraqi stories. These are stories of love, romance, family, friendship, childhood, war, seperation, big dreams and ordinary lives.
The 58 films come from 47 different filmmakers, including champions of the region’s film industry like Nadine Labaki, Annemarie Jacir, Elia Suleiman, Hany Abu-Assad and Ziad Doueiri, among others. These directors, in their own ways, set a benchmark in the region’s entertainment industry, which is why we’re delighted to bring these films together and showcase the best of the Arab world to our members across the globe.
“While these directors may be household names, accessibility has been an issue, especially given the age of some of these films. With the launch of this collection, I am excited to introduce these stunning films to younger generations, give our members around the world a window into new perspectives and cultures and remind Arab entertainment fans of our history. It’s a piece of their culture and heritage and now they can watch them all in one place.
I am originally from Sudan, born and raised in Dubai, and grew up watching Egyptian cinema. The beauty and diversity of the Arab world is close to my heart and this new collection is a reflection of this incredibly diverse yet tightly knit region. I hope you all enjoy this labour of love.”JoAnn kharma, Communications Manager, Netflix Middle East & North Africa