Women storytellers have unique stories to tell and giving them a chance to tell their stories in their own voice, creates a space for more authentic stories that haven’t been told before.
Through Netflix’s Because She Created platform, they’re shining a spotlight on the creative, talented, inspirational women in the Arab world who are blazing new trails in film. Whether through content on the service, financial grants or upskilling initiatives, they want to provide a platform for female storytellers to help break the glass ceiling for women in entertainment.
The Because She Created platform first launched last year as a virtual panel discussion hosting Arab women filmmakers and leaders, to talk about the evolving role of women in the regional film industry. Anne Marie Jacir (Palestine/Jordan), Tima Shomali (Jordan), Hanaa Al Omair (Saudi), Hala Khalil (Egypt) and Rima Mismar (Lebanon) discussed the evolution of women’s roles in the Arab entertainment industry, and the gaps the industry needs to fill, both behind and in front of the camera.
Hend Sabry at Cairo Film Festival
Sparking dialogue about the unique challenges women face is important as we work to fill the pipeline of women in entertainment. Last year, Netflix teamed up with the Cairo International Film Festival to hear first hand from Hend Sabry, among the most renowned actors in the Arab entertainment industry about her journey in the industry, her experience as the Executive Producer of Netflix’s ‘Finding Ola’ as well as the challenges she has faced as a mother, actress, and Executive Producer while working in the Arab film and TV industry.
The AFAC-Netflix Fund for Creative Equity
Having spoken to many women in the industry, a key barrier for women producers comes down to financing. To directly address this, Netflix partnered with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to offer five women filmmakers a one-time grant of $250,000 as part of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity. The grantees also get the opportunity to potentially have their films licensed on Netflix – Asmae El Moudir (Morocco), Diala Kachmar (Lebanon), Jana Wehbe (Lebanon), Sarra Abidi (Tunisia), Tania El Khoury (Lebanon).
The Because She Created Collection
There are already aspirational, talented women creating moving and impactful content, which is often sidelined by the demands of commercial cinema. So, earlier this year, Netflix brought together a collection of 21 films from remarkable female filmmakers across the Arab world including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, and Tunis. You can learn more about the collection here.
Egypt has a long and illustrious legacy of storytelling, as well as a wealth of untapped potential. To help mine for talent from historically underrepresented areas of the country, and working through our Creative Equity Fund, we launched the Because She Created Writing Program in partnership with dedicated scriptwriting hub Sard, to train 22 aspiring women in creative writing and advance their professional development. Two participants from the cohort were selected to join the Sard writing lab to work on special projects helmed by the SARD team. Find out more about the program here.
Apart from our Because She Created initiatives, we are continually investing in content helmed by female creatives to bring more underrepresented voices to the fore. We’ve recently announced new seasons of fan-favourites ‘Al Rawabi School for Girls’ and ‘Finding Ola’, which tell relatable, authentic stories while advancing representation through Hend Sabry & Tima Shomali roles as showrunners.
Over the last two years, we’ve sparked important discussions aimed at filling the pipeline of women in entertainment and highlighted the importance of equitable representation in storytelling. We look forward to continuing this journey with your support.Statement by Netflix