Netflix, the global streaming platform, has recently curated and released a collection of 21 Arab films in 2022, specifically made by female Arab filmmakers, under the title “Because She Created.” Their works span across a number of genres including, drama, romance and documentaries.
It was over the first week of the Red Sea International Film Festival that the streaming platform hosted a creative space dedicated to Arab female filmmakers, at Red Sea Souk, where four renowned women from the Arab film industry were present: Hana Al-Omair from Saudi Arabia, Hend Sabri and Kaouther Ben Hania from Tunisia, and Jordan’s Tima Shomali.
This creative space highlights the work of female filmmakers to international audiences and the future generations of filmmakers via the “Because She Created” platform in order to share stories from the Arab region.
Award winning Saudi director, Hana Al Omair told press, “I personally think that in front and behind of the camera, the more female characters, the better, because it is always about the stories by nature, which are always revolving around untold female stories.”
Al-Omair is the woman behind the first Saudi thriller drama series on Netflix, “Whispers.”
She added, “There are so many women working in a different field that we haven’t heard of on the screen. Netflix was the perfect platform for displaying my series as it helped to narrate the story of Saudi women in an unusual way. I am so happy with the new change that the Saudi film industry is experiencing, especially with more females behind cameras and on-screen, and actresses. All this would support more content and female stories to rise.”
Netflix’s curated collection of Saudi films and TV shows include “Wadjda,” the famed film by Saudi film director Haifaa Al-Mansour, “Al Rawabi School for Girls,” a young adult series that tells the story of a girl who is bullied, and plots her revenge against the bullies alongside a group of high school outcasts.
The six-episode series directed by Tima Shomali tells the story of a bullied high school girl who gathers together a group of outcasts to plot the perfect revenge on their tormentors.
Shomali is also a producer and scriptwriter, and conveyed, “I feel like it is my responsibility to support female emerging talents in filmmaking because I did not have an easy journey, and a lot of people on the way gave me an opportunity to rise, and now I am interested to give back an opportunity for those young females passionate about the film industry.”
Nuha El-Tayeb, director of Netflix content acquisitions in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey also attended the RSIFF this year. She said in a released statement, “What’s important for us is bringing Arabic stories from our region targeting the local market and at the same time for them to have that option to travel across the world.” She added, “we want to support women. We want to bring these amazing movies to one place where people can watch it and enjoy the movies.”