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Six screenwriters from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait complete Netflix training program

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Screenwriters from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have completed a Netflix training program held in Kuwait, which aims to bring local talent to the streaming giant’s platform.

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Three Saudi writers (Dania Waseem al-Tayeb, Osama Ali Shar, and Rulan Hasan), and three Kuwaitis (Faisal al-Beloushi, Jassim al-Qames, and Mohammed Nedal Jalal Salam) took part in the ‘Lab 6x6’ program.

Organized in collaboration with Kuwait’s National Creative Industries Group (NCIG), the six-week program involved mentorships from regional screenwriters, and additional guidance from Netflix.

Writers were taught how to build a story, define tone, craft characters, and pitch ideas, and received training from the New York Film Academy.

The six creators are now in the process of pitching their scripts to Netflix’s content team.

“The talent pool in the Arab world is extensive, bringing a fresh and nuanced perspective to global content, but has been underrepresented on the global stage,” Ahmed Sharkawi, Director of Arabic Series at Netflix said in a press statement.

“Together with our creative partners, we want to do more to support and empower those in the industry, and those hoping to break through.”

Sheikha al-Zain al-Sabah, Chairperson, and CEO of NCIG, added: “The applicant pool for the limited number of seats was quite competitive, which further proves something we’ve known all along; the incredible caliber of talent that makes up our larger MENA creative community, and the need to build more programs to further incubate this untapped potential.”

Farida Zahran, an Egyptian writer/director, whose film, Youth, received an Oscar-qualifying award at Palm Springs Short Fest, and who writes for the acclaimed Hulu show, Ramy was one of the mentors.

She was joined by Wael Hamdy, an Egyptian writer and script consultant in both film and TV whose works include Hepta: The Last Lecture.

Virtual masterclasses were conducted by Christopher Mack, Director of Netflix’s Grow Creative, Hisham Fageeh, a popular Saudi writer and producer and head of the Middle East Media Initiative, Mariam Naoum, an award-winning Egyptian screenwriter whose credits include One/Zero, A Girl Named Zat, and The Women’s Prison.

Rounding off the ensemble was acclaimed Kuwaiti novelist and TV writer, Mona al-Shammari, whose credits include Black Eyeliner/White Heart, and No Music in al-Ahmedi.

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