As awards season draws to a close and most of the winning films have already debuted in the region, many of us are looking for the next cinematic masterpieces to add to our thinning watchlist. However, Netflix is coming to the rescue later this month with the addition of six short films produced by Saudi Arabian startup studio Telfaz11 Studios in efforts to promote emerging award-winning Arab cinema internationally. Subscribes of the international streaming giant can expect “exclusive access to captivating and intriguing stories from the Arab world,” explained director of content acquisition at Netflix, Nuha El Tayeb. “It is our strong belief that a great story can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere,” said El Tayeb. “With the vast number of local talents and creators all over the world, the potential for diverse and interesting stories is endless.”
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Named “Six Windows in the Desert”, the six titles will be available from February 27 in 190 countries, in which local creatives tackle complex social issues often surfacing in the Kingdom and elsewhere in the world, such as an exploration of the human psyche and extremism. “Not only will ‘Six Windows in the Desert’ offer global audiences a lens into the perspective of the Saudi creators, but also through the eyes of film characters with their own take on storytelling,” explained Netflix in a statement.
From 27th of Shaban following a couple on a date in the early 2000s when such an act was illegal in the Kingdom and Wasati retelling the true events behind an extremist attack in Riyadh a decade earlier, to Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Foreign Short Film winner Is Sumyati going to Hell? depicting racism in the household from the perspective of a child, viewers can expect riveting commentary and thought-provoking shots packaged in less than an hour. Also to join are sci-fi short Predicament in Sight, father-son drama The Rat, and female-starring Curtain.
Chief Executive Officer at Telfaz11 Studios, Alaa Fadan, is hopeful that this is just one of the first steps in connecting the rich culture of Middle Eastern cinema with the global industry on a large scale. “We are excited to bring the work of local Saudi talents to 167 million subscribers around the world,” said Fadan. “Telfaz11 Studios produces authentic and intriguing stories from our culture, and we cannot wait for the world to see what we have to offer.”