The National Creative Industries Group (NCIG)-Netflix “Lab 6×6” program aimed at incubating the first wave of regional writers has ended after six long weeks. Six screenwriters from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had the opportunity to develop their craft in line with global industry standards and experience the entire content creation process, from script writing to pitch.
The six writers and creators from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia who participated in the program are Dania Waseem Al-Tayeb (KSA), Faisal Al-Beloushi (Kuwait), Jassim Al-Qames (Kuwait), Mohammed Nedal Jalal Salam (Kuwait) , Osama Ali Shar (Saudi Arabia) and Rulan Hasan (Saudi Arabia). Participants worked with the NCIG team, top regional writers and mentors, while receiving feedback and guidance from Netflix, to help build story, set tone, create characters, offer notes and pitch ideas . Regional writers are in the process of pitching their market-ready ideas to the Netflix content team.
Netflix is helping efforts to build a talent pool in the region by working with more Arab storytellers to bring new and unique perspectives to its members around the world. Working with industry and civil society partners, Netflix invests in talent development and skills enhancement programs that enable a mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise.
Ahmed Sharkawi, director, Arabic series, Netflix said, “We are incredibly excited to support writers with a unique perspective in creating compelling content as we work to bring the vision of more Arab storytellers to life, from script to screen. The talent pool in the Arab world is vast, bringing a fresh and nuanced perspective to global content, but has been underrepresented on the global stage. With our creative partners, we want to do more to support and empower industry players and those hoping to break through.
Chkh. Al-Zain Al-Sabah, President and CEO of NCIG said: “The NCIG is fully aware of the power of authentic and universal stories and works alongside like-minded partners to bring these stories to the international community. It was a pleasure to work with the six talented creators chosen to participate in the inaugural 6×6 Lab program, and we congratulate everyone who applied to the first edition of the 6×6 Lab. We know how difficult it is to showcase your creative work in any capacity. The pool of candidates for the limited number of seats was quite competitive, which again proves something we’ve known all along; the incredible caliber of talent that makes up our largest creative community in the MENA region, and the need to create more programs to further incubate this untapped potential.
Lab 6×6 is the first incubator program of its kind in the Middle East. The sessions began with a week of intense training specially organized by the famous New York Film Academy. Instructors and award-winning writer/directors Dan Kay and David O’Leary taught the NYFA Toolkit sessions. In the weeks that followed, select writers worked in writers’ rooms with top showrunners and script consultants, who served as mentors.
Farida Zahran, an Egyptian writer/director whose film, Youth, received an Oscar qualifier at the 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 film and television script consultant whose works include Hepta: The Last Lecture. The virtual masterclasses were led by Christopher Mack, director of Netflix’s Grow Creative, Hisham Fageeh, a popular Saudi writer/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 Women’s Prison. Rounding out the package is acclaimed Kuwaiti novelist and television writer, Mona Al-Shammari, whose credits include Black Eyeliner/White Heart and No Music in Al-Ahmedi.