Continuing on its mission to supporting marginalized perspectives and underrepresented viewpoints, Netflix is launching New Saudi Voices, a carefully curated list of titles from the Kingdom’s up-and-coming filmmakers and that will soon be made available on the American platform’s catalogue.
Placing the onus on emerging Saudi talents that are behind the camera, 11 shorts will be making their way onto the world’s leading streaming service to spotlight the country’s creatives and strengthen their presence on the global stage. The audio visual works, which were exhibited at the 2021 Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah last year, represent some of the most exciting new creative voices in the Kingdom and sample the existing budding talents that are yet to have been discovered.
“We’re very excited to amplify the voices of up-and-coming filmmakers in Saudi Arabia through this collection. There’s incredible talent in the Kingdom, and they have unique stories to tell. We hope that as people tune into the films, they learn more about these creators, and catch a glimpse of their passion, originality, and creativity, as we have,” said Nuha el Tayeb, Director of Content Acquisitions, Netflix, MENA and Turkey.
The collection includes works from a wide range of genres, stretching from non-fiction to animation, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, to name just a few. From a general overview, the stories will take place in the 1960s, in the present, and in a hypothetical future, providing intrigued viewers from the region and beyond, with a profound and comprehensive understanding of the country’s rich history and subsequent culture all while shedding light on the stories that have still not received the acclaim they deserve.
Some of the works that will be made available include Mohamed Basalamah’s Hallucinated, in which viewers follow a delivery man through his struggles and experiences with insomnia, which makes it difficult for him to tell the difference between real life and his hallucinations.
Other fictional stories, like Rami Alzayer’s The Day I Lost Myself, depict how an anxious young man ends up trapped in an elevator while en route for an interview. Arufea directed by Abbas Alshuwayfie provides glimpses into historically famous neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile the Omar Al Omirat-directed Covida the 19th explores a post-pandemic society where routines and daily activities have been severely affected by the lethal pandemic.
This is not the first time that works by Saudi Arabian filmmakers are featured on Netflix as several titles have already managed to generate noise and gain popularity in the past. They include Masameer, Six Windows in the Desert, Takki, and Whispers, all lensed by Saudi directors, and that have reached some level of success during their time on the streaming platform.
Given the increasingly important role the country is gaining in the regional, and global, silver screen industry, Netflix’s latest campaign in wanting to highlight and support Saudi creatives is one we can only salute. Here’s to seeing more features and shorts make their way onto the streaming platform in the near future.