MIDDLE-EAST / Netflix and MEMI give a bursary to script-writers


In a recent press release, Netflix and the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI) announced they are awarding a bursary to four writers from the MEMI summer programme.

Every year MEMI selects a dozen writers from the Middle East and invites them to Los Angeles for five weeks to help them develop their ideas for series. A show-runner works with them throughout their stay. This year Netflix selected four of the writers – Sultan Tamer (Saudi Arabia), Summer Shesha (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Essam Elsayed (Egypt) plus their writing partners – offering them each a grant of $30,000 to complete their projects.

The chosen scriptwriters then have 6 months to use the grant: they can set up a writer’s room, extend their stay in the US to work with MEMI instructors, or hire a Netflix-approved consultant to advise them on project development. At the end of that time the writers will pitch their fully developed stories to Netflix.

Deana Nassar Fernandez, Netflix’s Creative Director for the Middle East and North Africa, explained that the partnership with MEMI aims “to tell more stories from the Arab world which can be loved everywhere.” Netflix, she continued, wants to “invest in and empower those in the industry or on the cusp of breaking through” by equipping the region’s story-tellers with “the tools they need to tell the best version of their stories.

With this project, Netflix hopes to broaden the range of its audiovisual productions while developing its audience in the Middle East and worldwide.

Sources: Netflix, Broadcast Pro

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