Netflix has bought six award-winning short films from Saudi start-up Telfaz11 Studios, which shine a light on social themes in the kingdom.
Under the banner of ‘Six Windows in the Desert’, the short films tackle social taboos, extremism and the human psyche, among other issues.
The films will be available in 190 countries from February 27.
Nuha ElTayeb, director of content acquisition at Netflix, said: “It is our strong belief that a great story can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. With the vast number of local talents and creators all over the world, the potential for diverse and interesting stories is endless. We are excited to bring ‘Six Windows in the Desert’ to our subscribers across 190 countries, where they will have exclusive access to captivating and intriguing stories from the Arab world.”
Alaa Fadan, chief executive officer at Telfaz11 Studios, added: “It brings us immense pride to have six of our short films brought onto Netflix. We are excited to bring the work of local Saudi talents to 167 million subscribers around the world. Telfaz11 Studios produces authentic and intriguing stories from our culture, and we cannot wait for the world to see what we have to offer.”
The six short films are:
27th of Shaban (2019): In the early 2000s, Mohammed and Nouf meet for a date; an act prohibited in Saudi Arabia. This film by Mohamed Al Salman shows how the date unfolds.
Wasati (2016): Based on the true story of extremists attacking a play called Wasati bela Wastiah (A Moderate without Moderation) in Riyadh 10 years ago, the film retells the events from a different point of view. Directed by Ali Kalthami, Wasati won Best Director and Best Foreign Film at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival in 2017.
Is Sumyati going to Hell? (2016): A film through the eyes of Layan, the youngest child of a family who employs housemaid Sumyati. Having to deal with the racism of her employers, Sumyati tries to survive. Directed by Meshal Al Jaser, the film won Foreign Short Film at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards in 2017.
Predicament in Sight (2016): A science-fiction short set in the 1970s. Directed by Fairs Godus, survivors of a plane crash in an isolated desert area are forced to co-exist after multiple attempts to communicate with the outside world had failed.
The Rat (2018): Fahad spends the last day of his life with the fear of his father looming over his head. Like a rat on a wheel, Fahad scurries through cycles of fear characterized by different aspects of his father and tries to break free. Written and directed by Faisal Al Amer.
Curtain (2018): A female nurse escaping traumatic events faces fear and judgement at her workplace. Directed by Mohamed Alsalman.