Netflix strikes eight-film deal with Saudi digital studio Telfaz11

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Netflix has signed a deal with rising Saudi Arabian digital media studio Telfaz11 to produce eight films, as part of the streamer’s push to ramp up production in the Middle East. 

The two companies previously collaborated on the short film collection, Six Windows In The Desert, which Netflix described as an “incredible success”. The new slate, to be developed and produced by Telfaz11, will aim for broad appeal across both Arab and global audiences. However, no details on directors or talent were provided. 

“We are expanding our library of Saudi content and showcasing the beauty of Saudi storytelling by joining forces with its creators to produce authentic and intriguing stories that will resonate with both Arab and global audiences,” said Nuha El Tayeb, Netflix’s acquisitions chief for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. 

Telfaz11 was founded by content creators and comedians Alaa Yousef Fadan, Ali Al Kalthami and Ibrahim Al Khairallah. Initially working in the YouTube space, the digital studio helped to revolutionise content in Saudi Arabia, through youth-oriented short films such as No Woman, No Drive (2013), a satirical version of the Bob Marley song that took aim at the country’s driving ban for women. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Netflix in an important validation of both our success at Telfaz11 and the region’s burgeoning production ecosystem,” Fadan said. “These eight films will showcase for global audiences the incredible culture, locations and talent that exists within both our region and the Telfaz11 filmmaker network.”

Netflix has been slowly increasing Arabic-language content over the past few years, launching shows such as Justice, about a female lawyer in the UAE, and supernatural teen drama Jinn, set in Jordan. Last week, the global streamer launched six-episode drama Paranormal, based on the horror books by Egyptian novelist Ahmed Khaled Tawfik and directed by Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama.