Netflix partners with Kuwait’s NCIG to launch MENA Screenwriting Lab


Netflix, which has continued to grow subscribers in the Arab world, has partnered with Kuwait-based production studio NCIG (National Creative Industries Group) to set up a writers lab that will spawn six series projects by writers based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Arabia.

The plan is to turn them into ready-to-market pitch decks that the streaming giant will have the right to take a first look at.

The initiative of the incubator of the Arab series, which is called NCIG TV Writers’ Lab 6 × 6, marks Netflix’s first such initiative in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The writers’ laboratory is the original idea of ​​the multi-hyphen Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah, a former uUndersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth of Kuwait and co-producer of Palestinian-American director Cherien Dabis’ debut feature, “Amreeka”, and also a leading documentary “Travel to Mecca “, among other titles. Al-Zain is CEO of NCIG, a media company dedicated to promoting new Arabic content that has one of the the largest studios in the MENA region.

As we move forward with content creation in the Middle East, I have found that we lack essential tools for our amazing storytellers to reach global OTTs in the way they should be, ”a said Al-Zain. Variety.

“It was clear that we needed to look at the writing at the grassroots level in order to to help our stories travel and cross the wider global community, ”she added, noting that Kuwait has always been at the heart of TV production in the MENA region and mainly in the Gulf region.

According to a recent study by London-based Digital TV Research, Netflix – already the best streamer in the MENA region – should increase the number of subscribers in the region from 3.4 million to 5.4 million over the next five years.

From a production standpoint, the American streaming giant has made several Arab originals, mainly in Egypt, where they launched the “Paranormal” series, and in Jordan, where the most recent Netflix Arab Original is located, “Al Rawabi School for Girls”, comes from.

“Through our partnership with NGIC, we will bring our global expertise in creating world-class content, to hone the craft of regional creators and provide the tools to tell the best version of their stories,” said Christopher Mack, Creative Director from Netflix’s Grow. training program for Europe, MENA, Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions.

Mack added that Netflix is ​​committed to investing in Arab stories and talent for the long term and noted that “the Arab world has an incredible talent pool that has been under-represented on the global stage.”

The six-week workshop starting February 5 will see selected participants receive mentoring and master classes by leading screenwriters, showrunners and screenwriting consultants. At the end of program, the six writers will have the opportunity to present their final scripts to Netflix which have the first right of refusal.

If Netflix does not select a project, the writer / creator will own the entire IP and will be free to take it elsewhere. If Netflix pick it up, they will sign separate agreements with creators for further development or production.

Applicants must be based in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, but do not need to be nationals of those countries. They must own the intellectual property completely to the story they present.

“We are looking for writers / directors whose past writing experience is recommended but not required,” said Al-Zain, who added that the projects should not have a producer or director attached.

The submission process for the NCIG TV Writers Lab in partnership with Netflix opened on November 1 and will close on December 1.


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