September 26, 2022
The Netflix-Sard ‘Because She Created’ Writing program aimed at training aspiring female creatives in writing and storytelling has wrapped up, following an intensive week of activities focused on the participants’ creative and professional development.
The five-day program, designed by Egypt-based SARD in partnership with Netflix, aimed to create new opportunities for underrepresented communities within the entertainment industry through training and upskilling. The women, recruited by SARD, come from Al Said in Upper Egypt, where there is plenty of untapped potential in the creative community.
The ‘Because She Created’ writing program is part of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity which aims to create new opportunities for underrepresented communities within the entertainment industry through training and upskilling initiatives.
Speaking about the ‘Because She Created’ training program, Mariam Naoum, CEO and Founder of Sard, said: “Organizing this training program was a truly inspirational experience. Not only because it offered underrepresented women in Al Said a unique experience to help strengthen their creative expression skills, but also because it gave the Sard team the opportunity to work closely with young, creative, and inspirational women, who represent the uniqueness of Egyptian culture. It was a creative and inspirational journey that I hope to repeat for more aspiring female creatives from Egypt.”
The first day kicked off with games and introductions to help set workshop objectives, followed by a film screening and discussion with Egyptian filmmaker Maggie Morgan, whose film ‘From Meir to Meir’ was recently included in Netflix’s Because She Created Collection. Over the next couple of days, participants learnt more about different storytelling techniques, the power of imagination & how best to direct their writing in an effort to aid their creative and professional development. On day three, the women were hosted at the Goethe Institute for a cultural performance by the Bahgaga Band, composed of four female artists who are working to revive the art of monologue through drama and comedy & keeping the legacy of this dying art form alive. The last day was dedicated to celebrating the experience and encouraging participants to write about the techniques that had the most impact, acknowledge their growth, and enjoy another cultural experience together in the presence of Egyptian director Hassan El Geretly, who has worked for over three decades in theater and cinema across Egypt & France.
At the end of the program, two participants from the cohort were selected to join the Sard writing lab to work on special projects helmed by the SARD team.
Teresa Talaat, one of the participants from the Sohag Governorate said, “I truly experienced art for a week and felt like I wasn’t alone, but with a group of women who shared the same ambition and love for art. The creative writing training was very smooth and the whole experience culminated into all of us being able to acknowledge and express our feelings more openly and confidently.”
Amira Al-Amir, another participant from Aswan added, “I truly appreciate the magnitude of this opportunity. Going into the program, I expected it to be the usual 24-hour writing workshop, but the experience exceeded my expectations. The workshop has helped me think more deeply about my feelings and express them more impactfully. I enjoyed the cultural programs, in particular. They were carefully curated, gave us access to industry figures that we would have otherwise not had the opportunity to meet, and truly inspired us to think out of the box.”
Netflix has been working with industry partners to build the talent pipeline in the region as it works with more Arab storytellers to tell stories that can be loved globally. Netflix has also been committed to amplifying women’s stories and supporting Arab women filmmakers through its ‘Because She Created’ initiatives.