Open call: Safar Arab Film Development Workshop

In collaboration with the SAFAR Film Festival, Palestinian filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky will once again lead a free two-day project development workshop on 30 and 31 October 2021 for up to six early-career Arab filmmakers (or filmmakers working on projects connected to or inspired by the Arab world.) Applicants must apply with a film idea in mind, but it can be anything from an initial outline on paper to an early script. You don’t need to have a fully developed idea, you just need the enthusiasm and openness to work with others on developing your story.

During the two-day workshop, we’ll discuss each project in detail and develop the film’s narrative, possibilities for funding, and explore options for distribution. The sessions will be intensive, collaborative, and confidential, so you’ll need a willingness to share ideas and foster a supportive environment.

Any type of film – documentary, fiction, and everything in between – and any length is eligible. We define an early-career filmmaker as anyone from a complete beginner working on their first film, to someone who has made any number of short films but no more than one feature-length film. The workshops are being planned to take place physically  at the Arab British Centre in Gough Square, central London, so for the moment only applicants based in the UK (or who can be present in the UK during the workshop) are eligible.

We’ve tried to make the applications as simple and straight-forward as possible. Just answer a short series of questions about your filmmaking, and submit a short (1000 word maximum) synopsis of your film idea. Applications should be submitted in English, and the workshops will be held in English.

Participants will be selected by The Arab British Centre staff and workshop facilitator Saeed Taji Farouky. The selection process will ensure inclusion from underrepresented groups in the film industry and consider; income level, sex, sexuality, gender, race and ability.

The workshop is free for all participants, and the cost of lunch plus £10 towards travel each day will be provided. Selected filmmakers will also benefit from further opportunities as part of the SAFAR Arab Film Network, for example masterclasses with other filmmakers and networking opportunities.

Applications are now open, and the deadline for submission is Sunday 17 October 2021. Please do not hesitate to send any questions in the meantime to and if you would like to submit your application in audio or video form, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

The Arab British Centre strongly advises candidates to save their application in a separate document. This application cannot be saved online and will be deleted if you navigate away from the page. If you do not receive an automated email confirming your submission, please contact The Arab British Centre at


21 September 2021: Open Call launches
17 October 2021, 11:59pm: Open Call deadline
18-19 October 2021: Applications reviewed
19 October: Candidates contacted with decisions
30 & 31 October, 2021, 10am-6pm: Workshops held at Arab British Centre (subject to alteration if workshops can’t be held in person)


Saeed Taji Farouky is a Palestinian-British filmmaker and educator who has been making films around themes of conflict, human rights, and post-colonialism since 1998. His latest documentary, A Thousand Fires, was the opening film in the Locarno Film Festival’s Critics Week 2021 and won the Marco Zucchi award for Most Innovative Documentary. His previous documentary, Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, premiered at Berlinale 2015, won the Audience Choice Panorama award and Amnesty International Human Rights Award, and was selected for over 40 international film festivals and awarded Best Documentary 4 times. It was bought by Netflix and received a theatrical release in the UK where The Guardian gave it a 4 star review and described as “a powerful, beautifully shot documentary.”

His first short fiction They Live in Forests, They Are Extremely Shy (2016) was broadcast on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and won Best Short Drama at the Royal Television Society Awards (North East and Boarder). His current feature fiction project Soon We Will All Be History Here was selected for the Torino Script Lab 2021.

Farouky is also the designer and lead tutor of the radical SLG film school, a free alternative film course supporting people from backgrounds underrepresented in the industry and dedicated to developing a new generation of creative and engaged moving image artists.