Arab Film Development Workshop 2021: Meet the Filmmakers!

17 December '20

We are delighted to announce the 5 early-career filmmakers that have been selected to take part in the Arab Film Development Workshop Online Edition, hosted by SAFAR co-founder, Saeed Taji Farouky, in January 2021.

This two-day project development workshop, funded by the Film and TV Charity, brings together early career Arab filmmakers or filmmakers working on projects connected to the Arab world. Created as an intensive and collaborative experience, participants receive in-depth mentorship exploring their film narrative in depth, as well as  touching upon many other aspects of their project from the execution, to funding and distribution.

Saeed first ran these workshops at 2018’s SAFAR Film Festival, and we had another one which ran in September 2020 alongside the SAFAR From Home programme. This is the first online workshop, bringing together filmmakers from across the UK. Besides being the co-founder of SAFAR, Saeed himself is a filmmaker and artist, has been teaching filmmaking and cinematography since 2009 and has been producing work around themes of conflict, human rights and colonialism since 1998.

Get to know the participating filmmakers below!

Yassmine Betioui is a multidisciplinary artist who grew up between the suburbs of South London and Morocco. Her practice oscillates between drawing, relief printing and photography which come together in her animations. Her work is themed around nostalgia & memory, cultural perception towards identity, and the overall eclecticism of having a dual nationality. She is also heavily influenced by cinema in all its forms and was a Barbican Young Film Programmer in 2019. She completed her BA in illustration/animation from Kingston School of Art this summer. You can drop her an email here if you would like to see a pdf of her work and can find her on most platforms @yassminebetioui.  


Ahmed Elmusrati is a British-Libyan actor and theatre-maker. He has recently graduated from The Manchester School of Theatre with a BA in Acting. Over the years he has performed in multiple fringe venues across Manchester and was a part of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. Most recently he has played a lead role in a C4 Comedy Blap “BradBoyz” and is currently co-writing a T.V Pilot. You can check out his Spotlight profile here.


Fatma Hegazy is an entry-level filmmaker currently working in post-production as an Edit Assistant. Her most notable work was her contribution to “Women Make Film” by Mark Cousins which had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. Born and raised in Egypt, Fatma is currently residing in Scotland, with the hopes of one day returning home to document and share her culture with the world. My main passion lies within documentary-making and sharing authentic and unheard-of-stories.  


Roann Hassani-McCloskey is a British- Algerian story teller. Her work includes her 2019 award winning sell-out debut, one woman show, ‘My Father the Tantric Masseur’ – an autobiographical exploration of sexuality, ethnicity and family. Her second show, ‘Who Murdered My Cat?’ shines a light on memory, it’s inconsistencies and it’s power, in forming our identities and due back on stage in 2021. She is currently writing a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama series for television ‘Lights, Camera, Couscous’ in which her Algerian mother, who informs so much of her creative work, has the starring role.

Central to Hassani-McCloskey’s writing and imagining, having rarely witnessed relatable stories herself, is her curiosity and passion about bringing stories usually left at the margins to the centre where they belong.


Sam Kurd is an emerging screenwriter and lover of all things horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Born to an English mother and a Palestinian father, Sam grew up in Jordan and Palestine before returning to England in 2001 and dying of culture shock. His undead corpse is powered by coffee, by anger at the injustices of the world and by the need to see his work filmed. Based in Nottinghamshire, his most recent project is as a writer on the upcoming digital series Seaview which will screen in 2021 as part of the Coventry City of Culture celebrations