Meet the Filmmakers! SAFAR Arab Film Development Workshop 2022

23 June '22

We’re excited to announce the latest cohort of filmmakers selected to take part in our SAFAR Futures: Arab Film Development Workshop. Led by director and educator Saeed Taji Farouky, the workshop brings together six early-career Arab filmmakers or filmmakers working on projects connected to or inspired by the Arab world for an intensive two-day session where they’ll discuss their projects in detail. We were really impressed by their film ideas and are delighted to be welcoming them to our Arab Film Development Workshop alumni.

Read below to find out more about the filmmakers selected!


Sulin Hasso  She/Her

Sulin is an actor and writer based in South London. Her first short film ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ premiered at Underwire Film Festival where she was nominated for Best Screenwriter and she is currently developing two short films and her first full length play. Acting credits include Gangs of London, Pennyworth.

You can follow Sulin on Instagram and Twitter for any new updates on her work.



Safia Lamrani  She/Her

Safia Lamrani is a British / Moroccan actor and writer, based in London. Recently her work has been featured in Morocco World News, Dardishi, and sell out show ‘Four Sisters’ which she co-wrote and starred in. Safia has a special interest in telling stories that explore her mixed heritage.

To learn more, follow Safia on Instagram and Twitter


Zena Agha  She/Her

Zena Agha is a Palestinian-Iraqi writer, poet and multi-disciplinary artist from London. She is the author of Objects from April and May (Hajar Press, April 2022), and has received fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Zena’s short film, ‘The Place that is Ours’ premiered on Nowness in November 2021 and was selected for the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in 2022. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Nation, The Independent, Foreign Affairs, The Margins, NPR and El País.

Follow Zena on Twitter to see more of her work.


Sara Elbanna   She/Her

Sara Elbanna is an MPhil graduate of Middle Eastern Studies and a researcher based between New York, Alexandria and London. She has worked in the fields of water security, rural development and affordable housing and is interested in promoting bottom-up approaches to governance and sustainability. Her research engages with post-structuralist thought and post colonial theory to explore the role of water infrastructure in shaping the lives and identities of rural communities in the Middle East, as well as the cultural and religious connections humans have to land and nature. By focusing on local stories and approaches, she hopes to provide insight on how to approach nature amidst an environmental crisis in a manner that is detached from capitalism, neo-liberalism, and coloniality. Sara is interested in using creative work as another realm to explore these themes and is currently working on a number of mixed-medium projects that centre Arab voices and experiences.

Check out Sara’s Twitter for any new projects.


Olympia Christofinis

Olympia is an emerging Syrian-Cypriot writer & director. A storyteller at heart, she started in journalism before migrating to film & TV. Since graduating from the NFTS in 2020, she’s been nominated for an Edinburgh TV Festival New Voice Award (2022), won a Royal Television Society National Student Award (2021), and longlisted for the Funny Women Comedy Writing Award (2021). She wants to change the narrative surrounding MENA+ identity in western media and tell emotionally driven stories that reflect the multiplicity of identity.

You can find Olympia on Twitter  


Shirine Chalhie  She/Her

Sherine Chalhie is a British born Irish and Syrian Actress, Writer and Voice Over artist and Producer. Sherine has written, performed, and produced her solo show “Why so Syrian” at Soho Theatre. She is currently in production for a short film which is a proof of concept for her TV series. She graduated as part of Soho Labs writing prog 2021 and was shortlisted for the Tony Craze Award for her play “Secrets of da Syrian Sisters” and is the founder of Shout About it Productions – creating work that breaks down cultural stereotypes and empowers women.

You can find Sherine on Instagram and Twitter to find out more.