Open Call: SAFAR Film Development Workshop

27 July '20

In collaboration with the SAFAR Film Festival, Palestinian filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky will lead a free two-day project development workshop on September 19 & 20, 2020 for up to six early / mid 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, with social distancing measures, 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. If, however, circumstances change and the workshops need to be held virtually online, we will most likely need to adjust the schedule slightly.

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 and travel from within London will be provided.

Applications are now open, and the deadline for submission is 5pm, Monday August 17, 2020. 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



27 July, 2020: Open Call launches
17 August, 2020, 5pm: Open Call deadline
18-22 August, 2020: Applications reviewed
Week of 24 August, 2020: Candidates contacted with decisions

September 19 & 20, 2020, 10am-5pm: Workshops (subject to alteration if workshops can’t be held in person)



Saeed Taji Farouky is a Palestinian-British filmmaker who has been producing documentary and fiction work around themes of conflict, human rights and colonialism since 1998. His latest documentary, Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, premiered at Berlinale 2015 where it won the Audience Choice Panorama award and Amnesty International Human Rights Award. It 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 following short fiction Strange Cities Are Familiar (2019) has been selected for 18 international festivals, winning Best Short Film twice.

He is the designer and lead tutor of the radical Re:Creative 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.