Satellite Queens - Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show

    • Bregtje van der Haak
    • Netherlands, United States
    • 2007
    • 59 min
    • World Premiere
    • IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary
    Satellite Queens - Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show begins with brief shots of satellite dishes on flats and houses all over the Middle East, interspersed with footage of four female talk show hosts. The film focuses on the popular talk show Kalam Nawaem (Soft Talk or Women's Talk) watched by millions of viewers throughout the Arab world on the leading satellite station MBC. In this lively talkshow, four women from different parts of the Middle East discuss a mix of current events, culture, politics, hair and makeup, childcare and lifestyle issues, including topics that are absolute taboos in their societies. The charming, intelligent women hosts are very much aware of the power of media and try to get discussions going and loosen up fixed conservative opinions. Sensitive issues such as terrorism, masturbation and homosexuality are discussed from different angles, but the show steers clear of politics. The Dutch director Bregtje van der Haak goes from Cairo, where the show is recorded, to Beirut, Dubai, Riyadh, and then back to Cairo, not only to capture the different backgrounds of the four hosts, but also to illustrate the impact of the show, which has a viewership of millions and sells among the most expensive commercial slots in the Arab world. In the meantime, we witness discussions between male and female viewers during the broadcasts all over the Arab world, images that manage to capture both the power of the talk show Kalam Nawaem and of the modernizing effect of transnational satellite television.


    • 59 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: English, Arabic
    • Subtitles in: English
    Bregtje van der Haak
    Femke Wolting for Submarine, Bruno Wille Felix for Submarine
    VPRO Gids, PBS International
    Maasja Ooms
    Katharina Wartena, Alexander Oey

    IDFA history

    World Premiere
    IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

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    IDFA history

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