LOS ANGELES – Global indie studio Propagate has signed a development deal with actress Dina Shihabi (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) for scripted series Habibti. The announcement was made by Ben Silverman, Chairman and Co-CEO and Howard T. Owens, Co-CEO, of Propagate.
Habibti, a term of endearment in Arabic meaning my darling or sweetie, is based on the experiences of Shihabi and her Saudi friends living in Los Angeles. The series follows three Saudi women as they straddle two cultures, navigate life in the city, build lives for themselves in the US and return home to the Kingdom.
“When we met Dina and heard her story, we were instantly hooked,” said Silverman and Owens. “Developing authentic voices has been part of Propagate’s DNA, and it has been our mission to identify unique talent like Dina and share their stories with the rest of the world. We believe this coming of age story of a young Saudi actress will tap into the cultural zeitgeist and will resonate with audiences worldwide.”
Shihabi also commented: “I’m excited to partner with Ben, Howard and the team at Propagate for Habibti. Ben has been a champion for bringing unique women’s voices to television through critically acclaimed series like Jane the Virgin and Ugly Betty. Sharing this story comes from a deep rooted desire for Saudi women to be seen. People are always shocked when they find out where we come from because they have no idea of how we should act, sound and look. I’m excited Habibti is going to shatter those stereotypes, reveal how similar we are, and also celebrate our differences.”
Dina Shihabi is a Saudi Arabian born actress based in Los Angeles. Living most of her life in Dubai, Dina moved to New York and became the first Middle-East born woman to be accepted to both the Julliard and NYU Graduate Acting programs. She received her MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Shihabi is probably best known for Sean Mullin’s independent feature, “Amira & Sam,” which she starred in opposite Martin Starr. Dina had a recurring role on CBS’s Madam Secretary, and will appear in the upcoming Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. She was most recently in Clare Barron’s play Dance Nation.
Shihabi has received positive reviews for her portrayal of Hanin in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime. The Hollywood Reporter raved, “Saudi actress Dina Shihabi is even better, as she takes an arc that’s little more than a mother wanting to protect her kids into an unexpected series highlight.” IndieWire said, “Suleiman, his family, and his motivations are fleshed out. Hell, his wife, Hanin (Dina Shihabi), may very well be the most engaging character of all.” And AV Club called her performance, “luminous.”
Shihabi serves as Creator and Writer for Habibti, with Michael Gasparro and Shihabi serving as Executive Producers. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Linh Le are Executive Producers for Propagate.
Propagate executives have a strong track record of bringing female-led stories and stories from rarely-heard voices to television. Silverman’s credits include the hit scripted series Jane the Virgin and Ugly Betty, as well as Propagate’s upcoming new production of Charmed for the CW. Propagate’s first straight to series scripted order is Blood & Treasure for CBS.
Propagate and its executives have a 25-year market leadership position in international content development, global distribution, and production having run networks, studios, talent agencies and independent production and distribution companies. Founded in 2015, Propagate has quickly become a major indie studio with 17 series in production and 40 projects in development at over 21 networks and streaming services.
Carissa Knol from Cohen/Gardner negotiated the deal on behalf of Dina Shihabi.