Arts & Culture

Egypt Challenges Netflix, Announcing Local Cleopatra Documentary

Egypt Challenges Netflix, Announcing Local Cleopatra Documentary

Image Credit: Netflix & Wikimedia Commons – Design by Egyptian Streets

Egypt has announced its own high-budget documentary about Queen Cleopatra VII, challenging Netflix’s controversial documentary about the same subject. The documentary will be produced by newly-launched channel Al-Watha’eqeya (The Documentary), according to an announcement on the channel’s Facebook page on April 30.

Al-Watha’eqeya have started preparations for the production of a documentary film about Queen Cleopatra, the daughter of Ptolemy XII, the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt following the death of Alexander the Great,” explains the post, indicating the documentary’s intention to highlight Cleopatra’s Macedonian-Greek origins.

The channel also highlighted its aim to provide a detailed and accurate view, primarily through sessions with specialists in archaeology, anthropology, and history.

The decision to produce an Egyptian documentary was made after the trailer release of Netflix’s tendentious ‘Queen Cleopatra’ (2023) docudrama, which casts black actress Adele James as Cleopatra.


The Netflix documentary, produced by Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, quickly became the subject of a global debate on the ethnicity of Cleopatra and Afrocentrism – a movement that intends to shed light on African history, culture, and influences. Pinkett’s production faced backlash from Egyptians and Greeks on the grounds of misleading viewers on the history of ancient Egypt’s last monarch.

Soon enough, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities joined in the debate, when Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, called the documentary “a blatant historical fallacy,” in an official Facebook post by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

“Since the film is classified as a documentary film and not a dramatic work, which requires those in charge of its production to prioritize accuracy and rely on historical facts to ensure that history and civilizations are not falsified,” added Waziri.

Statues of Queen Cleopatra uncovered in Taposiris Magna west of Alexandria “are the best evidence of her true features and her Macedonian origins,” argues former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, referring to the bust of Cleopatra on display in the Berlin Museum.


Unlike Netflix’s documentary, which is set to air on 10 May, Al-Watha’eqeya has not yet announced when it will air its rendition of Cleopatra’s captivating life.

Al-Wataha’eqeya is a free satellite channel available to all viewers in Egypt, under the control of United Media Services, Egypt’s largest media conglomerate.

Where Comedy and Nostalgia Collide: 6 Timeless Egyptian Plays
Prime Minister Madbouly: Egypt Will Not Fail to Repay its Debt

Subscribe to our newsletter

Arts & Culture

With a deep interest in politics and society, Shereif is a journalist that chronicles Egypt’s ever-changing political climate – aided by his bachelor’s in Political Science. On the side, Shereif works as a communications associate for a local consultancy firm. When he’s not working, you can find him playing chess, supporting Chelsea, or walking his dog.

More in Arts & Culture

REVIEW | ‘Voy! Voy! Voy!’ Unveils a True Story of Skewed Morals and Laughing Blues

Farah Rafik3 October 2023

4 Spine-Tingling Arab Films Perfect for the Spooky Season

Farah Rafik1 October 2023

Egyptian-German Team Unearths Storage Chambers in Pyramid of King Sahure

Muhammed Kotb29 September 2023

The Stuff of Nightmares: the Roots of Egypt’s Most Infamous Folk Tales

Muhammed Kotb28 September 2023

From Relationships to Self-Development, Here Are 5 Egyptian Podcasts to Keep on Your Radar

Marina Makary27 September 2023

Egyptian Film Sequels to Look Forward to in 2024

Egyptian Streets25 September 2023

The Zambia Series: Why Everyone Needs to Visit the Home of Victoria Falls

Sara Ahmed25 September 2023

Behind the Success: Decoding Mobinil’s Community-Focused Marketing

Farah Aly23 September 2023