Film partnerships News

Cinema Akil opens officially in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue

From left: Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue and Butheina Kazim, Founder of Cinema Akil.

Cinema Akil, the first arthouse cinema in the GCC, had an official opening of its flagship home at Warehouse 68 in Alserkal Avenue.

Commenting on the partnership, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue, said: “Independent films have captured hearts and imaginations the world over, bridging cultures and bringing people together. Cinema Akil has created a home for independent cinema in the GCC for the first time, making an indelible and pioneering imprint on the creative community. We are proud to welcome Cinema Akil to its new home at Alserkal Avenue.”

Butheina Kazim, Founder of Cinema Akil, commented added: “We are thrilled to announce this new partnership; Alserkal Avenue has been a valuable partner throughout our journey growing the independent film scene in the UAE. The opening of our flagship home marks an important milestone in our joint mission to support the independent film scene in the region.”

The two organisations will collaborate to present a programme of international and critically-acclaimed films, continuing their long-standing collaboration. Cinema Akil was founded in 2014 as a nomadic pop-up cinema platform, bringing independent films from across the world to audiences in the UAE.

Before moving into its permanent home in Alserkal Avenue in Dubai in September, Cinema Akil had held more than 60 pop-ups around the UAE in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. They have included more than 50 joint screenings presented by Alserkal Programming and Cinema Akil, including films from the annual Reel Palestine pop-up programme, which features independent and alternative Palestinian film, Korean films as part of the Korean Film Days programme, and Food Restaurant, a Ramadan restaurant concept and screening event presented in collaboration with Alserkal Avenue and Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, among others.

Cinema Akil’s programming for 2018 and 2019 includes releases of Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters by Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Cold War by Academy Award winning director Pawel Pawlikowski and Dogman by Matteo Garrone. It’s repertory programme includes special screenings of Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire De, a sing along screening of Grease and a special 4k restoration of Moustapha Akkad’s The Message. It’s regional focus will bring to UAE audience’s Karim Moussaoui’s Until the Birds Return, Sharam Mokri’s horror film Fish and Cat and Sam Masud’s My Pure Land as well as a Diwali special screening of Bollywood 1995 hit Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge. Cinemini, Cinema Akil’s kids programme will present morning shows of Studio Ghibli film Ponyo, the regional premiere of Mexican animation Ana and Bruno and Korean animation The Shower screening as part of the Korean Film Festival 2018.

Cinema Akil is also home to Project Chaiwala, a homegrown diner reminiscent of neighbourhood ‘chaiwalas’, which is open for all-day dining inside the Cinema Akil space.