With Cinema Akil finally settling down into a permanent Dubai address, it’s about time the initiative got its well-deserved limelight. This Cinema Akil review by MyBayut has everything you need to know about Dubai’s first ever art-house cinema.
Cinema Akil opened its doors for the audience back in September 2018. Located in one of Dubai’s hipster hotspots, Alserkal Avenue, the cinema plays an integral part in enriching the emirate’s cultural wealth with screenings of independent art films.
The place gained popularity because of the carefully curated content it screens, but there is a lot more to this space than just that. And we have compiled our Cinema Akil review to bring all that to you.
What is Cinema Akil
Easily one of the more popular outdoor cinemas in Dubai, Cinema Akil is not ordinary. This independent art-house cinema in Dubai showcases the raw brilliance of filmmakers and directors from across the globe. The idea behind this concept is to bring quality films to the audience and create interest and awareness of cinematic arts.
Cinema Akil’s flagship location in Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz is a collaboration project between the cinema and the Alserkal Avenue. This is the first of its kind cinema in the GCC – just another reason why a Cinema Akil review was due.
The cinema holds permanent membership of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS). Other members of the esteemed organisation include institutes from the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region, such as Zawya (Cairo), Cinematheque du Tangier (Morocco) and Metropolis (Beirut)
A Little History
Now, what’s a Cinema Akil review without a peek into the artsy cinema’s history? Cinema Akil has been spreading the magic of cinematic arts across the UAE since 2014. Initially launched as a nomadic cinema, this project has held more than 60 pop-up cinemas in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and rest of the country. If that number wasn’t enough, pop-up cinemas by Cinema Akil have mesmerised a combined audience of over 35,000 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
The project is the brainchild of Butheina Kazim. The Emirati founder also serves as the managing director of the cinema overlooking operations and selecting films to be screened. Even though this previously outdoor cinema in Dubai was doing well, Kazim felt the need to have a dedicated space for the cinema. This led them to test a semi-permanent pop-up location in A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue. The experiment turned out to be a huge success and paved the way for what you know as Cinema Akil today.
What to Expect from Cinema Akil
Walk into the Cinema Akil’s Alserkel Avenue premises and you’d be welcomed to a charming world of oddities. The independent cinema boasts an eccentric yet regal chic interior.
Kazim has handpicked everything from the patterned wallpaper and mismatched furniture to the recycled seats and donated armchairs. According to her, the place draws its energy from reigniting the passion for art cinema and the whimsical auditorium just adds to the charm.
What Does Cinema Akil Offer
Film screenings at Cinema Akil happen almost every day. The place focuses on high quality, artistic films that promise integrity and value to the viewers. Cinema Akil is great if you enjoy movies that reflect human experiences and development with cinematic excellence. It gives special importance to films that highlight critical societal issues faced by mankind. These films are mostly made by filmmakers from East Africa, South and West Asia and the MENA region.
Cinema Akil chai is extremely popular thanks to the project Chaiwala housed within its premises. The concept revolves around serving chai in a unique way, inspired by the tea culture from around the world – especially around south Asia. Their organic chai is available in 5 basic flavours including the karak, alongside iced tea, matcha latte, nimbu pani and turmeric latte. The place also serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Their smashmosas and chai toasts are particularly popular.
- Opening hours: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
If not movies, Cinema Akil is an excellent place for people to come together to relax, interact or even work. There are time slots during the day when no movies are being showcased. This is when you can use the space to indulge in something other than cinematics. Besides that, you can even participate in the various Cinema Akil events held every now and then at their premises. The place is also available for conducting private events and meetings.
Cinema Akil Tickets
Cinema Akil ticket prices start at AED 57. Tickets can be purchased online or on a first-come, first-served basis at the cinema itself. The place is small and usually fills up fast. So, if you want a sure shot seat for a particular show – book your tickets online and do so in advance. You can check out the films screening and their show times on the official Cinema Akil website.
We doubt any other Cinema Akil review would tell you this, but even when you’re booking tickets in advance, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Age restrictions apply to films, depending on their nature and age-suitability
- The cinema has the discretion and the legal right to request proof of ID. You can be asked to leave if you do not fall into the permissible age bracket for a particular movie.
- Cinema Akil allows no exchanges or returns on tickets purchased online. Make sure you double check the desired movie, the cinema or pop-up location and the show time before ticket purchase.
Cinema Akil timings begin at 05:00 pm on the weekdays and 03:00 on the weekends. Closing time for the cinema may vary according to the daily screening schedule.
How to Reach Cinema Akil
Reaching Cinema Akil is easy with a clear set of directions. It is even easier if you are living in a rental apartment in Al Quoz or the nearby vicinity.
The best way to reach Cinema Akil is to travel by car. You can take the Al Manara exit (Exit 43) from Sheikh Zayed Road into Al Quoz. Drive straight on the Al Manara Street till you reach the Home Centre traffic junction. Take a right turn from the signal and drive straight. Turn right on 17th Street and then take a left onto 6A Street – that’s where the cinema is. RTA parking is available at the Cinema Akil location, so even if you’ve got your own car, that wouldn’t be an issue.
If you plan to use the metro, the nearest metro station to Cinema Akil is the Noor Bank station. Keep in mind that this station is still half an hour’s walk away from the cinema. It is advisable to take a cab from there to reach Cinema Akil.
Cinema Akil Contact Number, Location & Other Details
- Location: Warehouse 68, Alserkal Avenue – Al Quoz Industrial District
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact: +971-58-524-6362
While an email may be a reliable communication channel, a lot of times you may want prompt responses. In such cases, it’s always better to simply dial the Cinema Akil phone number and get the information you require.
Cinema Akil Review – Our Verdict
We want to provide you an honest review of Cinema Akil, so it is our job to highlight all that is good and bad about the place. The concept of an independent art-house cinema is unique. The place has undoubtedly introduced a new era of entertainment and cine-viewing to the UAE.
In an age where most people prefer to watch films at home on Netflix-like formats, Cinema Akil has taken the bold step of making shared, public viewing a norm. It may not have entirely succeeded in its plan, but the cinema enjoys a growing viewership for its culturally diverse content.
The place screens cinematic gems that you may not watch on the silver screen. The movies are carefully selected to deliver an impact on an audience that craves something different. The availability of chai and snacks just makes the experience even better.
The only downside perhaps is the limited seating. Unless you’re quick and decisive, you may find it difficult to catch a show here. The place could have expanded, but the founders do not want Cinema Akil Dubai to become just another multiplex cinema in Dubai – and that perhaps, is its most natural charm.
With that, we wrap up this Cinema Akil review. We hope that you find it useful. It’s an experience worth having if you love movies as much as we do. If you’re a movie buff who loves going out and watching the latest flicks, don’t forget to try out Dubai’s most unique cinemas.
For those of you who’re more into books, try out the library cafés in Dubai – you wouldn’t be disappointed.