Cinema Akil Is (Finally) Launching Its Own Festival Dedicated to Arab Films

We already got our tickets

Dubai’s arthouse theater Cinema Akil is set to host the inaugural Arab Cinema Week next month.

Taking place from Oct. 7 to Oct. 16, the nine-day-event is set to become an annual film festival dedicated to sharing the stories of the Arab world as seen through the lens of regional filmmakers from Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, and beyond.

“Cinema Akil proudly presents its first edition of Arab Cinema Week; an annual journey through the region where stories are the only borders to traverse. Arab stories and the filmmakers narrating their heartbreaks, their quotidian, their victories, their struggles and their moments of personal bliss,” said Rabih El-Khoury, Program Curator, in a statement.

“This program continues the commitment of  Cinema Akil to bring forward Arab stories to the big screen in Dubai and connect local and international audiences with Arab independent cinema,” he added.

Some of the films showcasing at the upcoming festival include Jordan’s The Alley, Lebanon’s Beirut Hold’Em, and award-winning Egyptian film Feathers, among others.

The showcase will also shine a light on Algeria, calling on audiences to reflect on 60 years of independence from colonial French powers and discover the country in its different facets, through films such as Karim Aïnouz’s documentary Mariner Of The Mountains, Djaffar Gacem’s historic drama Heliopolis, the Salah Issaad-directed Soula, and 1966 classic The Battle of Algiers, which will all be screening during the cinematic event. 

Additionally, the festival will offer a closer look into Saudi’s ever-changing society with Becoming, a 70-minute film that tells five different stories of Saudi women, each created by a Saudi female director. The leading women behind the project are Hind Alfahhad, Jowaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Sara Mesfer, and Fatima Al-Banawi.

What’s more, a number of the filmmakers and talent behind the works being screened will be physically present, including acclaimed Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, who will discuss his career during a unique masterclass his fruitful career.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online at

Read on for the complete schedule of Arab Cinema Week. 

Oct. 7

7:00pm: The Alleys

10:15pm: Heliopolis

Oct. 8

7:00pm: Becoming

9:15pm: Feathers

Oct. 9

5:00pm: Ripples in a Pond: In Conversation with Saleh Bakri

7:00pm: Beirut Hold’em

9:45pm: Short Film Program

Oct. 10

7:00pm: Feathers

9:30pm: Beirut Hold’em

Oct. 11

7:00pm: Mariner of the Mountains

9:45pm: Becoming

Oct. 12

7:00pm: The Gravedigger’s Wife

9:30pm: Soula

Oct. 13

7:00pm: Short Film Program

9:45pm: The Gravedigger’s Wife

Oct. 14

5:00pm: Becoming

7:00pm: The Alley

9:30pm: The Alley

Oct. 15

4:45pm: Soula

7:00pm: The Alleys

9:30pm: The Alleys

Oct. 16

4:30pm: Heliopolis

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