Cinema Akil reopens with a strong message of unity for the world

Dubai's indie cinema returns with increased safety measures and free screenings of I Am Not Your Negro
Cinema Akil reopens with a strong message of unity for the world
Swap the comfort of your sofa for the comfort of a sofa at Cinema Akil

After three months of temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cinema Akil will finally reopen its doors to the public on Friday 12 June, and Founder Butheina Kazim is leading the way when it comes not only to safety but also social justice by partnering with Middle Eastern film distributors Front Row for free screenings of I Am Not Your Negro -American author and activist James Baldwin's account of the lives and assassinations of his three friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

I Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 documentary film directed by Raoul Peck

Screenings of I Am Not Your Negro will be free to the public on Friday 12 June and Saturday 13 June at 4pm at Cinema Akil, and can also be streamed for free on major MENA OnDemand platforms in partnership with BEIN, OSN, Etisalat’s E-Life, Du, Vodafone, Ooredoo, and Omantel.

In 1959, there were protests about the admission of the Little Rock Nine - nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School - at the State Capitol

Cinema Akil will only screen one film from Tuesday to Saturday every night to ensure proper disinfection of the space. In addition, the box office is open from 6pm -9 pm and is closed on Sunday and Monday. In addition to I Am Not Your Negro, film fans can enjoy Michael Winterbottom’s A Trip to Greece

The reopening follows health authorities guidelines in the UAE to guarantee the safety and well-being of residents and visitors. The theatre must operate at a reduced capacity of 30 per cent while following proper social distancing measures ensuring a two-meters distance between cinemagoers.

Project Chaiwala will be open from Tuesday to Saturday from 1pm - 9pm

Our friends at Cinema Akil tell us, “In accordance with UAE regulations, both visitors and staff are required to wear a face mask at the cinema. Patrons will also have their temperatures checked before entering Alserkal Avenue. Cinema Akil will offer online bookings only in order to reduce contact and will administer rigorous disinfecting procedures every day, in addition to sanitising stations available across the space."

For more information about Cinema Akil's safety precautions or forthcoming films, visit

Photos: John T. Bledsoe courtesy of the Library of Congress, and Cinema Akil