Cinema Akil and Project Chaiwala Announce Cinemajlis….

Cinema Akil and Project Chaiwala Announce
Cinemajlis; An Interactive Iftar Experience This Ramadan

Expect a new menu, activations, performances, specially curated film programming and more.


Dubai, April 8, 2019: Project Chaiwala and Cinema Akil have partnered up to create Cinemajlis; a unique iftar experience this Ramadan at Alserkal Avenue, transforming the cinema into a dining hall the entire holy month.

Cinemajlis will run every night during the holy month and provide visitors with an unparalleled ‘dinner and a movie’ experience. Fans of the homegrown chai diner can expect a specially created iftar menu with an elevated take on casual, family-style South Asian cuisine.

‘Our ethos has always been to serve authentic experiences in urban spaces, so our Cinemajlis menu will do just that,’ said Justin Joseph, Project Chaiwala co-founder, ‘it will pay homage to the traditional and still bring something new and exciting to the table.’

Project Chaiwala started as a pop-up concept in 2017 with the aim of bringing fresh, artisanal chai to the masses. Fast forward 24 months, multiple trips to the Darjeeling tea gardens in India and more than 20,000 cups of chai later, Project Chaiwala opened its flagship store in Alserkal; bringing the vision of a welcoming, neighbourhood chai spot to life.

Also on the menu; an exquisitely curated film programme by independent cinema house Cinema Akil. The region’s first arthouse cinema has become a haven for film enthusiasts and novices alike, bringing a plethora of critically-acclaimed movies that are otherwise inaccessible to audiences in the UAE.

‘With Cinemajlis, Cinema Akil is transforming its screening room to bring the spirit of Ramadan’s unique communal experience into the cinema environment through the setting, the culinary offering and the film program specially curated for Ramadan,” stated Butheina Kazim, co-founder and managing director of Cinema Akil.

Films will screen every night starting at 9pm and 11pm on weekdays and pre-iftar screenings on weekdays.

The lineup includes Mohamed Al-Daradji’s The Journey which was the first Iraqi film in 27 years to be released in the theaters of Iraq and was selected as the Iraqi entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. The program also includes Stefanie Brockhaus’s The Poetess; a documentary film on Saudi poet Reem Hilal; the first female finalist in male-dominated Million’s Poet TV poetry competition that attracts 70 million viewers per episode. The program will also include a special screening commemorating Nakbah Day on 15 May in collaboration with Reel Palestine film festival, alongside the UAE release of Naila and the Uprising documentary film by Julia Bacha which first screened during Reel Palestine in January.

Commenting on the Ramadan film offering, Ozge Calafato, guest programmer at Cinema Akil stated, “Cinema Akil celebrates the month of Ramadan with some of the most highly awaited releases from the Arabic-speaking world. From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, an exciting lineup of independent narrative and documentary films brings compelling stories of love, freedom, hope and determination onto the big screen in May. Featuring singular voices from the new generation including Ahmad Abdalla, Julia Bacha, Mohamed Al-Daradji and Stefanie Brockhaus, these films pay tribute to defiant women in life and in cinema.”

Cinemajlis will also host performances by open mic event Blank Space throughout the month including oud-qanun-piano sibling trio De3bal and feel good singer-songwriter Haranero.

Mohammed Abdul Hakam, Co-Founder of Blank Space stated, “our collaboration with Cinema Akil is a very natural one for two grassroots organizations that created a community around poetry, music and film. We wanted to expose our audience to a different experience centered around cinema.”

Cinemajlis will also feature an array of performances, activities and games, as well as weekly events and talks. The full programme will be announced on Project Chaiwala and Cinema Akil’s Facebook pages – so mark your calendars and keep your eyes peeled for more information soon.

– – – – –

Note to editors:
Venue: Cinema Akil & Project Chaiwala, Alserkal Avenue
Date: May 4 – June 3
Time: Doors open for iftar at 6:30PM. Movie starts at 8:45PM.
Age: Age restrictions may apply due to the nature and suitability of the film. Age limits will be published on the website and in printed programs
Price: AED 200 (iftar + film screening combo)
Booking through: http://www.cinemaakil.com (going live soon)
Images: attached

About Project Chaiwala:
Serving authentic chai experiences in urban spaces. Inspired by the tea culture around the world from karak stops in Bur Dubai to clay kulhar cups in vibrant Delhi markets, Project Chaiwala is here to deliver a unique yet genuine take on chai.

Now brewing in its first permanent location nestled within Cinema Akil at Alserkal Avenue. Created as an all-day dining Chai Diner, the space provides the perfect combination of our famous chai, delicious street food and the Chaiwala Spirit.

About Cinema Akil:
Cinema Akil is an independent cinema platform that brings quality films from across the world to audiences in the UAE.

Showcasing directors and filmmakers across the decades, Cinema Akil aims to create awareness and interest in film and the cinematic arts. Launched in 2014 as a nomadic cinema, Cinema Akil has held over 65 pop-up cinemas attracting over 40,000 attendees in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Cinema Akil is a member of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS) which includes members from the MENA region such as Metropolis in Beirut, Zawya in Cairo and Cinematheque du Tangier in Morocco. Follow us into the dark.

About Blank Space:

Blank Space is an open mic event that is inspired by the idea of giving anyone and everyone a blank space to showcase music, spoken word poetry, stand-up comedy thoughts and rhythm to revive a vibe where we can see that very blank space filled in with color and then brought to life before our very eyes. Initiated by two enthusiastic individuals, Mohamed Abdelhakam and Mathani Salah who made it their goal to create a project that can build a community within the environment of arts, music, and literature.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s