New season of free outdoor film screenings hosted at Alserkal Avenue by Cinema Akil

Searching for Sugarman director Malik Bendjelloul. Victoria Will / AP photo
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Edgy arthouse films, feel-good indies and regional triumphs are among the celluloid highlights at a new season of free al fresco screenings from Cinema Akil.

Hosted by Alserkal Avenue, the Work in Progress programme kicks off on November 11 with Searching for Sugarman, an Oscar-winning documentary about the eponymous cult musician.

Things continue a week later, on November 18, with a tribute to Mohamad Khan – the great Egyptian filmmaker, who passed away in July – with a screening of his penultimate work Factory Girl.

Screenings continue every Friday at 7pm, for 18 weeks until March 31, either under the stars in courtyard space The Yard, or shifted indoors to nearby A4 Space.

Following from Cinema Akil’s previous themed seasons – which often showcased vintage Hollywood and global classics – the Work in Progress programme aims to celebrate “the finest in a broad spectrum of must-see contemporary, international films spanning the past decade”.

Addressing the central topic of work, a series of artist commissions, talks, workshops and special events will tale place throughout the year.

Other cinematic highlights include another chance to see hit Kiwi comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople (on January 13), British indie crime drama Metro Manila (February 3), Jacques Audiard's Palme d'Or-winner Dheepan (February 24) and Lebanese thriller Very Big Shot (March 10).

Tributes will touchingly be paid to Abbas Kiarostami – the Iranian master who also passed away this year – on March 17, with a screening of his broodingly philosophical 1997 Palme d'Or winner, Taste of Cherry.

The season closes on March 31 with Pina, Wim Wenders' groundbreaking documentary portrait of the late, great modern dance pioneer Pina Bausch.

For full details of upcoming screenings, see


A special one-off screening of critically hyped new horror flick Under the Shadow is to be staged at Alserkal Avenue.

Director Babak Anvari and producer Lucan Toh will be in town to host a Q&A following the screening, which will take place at The Yard on November 29 at 7pm, hosted by Cinema Akil and distributers Front Row.

The Farsi-language British production has been selected as the United Kingdom's official entry to next year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Premiered at Sundance in January, Under the Shadow currently holds a 98 percent approval rating on critics' aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and has been sold to Netflix Worldwide for a January 2017 release.