Dubai Culture announces programme of events for Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert


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Dubai Culture announces programme of events for

Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert


Cinema Akil, the UAE’s only arthouse cinema to curate film screenings

Series of interactive and engaging workshops for children and young people

Masterclasses with experts from across the region

Sessions aimed at amateurs and enthusiasts to increase education about the film industry

One-off intimate discussions with local industry experts and filmmakers


Dubai, UAE, 23 February 2020: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) announces a robust series of programming for the first edition of ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’, which will take place from 4 – 7 March 2020 in the Al Marmoom Desert. As part of Dubai Art Season, the event aligns with the new cultural vision of Dubai to establish the city as a global centre for art and culture, position it as an incubator for creativity, and ensure that it remains a thriving hub for talent. ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ is a unique concept in the region, where enthusiasts can watch films under the stars amid the golden dunes of the desert and learn more about the industry from experts. It also has a focus on heritage, within which visitors can witness some of the cultural richness of Dubai and experience an authentic taste of what life was like in the desert for generations in the past. Designed for all members of society, including to families, the event is set to take a firm place on the cultural landscape of Dubai.


Film screening and selection

Acting as curators for the film programme, Cinema Akil, the first arthouse cinema in the GCC, will be bringing critically acclaimed films from around the world to audiences at Al Marmoom. The organisation, founded by Butheina Kazim, opened a permanent home for independent cinema in Alserkal Avenue in September 2018 to educate and build awareness on cinematic arts. For Al Marmoom, the selection of films will be screened on a four-sided cinema screen, offering a unique watching experience for audiences of all ages.

The film program in the desert brings Cinema Akil back to its nomadic roots, having started its long journey for the love of film as a traveling cinema bringing film to audiences all around the UAE.  The line-up will present a series of films speaking the language of the desert, which has captivated filmmakers since the beginning of film.


Over four nights in Al Marmoom, through the common language of deserts, the programme will present both narrative and documentary films, such as the award-winning feature-length film, You Will Die at Twenty, by Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala;  The selection includes the critically acclaimed Mimosas by Oliver Laxe as well as George Miller’s 1981 fantasy, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Finally, the line-up will also feature the premiere of the restored classic The Lion of the Desert by Moustapha Akkad and a programme of short films featuring some of the most established voices of Emirati film.


Expanding knowledge in a lively setting

The event will host two key activation spaces, designed to host hands-on workshops centred on various aspects of filmmaking. The space dedicated for workshops will feature multiple experiences, including one dedicated to children and youth, comprising workstations fitted with green screens and movable toys for participants to create stop motion animation films. Those taking part will also be able to create handmade VR binoculars using stencilled, folded paper. Through a guided session, participants can also produce their own short films by going through a process of storyboarding, role allocation, as well as scene and stage setting. At the end of the workshops, the films will be exported and stored for later use.


A platform for discussion

A series of masterclasses will take place through one-off sessions featuring seasoned experts of the industry, who will address topics and stimulate discussions for the interests of amateurs, expert filmmakers, and enthusiasts. Topics will include the stereotyping of Arabs in film as well as the future of the film industry in an age of streaming, digital media and the so-called ‘death’ of the studio.


Tackling topics

In addition, industry conversations with members of the local and regional film scene will be using the masterclass as a platform to share their experiences. There will also be a conversation about animation, and the UAE as a filming destination and the use of the country’s landscapes as a location for international films as well as a discussion about film distribution and how to enrich the existing film scene.


Welcome to everyone

‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ is an event designed with all society in mind. It is a place for young people to come and learn, for industry talents and emerging film makers to hone their craft, for families to enjoy their time together, and for students to expand their experience. For amateurs and enthusiasts, there will be a series of bespoke filmmaking workshops and an opportunity to use green screens to recreate stunts. There will also be one-off, intimate discussions or huddles around fire-pits designed to give authentic desert experiences. These discussions will take place with local industry experts and filmmakers accommodating for up to 20 people. These sessions will offer participants direct access to ask questions about their personal stories and the art of filmmaking, hearing directly from the experts themselves.




Al Marmoom: Film in a Desert

Al Marmoom: Film in a Desert is an annual film-related event that is aimed at highlighting Al Marmoom as a vibrant, cultural destination. Hosted by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, it is a celebration of film and Emirati culture and offers a holistic experience for all members of society. The event will boost the regional film industry, educate and nurture existing talent as well as inspiring new audiences to become involved in film making. The unique desert setting means that it is truly one-of-a-kind event and takes an important place in the creative ecosystem of Dubai and the UAE.,55.342754



Cinema Akil is an independent cinema platform that brings quality films from across the world to the 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 60 pop-up cinemas attracting over 50,000 attendees in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In September 2018, Cinema Akil opened its first permanent location in Al Quoz, Dubai making it the GCC’s first arthouse cinema. Cinema Akil’s flagship home is brought to you in partnership with Alserkal Avenue. 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. // Facebook - Cinema Akil // Twitter - @CinemaAkil // Instagram - @CinemaAkil 

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