MOVIES: Award-winning Emirati film ‘Going to Heaven’ comes to cinemas

Award-winning Emirati film ‘Going to Heaven’ releases in cinemas, after premiering at DIFF last year. 


Directed by Emirati director Saeed Salmeen Al Murry, Going to Heaven tells the story of a young Emirati boy, and his best friend, who travel across the Emirates in search for his estranged grandmother – encountering fundamental life lessons along the way.

“[Going to Heaven] is about family,” says director Saeed Salmin Al Murry.

“The film highlights the challenge we are facing in the community, represented by the lack of traditional communications between the family members and the control of technology on our lives at the same time – an issue that affects not only the UAE community, but the world in general,” he tells

The film’s title is (indirectly) based on the trip of the child who is looking for love, tenderness and kindness from his lost grandmother, which is a representation of heaven.

Jumaa Ibrahim Al Zaabi as Sultan in Going to Heaven

Going to Heaven had its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival last December, and bagged the Muhr Emirati award for Best Feature Film in 2015.

This film is the second feature film directed by Saeed Salmeen Al Murry, whose previous short film Bint Mariam (2008) won over 13 awards internationally. One of the few Emirati directors to have been recognised internationally, Saeed tells :
“Our industry is tough, and still relatively new. The average movie-goer has a low opinion of Arab films so part of our job as Emirati and Arab filmmakers is to educate audiences.”

“[Arab films] tell stories about our culture and don’t have the negative stereotypes we see in Hollywood blockbusters. With the help of campaigns like Support Arab Cinema and Support Emirati Cinema, we are slowly educating audiences.”

Going to Heaven releases at VOX, Mall of the Emirates on Thursday, April 28th. Check for timings. 

Starring: Ahmed Ibrahim Al Zaabi, Jumma Ibrahim Al Zaabi
Director: Saeed Salmeen Al Murry
Running Time: 90 mins. Rating: G

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