By: Hana Kotb
With the El Gouna Film Festival coming up this month, we can’t help but ask, “What’s happening to all the other Arab film festivals?” Not one, but TWO major film festivals have been postponed.
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has served as the debut stage for talent in the Arab World for the past 14 years. Surprisingly, it was announced that the festival will not be taking place this year, and instead, DIFF will adopt a new bi-annual format, with the 15th edition of the festival set to take place in 2019 and then every two years instead of annually.
The industry is changing fast, and so are we. The organisers of DIFF will be adopting a new approach with the festival taking place every 2 years, the 15th edition of DIFF confirmed for 2019. Final dates and more details to follow – stay tuned! https://t.co/cFjGmJ9TuL
— Dubai International Film Festival (@dubaifilm) April 18, 2018
The new strategy aims to support and nurture the growth and evolution of the film industry in the region. The chairman of the Dubai Film & Television Commission Jamal Al Sharif said in a statement: “DIFF has established Dubai as a world-class destination in the film and content industry. It serves as a platform to promote cultural understanding between the region and the world, as well as the development of the local and regional film industry, giving the opportunity to many ambitious film makers to shine. With the vast changes taking place both in the regional and global movie-making and content industry, we are seeking to redefine the Dubai International Film Festival’s approach towards nurturing growth, creativity and talent. Innovative new approaches and technologies are transforming the distribution of content and the craft of movie-making. As a forward-thinking player in the global film industry, DIFF seeks to embrace the future of the industry through this strategic shift,” continues Al Sharif.
Following this unexpected announcement, it has now been revealed that this year’s Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF) will be postponed. The 18th edition of the annual event was scheduled to take place from October 4 to 12. In a statement, a spokesperson for BIFF revealed that the underlying decision for postponing the festival for a few months is due to “a precarious economic situation, coupled with regional political insecurities.”“We at the Beirut International Film Festival have decided after mature reflection to postpone, not cancel, our 2018 edition for a few months,” read the statement, which was shared on the official BIFF Instagram account. Though the event will not be taking place during its previously scheduled time, the letter goes on to assure film-lovers that the delay will not affect the already-fixed programme. “Though delayed, we have in store for you this year our usual rich roster of activities, films, and festivities, but we also want to share with you a fabulous partnership we are proud of with the AMPAs— the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” revealed the statement.
Dates of DIFF and BIFF are to be announced “as soon as confirmed”, but many recall the Gulf Film Festival, which was put on a temporary break in 2014, and never to return. So who knows? For now, all we can be sure of is that El Gouna Film Festival, taking place September 20-28, is going to be out of this world!