Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) Image Credit: Supplied

The annual Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) is taking a break this year, but will return in 2019 for its 15th edition ‘with a new approach’. 

Following reports that the event was calling it quits, the festival tweeted a statement late on Wednesday night. 

“The industry is changing fast, and so are we. The organisers of Diff will be adopting a new approach, with the 15th edition of Diff confirmed for 2019,” it posted. 

A similar post by the Dubai Media Office followed suit. 

“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,” said Jamal Al Sharif, the chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission in a statement. 

“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.

“The Festival will continue its significant contribution to the development of the industry, as we look forward to celebrating with the public, film lovers and industry professionals in 2019. We will announce the final dates, details and the new programme as soon as confirmed."

Over the past 14 years, more than 2,000 films have been screened with 500 films from the Arab world. The festival has helped more than 300 films from the region reach completion, facilitated funding and partnership for a further 140, supported more than 200 talented Arab filmmakers through the Festival’s Muhr Awards, and driven tourism across the city, the statement added.

Diff, which launched in 2004 with 76 films on its roster, has grown into the biggest film event in the region, proving to be a prestigious and essential launch pad for Middle Eastern talent. Last year, the festival screened 141 films from around the world for its 14th edition.

The festival has also fostered a growing relationship with prestigious institutions such as the Golden Globes, the Baftas and the Academy Awards. John Bailey, the newly appointed president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Ampas), which organises the Academy Awards, even gave a talk at last year’s event.