Dubai Film Festival 2018 Edition Officially Canceled

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Following days of rising rumors, organizers have finally broken their silence, revealing that the event is now set to take place every two years, starting in 2019.

After a week of swirling rumors regarding the future of the Dubai International Film Festival, it has now been confirmed that the 2018 edition of the event has been canceled.

In a tweet Wednesday from the official DIFF account, it was revealed that the organizers would be "adopting a new approach," with the festival now set to take place every two years, starting in 2019.

The press release on the official website was equally vague, saying that the "strategic shift aims to embrace the significant changes taking place in the region’s creative and entertainment landscape," and that "the new strategy also seeks to leverage the emergence of exciting new talent and innovative new technologies that are rapidly transforming the content landscape in the region."

Interestingly, the quotes in the release came from Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of the Dubai Film and TV Commission, rather than any of the senior management from DIFF who would usually be expected to provide a statement. One industry source told The Hollywood Reporter that Al Sharif would be taking over the reins at the festival. 

The news is unlikely to calm any of the fears of the regional film industry, which has concerns about a festival that has grown to become the most important film event in the Middle East. As reported earlier by THR, several insiders had heard of the fest's entire staff base having been made redundant. 

In 2014, DIFF's sister event The Gulf Film Festival was "postponed" at the last minute and never returned.