Following the sudden, unexpected announcement that Dubai International Film Festival, the premiere platform for Arab cinema, will not be held in 2018, 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. The statement goes on to thank key supporters of the cinematic event, including the Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), which has served as a partner of the Beirut International Film Festival for several editions.
Though the event will not be taking place during its previously scheduled time, the letter goes on to assure cinephiles 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.
The note goes on to drop a bombshell that the AMPAS, known globally as the Oscars, has partnered with BIFF on a new program, entitled “Cinematographers, Directors, and Film Editors: The Art of Visual Storytelling”. “In MENA, it is our festival they chose to partner with. This means a lot to BIFF, Beirut, and Lebanon,” continued the statement. “This partnership would be one of the most important ever engaged in Lebanon for our film industry. AMPAS has gracefully understood our postponement and we are eager to further build our friendship with such an honorable partner.”
The statement concludes with a quote from the AMPAS, that reads: “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is looking forward to building a continuing friendship and collaboration with the international filmmaking community and very much looks forward to an exchange with the Beirut International Film Festival sometime soon.”
According to the announcement, that “sometime soon” is set to be by early next year. “The festival is all ready to roll. We will sit back for a bit and see how the situation unfolds. Early 2019 we hope, a date will be set for the Beirut International Film Festival to bring Beirut and Lebanon into the limelight again!”