American industry magazin Variety have published a report claiming that the 11th edition of the DIFF festival, which is scheduled to take place December 10–17, will cut key elements of the program including the Interchange lab/fund, Dubai Film Connection co-production platform, and the Muhr Asia/Africa Awards section.

The Variety article claims that the Dubai festival will undergo "drastic downsizing" – saying that the Dubai Film Market manager Samr Al Marzooqi "confirmed them [the rumours] without comment, on the sidelines of a panel the Abu Dhabi Film festival." 

The report claims that the budget for DIFF 2014 has been substantially reduced and reallocated to Dubai's Expo 2020 project.

However, DIFF officials have refuted the claims – releasing an official statement, which states that the festival "has not been downsized".

A statement from the managing director for DIFF Shivani Pandya, said: "Following the decennial edition we have simply revised the format of the festival to heighten the significance placed on its founding principles and bring regional cinema into sharper focus."

The official statement also added: "As the landscape in the Arab world continues to evolve, we have reviewed how we can further support Arab filmmakers and improve the visibility of Arab productions. This will guarantee the continuous growth of DIFF in strength, size and stature."

"We believe that the new initiatives introduced this year will continue to contribute to drive industry growth, build audiences and a vibrant film culture in the UAE."

Recent announcements from the festival concerning DIFF 2014 certainly don't add any weight to the Variety rumour, since Emily Blunt was recently announced as a member of the DIFF jury for the third annual IWC Filmmaker Award at this year's festival.