The first edition of our festival was organised by Studio Skoop and the University Filmclub in January 1974. At that time is was called ' Filmgebeuren van Gent ' (Ghent Film Happening) and its aim was to present films that would never reach the normal theatre circuit because of their contents and style. The Film Happening's target was opposed to the Brussels Festival's target, which was to launch movies about to be released in Belgian theatres.
In 1974, the enthusiastic spectators were shown 18 movies. This was the pioneering stage. The new movie makers attacked the establishment using provocative themes and breaking taboos. In Ghent, new names and new concepts were introduced. Seeds were planted for a festival that could offer a panoramic view to films from all over the world.
In 1978 the number of movies had risen to 50 and these were divided into sections. The Film Happening wanted to instruct its viewers and had moved from a small event meant for the happy artful few to a festival with a broader selection appealing to a larger audience.
But its success entailed a solid structure, which it had not. The festival was about to be drowned in financial and organisational problems. Meanwhile film festivals all over the world had changed too. The Ghent festival had to be remodelled. Jacques Dubrulle, at that time a film producer and a communication expert, was asked to take over, reorganise its structure and expand its financial possibilities.