Yesterday night, the 44th edition of Film Fest Gent kicked off with the Belgian premiere of Philippe Van Leeuw’s award-winning drama ‘Insyriated’, attended by the director and actress Juliette Navis. During the opening night, a Joseph Plateau Honorary Award was also given to Pierre Drouot, the CEO of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).
In light of the theme of the opening film – an intense drama about two Syrian families taking refuge for the war in their besieged flat – Film Fest Gent has joined forces with Cinemaximiliaan, a pop-up cinema for and with refugees in Belgium, making it possible for visitors of the festival to make a contribution during the opening night or when purchasing tickets during the festival.
During the opening night, a Joseph Plateau Honorary Award honouring special contributions to the art of filmmaking, was given to Pierre Drouot, the current CEO of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). Having headed the fund for over ten years and guiding a new generation of filmmakers, Drouot is to retire at the end of the year.
Eleven days of film and music
Over the next days, the festival is set to welcome a wide range of international film guests on the red carpet including Ruben Östlund, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris and Lynne Ramsay among others. In addition, Film Fest Gent remains a hot spot for Belgian filmmakers and is proud to present the world premiere of new work by Bert Scholiers, Kaat Beels & Nathalie Basteyns, Christina Vandekerckhove, Kristof Hoornaert and Sahim Omar Kalifa among others.
Italian cinema is at the heart of the festival this year with two Italian films in competition, a special Focus on Italian Cinema illustrating its significant renaissance in recent years, a selection of the finest contemporary Italian shorts and a special Classics section full of political films by Italian top directors from the sixties and seventies. This year, Film Fest Gent also presents two unique trails that combine films with a similar theme. The Changemakers trail bundles films that call for action or try to make a change in the world, while Metamovies focuses on films about, or with a clear reference to the medium film itself.
On 18 October, the World Soundtrack Awards are handed out in the presence of main guests Terence Blanchard, Joe Kraemer and David Shire. Also attending are such top-notch composers as Dustin O’Halloran & Hauschka, Rupert Gregson-Williams, Dave Porter and Dan Jones among others. Held on 19 October, the Symphonic Jazz in Film Concert celebrates the best jazz soundtracks of the past century, performed by Brussels Philharmonic and Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Finally, Film Fest Gent and Vooruit are joining forces again, focussing on the combination of images and music through live film scores, performances with projection, expanded cinema and everything in between.