Belgian directors gather for 50th anniversary Film Fest Gent

Groepsfoto regisseurs 50 jaar FFG 2023 copyright Jeroen Willems
News 13 Oct 2023
Film Fest Gent is celebrating its 50th edition. For the festival it proved the perfect opportunity to gather Belgian filmmakers who, over the past five decades, premiered their films at FFG. On Friday 13 October, the red carpet at Kinepolis Ghent was exclusively filled with Belgian filmmaking talent, with directors such as Patrick Conrad, Stijn Coninx, Christina Vandekerckhove, Felix Van Groeningen, Lukas Dhont, Anke Blondé, Gust Van den Berghe, Eva Cools, Anthony Nti, Marie Mandy, Stephan Streker and Bas Devos, among others.

Past and future

2023 is an anniversary year for Film Fest Gent, with an edition packed with celebrations. More than ever, the festival focuses on the future: the first-ever selection of a VR installation (Floating With Spirits by Juanita Onzaga), countless young filmmakers present at the festival, and of course the unique short film project 2x25 for which directors were inspired by composers. At the same time, FFG is reflecting on its history, going all the way back to 25 January 1974, when the very first 'Internationaal Filmgebeuren' kicked off with Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Der Händler der vier Jahreszeiten.

Fifty years of Film Fest Gent. That means fifty years of film history. More than 5,000 feature films and countless short films have been shown at the festival, including many Belgian productions. Some Belgian films were selected as opening films - not only in the past three years, when Holly (2023), Close (2022) and La Civil (2021) all opened their respective editions. In 1992, Stijn Coninx's now legendary feature film Daens was chosen as the opening film. Two years later, Raoul Servais' Taxandria had the honours. Among the Belgian opening films are also commercial and critical successes such as Erik Van Looy's De Zaak Alzheimer (2003) and Felix Van Groeningen's The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012), which even made it to the Oscars.

Other Belgian filmmakers brought along celebrated actors to Ghent. In 1987, director Patrick Conrad presented his film Mascara in the presence of actress Charlotte Rampling, who was awarded a Plateau Prize for "best performance in a Belgian film" during The Night of Film. A mix of established and emerging talent appeared on the red carpet tonight. Alongside Patrick Conrad, Stijn Coninx and Lukas Dhont were directors who premiered their short films in recent editions, such as Dorian Jespers, Sine & Imge Özbilge, Anne Verbeure and Simon van der Zanda. Film Fest Gent's Competition for Belgian Student Shorts is a great launching pad, something proven by director Mattias Bavré, who presents his feature debut Zlata at this year's edition, two years after winning the Award for Best Belgian Student with Z Bratem.

State of the Union

The red carpet moment with Belgian directors closed Flanders Audiovisual Fund's Sector Day at Film Fest Gent. After the photocall, screenwriter, actor and author Angelo Tijssens (Girl, Close) delivered a State of the Union speech at Kinepolis Ghent, reflecting on the state of the film profession in 2023. The speech marked the start of a festive evening programme that ended with a party in De Vooruit. The official closing party of the 50th anniversary edition will take place on Saturday 21 October and is entirely Twin Peaks themed.

Directors on the red carpet

  • Jonas Baeckeland
  • Taylan Barman
  • Nathalie Basteyns
  • Mattias Bavré
  • Kaat Beels
  • Anke Blondé
  • Peter Brosens
  • Gerard-Jan Claes
  • Stijn Coninx
  • Patrick Conrad
  • Eva Cools
  • Gilles Coulier
  • Kato De Boeck
  • Pol De Plecker
  • Leon Decock
  • Bavo Defurne
  • Bas Devos
  • Lukas Dhont
  • Gert Embrechts
  • Geoffrey Enthoven
  • Anouk Fortunier
  • Tom Heene
  • Dorian Jespers
  • Joke Liberge
  • Linnea Lidegran
  • Marie Mandy
  • Jules Mathôt
  • Gerrit Messiaen
  • Maarten Moerkerke
  • Peter Monsaert
  • Anthony Nti
  • Johan Opstaele
  • Sine Özbilge
  • Imge Özbilge
  • Bülent Öztürk
  • Pascal Poissonnier
  • Michael Roskam
  • Bert Scholiers
  • Stephan Streker
  • Kenneth Taylor
  • François Troukens
  • Jolke Van Aerde
  • Deben Van Dam
  • Bart Van den Bempt
  • Gust Van den Berghe
  • Dorothée Van den Berghe
  • Rudi Van Den Bossche
  • Flo Van Deuren
  • Felix Van Groeningen
  • Christophe Van Rompaey
  • Christina Vandekerckhove
  • Benny Vandendriessche
  • Hans Vannetelbosch
  • Wannes Vanspauwen
  • Karen Vázquez Guadarrama
  • Anne Verbeure
  • Jakob Verbruggen
  • Jan Vromman
  • Willem Wallyn
  • Simon van der Zande