Focus on Russia and Activism in the cinema at the 32nd Flanders Int. Filmfestival

28 Sep 2005
From 11 through 22 October, the spotlight will once again be on Ghent. This is when the 32nd edition of the Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent is taking place. Special attention will be paid to Russia and recent Russian cinema. Activism in the cinema will also be given a place of honour. The highlight of the latter section is "Fusebox" in the Arts Centre Vooruit, featuring Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine. Other important guests at the 32nd Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent are: David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence), François Ozon and Jeanne Moreau (Le Temps Qui Reste), Mike Leigh and Imelda Staunton, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Victoria Abril and Zbigniew Preisner.
Within the context of Europalia 2005, the Festival will be focusing on Russia and recent Russian cinema. After all, Russia has always been an important trendsetter in the field of film. The Russian films included in the programme reflect how Russian cinema has developed positively in recent years. Two of these films have been included in the Competition "Impact of music on film", i.e. First People on the Moon by Alexei Fedorchenko, a "mockumentary" about the claim that the Russians were the first to set foot on the moon, and Gaspartum by Aleksej German Jr, about playing football and growing up in the period that the tzardom was falling apart and the Soviet Union was taking shape. The other Russian films are included in the programme section World Cinema. The remaining 11 films in competition are Someone Else's Happiness (Fien Troch), Lonesome Jim (Steve Buscemi), Stranger (Malgosia Szumowska), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones), Be With Me (Eric Khoo), The City Of The Sun (Martin Sulik), Dallas Pashamende (Robert-Adrian Pejo), Dam Street (Li Yu), Hostage (Constantine Giannaris), Proof (John Madden) and Tuning (Igor Sterk). A six-person jury, consisting of the British actress Brenda Blethyn, the Argentine composer José Luis Castineira de Dios, the Irish producer Arthur Lappin, the Danish sales agent Lizzy Belaiche, the French short film producer Carine Tardieu and the Flemish director Dominique Deruddere, will be awarding four prizes: the Grand Prize for the Best Film, the Georges Delerue Award for Best Music, the Sabam Prize for Best Screenplay and the Robert Wise Award for Best Director. The recurring theme of the 32nd Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent will be activism in the cinema. It is within this context that author-director Mike Leigh will receive a Special Joseph Plateau Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday 14 October, which will be presented by Imelda Staunton, the leading actress in Vera Drake. Activism is also central in the "Fusebox" programme that has been compiled by the experimental artist Jem Cohen from New York. This cinematographic (The Fuse You See: Film), literary (The Fuse You Are: Activism) and musical (The Fuse You Hear: Music) event is a co-production of the Festival and the Arts Centre Vooruit. The main guests in the "Fusebox" section of the programme are Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, Guy Piccioto (Fugazi), Thee Silver Mountain Elegies Plays War Radio (with Members of Silver Mt. Zion and Hanged Up), The Ex and The Evens. Other guests of note at the 32nd Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent include director David Cronenberg and actor Viggo Mortensen. On Friday 14 October, they will present A History of Violence. In addition, director François Ozon and actress Jeanne Moreau will be attending the screening of Le Temps Qui Reste on Saturday 15 October. Other guests include the British animated film maker Nick Park with The Curse of The Were-Rabbit, Israeli documentary maker and film maker Avi Mograbi with Avenge But One of My Two Eyes and producer Alan Ladd Jr., one of the most respected studio executives from the post-war film industry. On Wednesday 12 October, Alan Ladd Jr. will be presented with a Special Joseph Plateau Lifetime Achievement Award. The 32nd Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent will once again be a festival with special attention paid to film music. On Saturday 15 October, the World Soundtrack Awards will be presented for the fifth time. The ceremony will take place in city concert hall De Bijloke and will be followed by a film music concert with, among others, Gustavo Santaolalla (WSA Discovery 2004 for 21 Grams), Raymond van het Groenewoud, Rachel Portman (Oscar for Emma), and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the legendary composers and songwriters from the early years of rock & roll, who produced work for Elvis Presley among others. On Thursday 20 October, a second film music concert will be held at the Flemish Opera Ghent with Polish film music by composers such as Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (Oscar 2005 Best Music for Finding Neverland) and Wojciech Kilar (Dracula, The Pianist). The guest of honour will be Zbigniew Preisner. He will be presenting music from films including Trois Couleurs Bleu Blanc Rouge and La Double Vie de Véronique. Flemish productions will also receive ample attention. Both the preliminary opening film and the closing film are new Flemish productions: Verlengd Weekend by Hans Herbots, on Monday 10 October, and the German-Flemish co-production De Bloedbruiloft (The Wedding Party) by Dominique Deruddere, on Saturday 22 October. A number of other Belgian films will also premiere at the Festival: the dance film Blush by Wim Vandekeybus, Ma Mere l'Oye by Thierry De Mey, Miss Montigny by Miel Van Hoogenbempt, the concert film Sioen - Ceci n'est pas un Film by Christina Vandekerckhove, and the Dutch-Belgian co-production Het Paard van Sinterklaas, starring Jan Decleir. Merry Christmas, the opening film of the 32nd Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent also has a Belgian tint: this war film by the French director Christian Carion, who will be attending the screening together with the leading actress, is a European co-production between France, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Romania. The alternative opening film of the Festival in the Arts Centre Vooruit is The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary about the life of the American singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston. The screening on Tuesday 11 October will be immediately followed by a Tribute to Daniel Johnston by Das Pop, in the Balzaal of the Arts Centre Vooruit. Victoria Abril, the leading Spanish acress who stars in Almodovar films such as Atamé and Kika will also appear in Vooruit. On Thursday 13 October, she will be performing the better class of Brazilian bossa nova. On Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October, the Arts Centre Vooruit will stage a great world premiere. On these two evenings Peter Vermeersch, together with Flat Earth Society, will for the very first time be performing his new score for The Oyster Princess, a silent movie from 1919 directed by Ernst Lubbitsch, one of the greatest comedy directors of all time. The Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent is sponsored by the City of Ghent, the Province of East Flanders, the Flemish Community with the support of the Flemish Minister for Culture, Youth, Sports and Brussels Affairs, and by its structural partners Kinepolis Group, Telenet, Fortis, the Belgian Lottery and many others.