Director Ken Loach, who won the Golden Palm at Cannes with his latest film, presented the film in an impressive personal way.
On Film Fest Gent’s 43rd opening night Loach pleaded to draw attention to the dire social conditions in which the - British - state are forcing its civilians who are affected by the disaster to live. He also called the Brexit referendum as a dishonest discussion and campaign and he called for a greater recognition for film scriptwriters. "Their work is the beginning of each film," said Loach, which in the same breath praised the performance by Paul Laverty, the man who prescribed his scenarios the last 25 years, including that of his latest film.
The British director also received the Joseph Plateau Honorary Award in Ghent, awarded to guests of the festival whom made a special contribution to the art of filmmaking. "How do you keep making films with the same energy and driving force as in the sixties?" asked artistic director Film Fest Gent Patrick Duynslaegher when handing him the prize. He smartly dodged the question and he went straight to the reason why he wanted to keep on making it socially conscious films like ‘I, Daniel Blake’. With Loach it’s always about the film, not about who makes it. "This is a story we needed to share. It is in a sense about how we choose to live together. "
At the well-attended reception the "statement" by Film Fest Gent to choose this as the opening film was received as necessary and therefore also appreciated.