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The Gent Film Festival

Where music sets the tone

The Gent Film Festival was established in 1974 as a students' film festival, and has since developed into one of Europe's most prominent film events. Every year in October, the festival presents some 120 features and 50 shorts from all across the world. A range of different film programs are showcased, attracting over 100,000 viewers each year. The International Federation of Film Producers Associations (IFFPA) recognises this festival as a competitive festival primarily geared towards the 'impact of music on film'. There are 4 awards up for grabs and around 15 entrants.

With its focus on film music, the Gent Film Festival has its own unique place in international festivals. Every year, the festival organises film music concerts, giving composers of film scores the platform they deserve. Composers such as Ennio Morricone, Gabriel Yared, Elmer Bernstein, Michael Kamen, Patrick Doyle, Howard Shore, Georges Delerue, Hans Zimmer, Maurice Jarre, Craig Armstrong, Harry-Gregson Williams, Michael Danna, Gustavo Santaolalla are some of the many film music legends who have already taken the stage at Gent.

Since 2001, the Ghent Film Festival has also organised the World Soundtrack Awards, the most prestigious soundtrack awards in the world. Each year, the best soundtrack composers are honoured and receive international recognition for their work. This pioneering role has certainly had an impact. Gent has grown into a meeting point for established and up-and-coming musical talent and ever greater numbers of festivals play soundtracks from the wings. Since 2004, even the European Film Academy – encouraged by the Gent Film Festival - has honoured the best European soundtrack composers.

Trade paper Variety placed the festival in it's top 50 must attend festivals of the world because of this focus on (film)music. American financial news paper The Wall Street Journal called the festival one of the five European Film Festivals with character!

Yet there is more to the Gent Film Festival than just soundtracks alone. Every year, numerous international guests from the world of film flock to Gent to present their films to the general public. Over the past years, the festival has welcomed filmmakers such as Kathleen Turner, Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg, Mike Leigh, François Ozon, Jeanne Moreau, Gina Lollobrigida, Tom Tykwer, Lord Richard Attenborough, Todd Haynes, Sir Peter Ustinov, Walter Hill, Danny Glover, Sidney Pollack, Jane Birkin, Luc Besson, Mike Figgis, Morgan Freeman, Faith Akin, Andy Garcia, Melanie Griffith, Robert Altman, Juliette Binoche, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Ken Loach and Michael Haneke.

In addition to the screenings, the Gent Film Festival also organises film-related exhibitions. Thus the prestigious Stanley Kubrick exhibition, which was previously shown in Berlin, Melbourne and Frankfurt-am-Main, was brought to Gent before other world cities such as Rome, Paris and London. Film fanatics have also been able to see exhibitions of film maker Peter Greenaway, animation film maker Raoul Servais, and the large exhibition Cités-Cinés with over 450,000 visitors. The Gent Film Festival will continue to keep a close watch on international film developments in order to organise a festival that is as captivating as possible. To this end, a fresh, young team works hard day after day.

The 35th edition of the Gent Film Festival is scheduled for October 7th-18th, 2008. Once again 'The impact of music on film' is the overall theme. More than 200 films will be shown at Kinepolis Gent, Sphinx, Studio Skoop and Arts Centre Vooruit.

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