The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is often referred to as Europe's most obscure film festival. An island oasis for art amidst a sea of commercialism. Sure, it's modest in form, as we mainly focus on screening films and less on the glitter and glamour. The festival focuses on contemporary cinema and video art and places its films where they belong – within the vibrant context of other art forms. The arena that will serve as the backdrop for the Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is the Velvet Room, a two story eclectic art space showcasing contemporary artworks by artists like Nobuyoshi Araki, Larry Clark, Ed Templeton, Per Kirkeby, Curtiz, Shepard 'Obey' Fairey and Ravi Zupa. The screenings in the small and cozy 30 seat movie theatre creates great exposure for the movies and their makers while introducing the audience to some gems they might have missed.

Our audience demands a challenge, perhaps even a provocation. Sometimes a bit too challenging though. During one of the last screenings of the 2021 edition a couple of people stepped out as the line-up of films was too intense. One person actually almost fainted. The festival is also open to any topic, but not everyone shares that opinion. At least that's we've concluded from a physical attack during the 2022 edition when an anonymous person or group poured paint all over the pavement.

In 2024, the festival will continue on its journey and present at least 50 films during a weeklong event. The festival showcases innovative, underground, experimental, and independent movies by aspiring local as well as international filmmakers. We're open to narrative, experimental, documentary, dance, underground and animated films and music video. Where are those new voices?

Founded in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic it was originally created as an answer to the lockdown. Film screenings were not allowed, but exhibitions were. The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival took place at the Alfred Sküll Art Gallery as an exhibition of film and video art, which was allowed back then. Each season the festival screened dozens of films on both the big screen as smaller screens. With its unique multiple walk-in screenings it was able to reach the art loving Ghent audience.

The festival's curator and director is Kris De Meester, a film director, producer, and entrepreneur known for his independent films. He started his career in 1990, taking on different roles with many of the film industry’s finest. Over the decades, he has teamed up with numerous award-winning directors. Such included big names like Lars von Trier, Terence Davies, Thomas Vinterberg, Timo Vuorensola, Wolfgang Becker, Philippe Grandrieux, and Koen Mortier

Although the festival has a rather underground feel, it offers great exposure and influence in the film festival industry. All the selected films will receive a film submission fee waiver package worth at least $500. This will allow you to enter your film free of charge in a dozen of other film festivals (Brussels Independent Film Festival, Venice Film Week, Boston Short Film Festival, Super Shorts, …)

Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is
- A Cannes Film Week© qualifying film festival
- An IMDB qualifying film festival
- Named as one of the Top 50 Emerging Film Festivals worldwide by Final Cut Magazine.
- A 'Climate Neutral Film Event', powered by
- Part of Ghent Art Week

Next to our physical screenings we’ll also be screening online with the special OFF ON SELECTION. The OFF ON Selection will go online one week prior to the opening of the physical part of the festival and will stay online until the last day of the festival. Viewers will be able to watch, but not download your film. If needed we can geo-block your film to our region.
We’re open to any genre (narrative, web series, made for tv, documentary, experimental …) and especially any duration (which is always an issue for the physical part of the festival). Selected filmmakers will receive all official selection perks (The Tarkovski Grant, The Producer’s Night nomination, …) and are in the running for any of the award titles. When you submit your film for consideration to both a physical section and the Off On Selection it is possible to be selected for both, but this is of course not guaranteed.
Filmmakers that submit their film only to any of the other sections (so any other than the Off On Selection) will not be selected for an online screening.

Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is supported by The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. A short overview of their projects:

- SUPPORTING FILM FESTIVALS: Film festivals are not only a place to share films, but they are a safe haven for film makers to connect, share, and learn. The Bigger Screens supports and engages with over 25 respected international film festivals from mainstays like the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Brussels Independent Film Festival to emerging events such as the Venice Film Week and The Producer’s Night Los Angeles. These events bring filmmakers and filmgoers together, providing that place to connect and engage in a comfortable setting, away from Hollywood glitz and glamour.

- CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects at least ten countries and grants filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission. Check out to see if your country is included in this year’s program and submit your work for free.

- LOCAL FILMMAKERS PROGRAM: To encourage rising talent, we lowered the festival submission fee to local talent and even made it for free when submitted before the Extreme Early Bird Deadline. This provides a great opportunity for local filmmakers to enter the international film scene. Think global, act local, right?

- INCLUSIVE AUDIENCE PROGRAM: Our screenings are always low or even free of charge to provide opportunity for interested film goers to view up and coming, challenging, and inspiring pieces of art, encouraging students, seniors, and those in underprivileged environments to share the experience of film and cinema. We welcome film goers, regardless of income and financial status.

- THE TARKOVSKI GRANT: Read more on this in the 'Awards & Prizes' section below.

Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:
Best Experimental Film
Best Underground Film
Best Documentary Film
Best Narrative Film
Best Animated Film
Best Music Video
Best Belgian Film

All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $500. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length. The Tarkovski Grant is supported by film festivals from all over the world. Find out more here:​

You'll have the opportunity to have your film included in the main collection of our streaming partner for a period of one year. is available worldwide, on desktop, mobile, tablet and smart TV. There’s no rights fee provided, but in return you’ll receive a free subscription to the service for the period of one year. You keep the right to cancel the agreement at any time. As it’s a non-exclusive deal you keep all the rights to your film and are able to make similar distribution agreements with other companies. As an added bonus, every month gives away 500 USD to the filmmaker whose film was the most popular!

In an added effort to support new and emerging filmmakers, our festival will offer a free year of access to Videomaker's digital magazine to all filmmakers submitting their work. More information:

All selected filmmakers will receive a free subscription to for 3 months. is a streaming service that has teamed up with over 20 film festivals worldwide, exclusively streaming official selections during the festival period. More information:​

One of the biggest hurdles in an independent filmmaker's journey, is getting noticed. With thousands of filmmakers out there trying to get exposure it's hard to stand out. Share your story with Final Cut Magazine, whether it be a press release on a new selection, project, winning an award, a one-on-one interview, ...

The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance into the festival. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each. The festival has the capability to screen MP4.

Screenings are scheduled during the festival at the discretion of the Obskuur Ghent Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Obskuur Ghent Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Obskuur Ghent Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection. If chosen as an official selection, Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the Obskuur Ghent Film Festival and all associated screenings. Location and timing of any screenings of the film shall be the sole decision of the organizers of the Obskuur Film Week. Filmmakers will be solely responsible for all costs resulting from the submission of the film to the Festival including but not limited to postage or insurance of the film, and expenses of your staff or any representatives of the film. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

Although every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage to materials while in the possession of the festival, The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is not responsible should any materials be damaged while in transit to or from, or while in the possession of the festival.

The filmmaker holds the Obskuur Film Festival, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

The Festival does not offer screening fees for its films. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation in the Festival, should your film get selected for the program.

Since the Festival only requires a nominal entry fee, we will NOT accept requests for other entry fee waivers.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you very much for giving the “New Voice” prize for my film NATURE ATTACK, I was not able to be present, but the team was very kind and the communication was superb.

    November 2023
  • Susanne Walström

    We are very happy to have been part of the Official Selection at your festival! Great Communication from a very kind and professional team!

    October 2023
  • Great festival! Glad to be part with our films!

    October 2023
  • Ron Chiers

    An interesting and inspiring festival for independent filmmakers. Seeing your film on a big screen in the city's coziest cinéma among gems from all over the world is every filmmaker's dream. Feedback from like-minded souls, clear communication with the organization and a free waiver package for befriending organizations make this festival highly recommended!

    October 2023
  • Jil Guyon

    Amazing festival! Thank you so much for the opportunity!

    October 2022