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 Alfred Sküll Art Gallery, 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.

In 2022, the festival will continue on its journey and present up to 100 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 $250. 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 proud partner of The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. We support their different programs on both sides of the screen: behind the screen, encouraging and supporting filmmakers in their quest to spread their work through grants and opportunity, as well as in front of the screen, by welcoming audiences to enjoy this art form, no matter what their social or financial status is. A short overview:

CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects 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. From February 2021 until February 2022 included, The Bigger Screen Connecting Cultures Program supports filmmakers based in the following countries: Burundi, Eritrea, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Iran.

LOCAL FILMMAKERS PROGRAM: We understand that the cost of making a film can be taxing, so to encourage rising talent, we waive the festival submission fee to local talent. With numerous worldwide locations for festivals, this provides great opportunity for filmmakers around the world to enter the international film scene. This opportunity opens the world of film. 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.

All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. 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:

All selected films are also automatically in the running for Producer's Night.
Producer's Night is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their work screened to a private group of elite Hollywood producers. For many directors, it could mean their ticket to the mainstream. The exclusive screening presented by Cinematory, Tarkovski, and Hollywood producer Bhavani Rao, member of the PGA, will show the best of independent cinema from the past year's film festivals at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood. The only way to be considered for this by being selected at one of the partner film festivals. Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information:

In an added effort to support new and emerging filmmakers, Obskuur Ghent Film Festival will offer a free year of access to Videomaker's digital magazine to all filmmakers submitting their work. Videomaker Magazine is dedicated to video production, features tips and tricks for shooting and editing, buyer's guides for equipment, and editorial content on the industry of film. More information:

Optional: an exclusive one-on-one interview on The Obskuur Ghent Film Festival would like to offer more exposure to selected filmmakers and their work. Selected filmmakers will be invited after the festival to answer some online interview questions (about their work, future projects, views on film,...) if they wish to do so. The interview will appear as an article on film festival news page, and will be shared on the Obskuur Ghent Film Festival's Facebook page. The interview will only be used within this context, and won't be used for other purposes without the filmmaker's permission.

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

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
  • Claire Marshall

    Amazing. Thank you for including Shift in the programme.

    June 2021
  • Victor Claude

    This was great, great communication, and we are happy they have selected our film.

    June 2021
  • Dan Gutstein

    Thank you for selecting "Uh Huh" as best music video. We are stunned and grateful for your faith in all of us (musicians and filmmakers). On behalf of everyone associated with the film, we wish you all the best and we give this festival our highest recommendation.

    June 2021
  • Jerry King Musser

    I'm already looking forward to entering next year. Great group of people who love film.

    June 2021
  • Yben Willems

    it was a very nice and fun experience

    April 2021