Filmmaking is truly a process of creating art; it is a medium to communicate, to express what you want, to lay your feelings bare if you will. From black and white and silent movies to 3D, 8D, 12D, and what not, movies, along with the process of making it, have definitely evolved and adapted along the way. Be it an obscure, sophisticated story that tugs on all your heartstrings or a light-hearted story that will have you in stitches and giggling even after it's over, the process requires a lot of hard work and creative genius.
The film industry has come a long way, becoming a billion-dollar glamorous industry. However, with all the new technology helping cinemas make many alternative realities a possibility, the process of filmmaking itself has become more commercial as opposed to artistic. Often, movies these days are famous not because of the story they tell but because of the special effects used. Somewhere along the line, the essence of true cinematic art has gotten lost. In a world where people put emphasis on box office appeal and less on experimental works of great value comes Obskuur, the Ghent Experimental Film Festival, that acts as an island oasis for art amidst a sea of commercialism.
Obskuur Ghent Film Festival is dedicated to recognizing quality films and filmmakers and showcasing their work. This is a quarterly film festival with a unique screening operation. The festival showcases innovative, underground, experimental, and independent movies by aspiring local as well as international filmmakers. The festival will take place at the Alfred Sküll Art Gallery’s small and cozy 30 seat movie theatre.
During the opening event, all the selected films will be screened to a small audience and will include some Q&As as well as free drinks. After the opening session, the films will remain on display on the big screen and smaller screens as well at the Alfred Sküll Art Gallery. These gallery screenings will be open for walk-ins several times over the course of the following three months. All selected films will be screened multiple times during the festival. It creates great exposure for the movies and their makers while introducing the audience to some obscure and experimental works they might have missed.
Obskuur Ghent Film Festival motivates aspiring filmmakers to submit their innovative work and showcase their movies. Local and international artists are encouraged to submit their work for the opportunity to be featured in a festival that celebrates art.
IN GOOD COMPANY
This screening series of contemporary cinema 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, Ed Templeton, Per Kirkeby, Curtiz, Shepard 'Obey' Fairey and Ravi Zupa. The gallery is located within in Alpaca.Gent, a creative hotspot which also houses a casting studio and a small production company.
Festival 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.
At the same time, the director also took on roles as a casting director in a number of films. His repertoire includes titles such as "A Quiet Passion", "Ex Drummer", "Ich und Kaminski" and "Un Lac", as well as Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" Volumes I & II. Meanwhile, as a producer, Kris De Meester has worked on dozens of award-winning independent films to date. Such include "Little Wing", "Vessel", "Share with me Your Brightest Colors", "Menthol", and "All About the Feathers". In recent years, he joined Hal Hartley as an executive producer in the production of the feature film “Where to Land” that has yet to be released.
With time, the director and producer’s acclaimed reputation and deep understanding of cinema steered him to become a film curator in the vibrant film festival landscape. Since 2015, Kris De Meester has taken part as a global curator in many mainstay events such as the Brussels Independent Film Festival, the Venice Film Week, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, Super Shorts London Film Festival, and the Sydney World Film Festival.
CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM
Obskuur Ghent Film Festival supports the Connecting Cultures Program by The Bigger Screen. Each year, The Bigger Screens select ten countries and grant 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.
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: https://www.tarkovski.net/thetarkovskigrant
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: www.producersnight.com
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.
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.
EXHIBITION & SCREENING
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.
LOSS OR DAMAGE
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.