The Filmplaneet in Ghent founded the Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival in 1994, to focus explicitly on documentary films.

During its original nine year run, the festival has become a respected international festival and is renowned for its strong, qualitative and independent film selection. Highlights were Frederic Wiseman's Domestic Violence, which had it’s World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and the Focus dedicated to the work of American documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner, who presented his latest film personally. In association with SMAK it also hosted Harmony Korine photo series ‘Milk Chicken Review’ and ‘Coke Head Swingers’ and the video installation ‘The Diary of Anna Frank. Part II’. The festival has hosted many noteworthy filmmakers: Kim Longinotto, Michael Glawogger, Hans Van den Broeck, Monteith McCollum, Gabriel Noble, Deborah Hoffmann, Frances Reid, Thom Vander Beken. Unfortunately, in its original incarnation, the festival came to an end in 2003.

Inspired by that original movement, the revived Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival, now in it’s 13th edition, will continue to emphasize lesser known, vanguard documentary works and further its tradition of galvanizing budding talent.

Most importantly, the Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival will create a space for unique visionaries and voices. True to its history, the festival will screen films of both novices and veterans—with medium and low budgets—from all over the globe. The festival’s goal is to create a warm, open atmosphere in which filmmakers, fans, critics, and producers can watch the films of emerging talents, explore new cinematic techniques and styles, and award cinematic excellence.

The Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival will create an intimate atmosphere in which to revel in the beauty and wonder of the cinema with like-minded cineastes from all over the globe.

The Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival will take place at Studio Skoop, the leading arthouse cinema in Ghent, Belgium in April 2020.

Ghent Viewpoint Documentary 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:

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. Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information:

Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:

Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Documentary Short Films
Best Environment Documentary Film
Best Society Documentary Film
Best LGBT Documentary Film
Best Health Documentary Film
Best Artist Documentary Film
Best Experimental Documentary Film

We accept short and feature films up to 120 minutes.

The Ghent Viewpoint Documentary 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 Digital and DCP

Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of the Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Ghent Viewmpoint Documentary 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, Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the 2018 Ghent Viewpoint Documentary 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 Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival. 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 organizers 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 Ghent Viewpoint Documentary 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 Ghent Viewpoint Documentary 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 organizers 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
  • setareh samavi

    The team were very supportive and the program was very encouraging to me to start a new project!

    May 2019
  • Kim Vanvolsom

    Great festival! we were unable to attend for schedule reasons but we were always updated by the very friendly staff.

    May 2019
  • rishi chandna

    I wasn't able to make it to the festival but I have a great impression of this festival from my online research and that is why I submitted. My hunch was right - their programming is small and very selective, so of a high calibre, so it was a thrill for my film Tungrus to be selected, and also win an award for best short doc! My communication with the festival was solid. And I have been to Ghent before so I can say that it is an amazing young town and worth visiting if your film gets into Viewpoint!

    May 2019
  • Luka Fisher

    The festival did a great job of communicating with us and they provided some amazing benefits such as waivers for other festivals.

    June 2018
  • Heather Cassano

    Although I was unable to attend the festival due to a last minute family emergency, the organizers were very communicative. I was thrilled to have The Limits of My World screen alongside some other great documentaries in Belgium. After the screening a few of the audience members contacted me to ask questions about the film, which was great. Viewpoint seems to be an unknown gem with an engaged audience. Will definitely submit future films to this festival!

    June 2018