OBSKUUR Ghent Film Festival
EUROPE’S MOST OBSCURE FILM FESTIVAL
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 2023, the festival will continue on its journey and present more than 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 DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
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 and 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.
ALL SELECTED FILMS RECEIVE A $250 WORTH RETURN
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, …)
PROUD PARTNER OF THE BIGGER SCREEN
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.
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 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.
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: 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.