The Flanders International Film Festival of Ghent began in 1974 as a students' film festival and has developed into one of Europe's foremost film events. Flanders was the first festival in the world to focus on the importance of musical scores. Every year, the festival organises film music concerts, giving composers of film scores the platform they deserve.
Composers such as Ennio Morricone, Gabriel Yared, Elmer Bernstein, Michael Kamen, Howard Shore, Georges Delerue, Hans Zimmer, and Maurice Jarre are some of the many film music legends who have taken the stage at Ghent. In 2001 the festival presented the World Soundtrack Awards for the first time. The Awards highlight the educational, cultural and professional aspects of film music and film sound. Ghent has grown into a meeting point for established and up-and-coming musical talent.
Numerous international guests from the world of film have come to Ghent to present their films to the general public including: Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg, Mike Leigh, François Ozon, Jeanne Moreau, Gina Lollobrigida, Tom Tykwer, Lord Richard Attenborough, Todd Haynes, Sir Peter Ustinov, Walter Hill, Danny Glover, Sidney Pollack, Jane Birkin, Luc Besson, Mike Figgis, Morgan Freeman, Robert Altman, Juliette Binoche, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Ken Loach and Michael Haneke.
The Flanders Film Festival is recognised by the IFFPA as a competitive festival, focusing on "The Impact of Music on Film" at which some 15 films compete for four prizes. Other sections of the Festival include World Cinema, an anthology of films from all over the world. Originality, content and innovative use of the film medium are primary criteria. This section will be divided into: A Panorama Of World Cinema - offering a handful of feature films; Eye Tunes -music documentaries; Belgian Cinema Today focuses on indigenous film production and a competition for Belgian Student Shorts.
The section Festival Previews is a series of important new feature films that are expected to shortly open in Belgian/Benelux cinemas and receive their first Belgian preview at the festival.
"Memory of Film" is the festival's retrospective section in which classics from the history of cinema are shown, either merely chronologically or focusing on a certain theme, genre, era or person.
The Flanders International Film Festival of Ghent also organizes tributes to prominent personalities from the world of international cinema, including retrospectives of their work.
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