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The winners of the Film Fest Gent Short Film Competitions

On Sunday 13th of October, during the closing night of the Short Film weekend, the Best Belgian Student Short Award was awarded to 'hier.' Vytautas Katkus' 'Community Gardens' won the Film Fest Gent Award for Best International Short, while the Ace Image Factory + The Fridge Public Choice Award went to Anthony Nti - who also won this prize in 2016 - for his film 'Da Yie'. 

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The international short film jury, consisting of film journalist Neil Young (UK), director Jayro Bustamante (GT) and graphic designer Amira Daoudi (BE), made its decision for both the Belgian and the International Competition.

'hier.', directed by Joy Maurits (LUCA School of Arts) takes home the prestigious Award for Best Belgian Student Short worth €5000, powered by Amplo. Short films from all official film schools in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels are eligible for this award. Jury member Jayro Bustamante enlightened us about the jury's process: "Originally, we were quite nervous because it's a Belgian competition. But then, when we got to view the films it became apparent that Belgium boasts a lot of strong upcoming talent. Making a decision was therefore a true challenge."

'hier.' explores the open-mindedness of boys and girls whose worlds collide in the microcosm of a sports center in Bazel where they go in search of connection. "It was a strong competition with many impressive contestants, but our votes for first place were unanimous. 'Hier.' includes cut-up images of reality - creating a sensation that the camera filming the events is invisible - that are elevated to an artistic status via filming techniques like imagery and montage. These techniques are employed with a level of skill that would be noteworthy in any context, and especially so considering the age of the filmmaker," the jury states. 

Noemi Osselaer's 'Erpe-Mere' and  'Sun Dog', directed by Dorian Jespers, both received honorary mentions. 

Alongside the jury prize, contestants could also win the Ace Image Factory + The Fridge Public Choice Award, a prize that offers a post-production budget of €6500 for the director in order to stimulate young and upcoming film talent. This year, the award went to 'Da Yie' by Anthony Nti, who already won this prize two years earlier with his film 'Boi'. Anthony Nti gave a quick speech while accepting his award: "The film was really difficult to realise, it almost wasn't made at all. We had to fight for it. It felt like a team sport."

This year, the European Short Film Competition was transformed into an international competition. The prize for the Best International Short, worth €5000 was scooped up by 'Community Gardens', by director Vytautas Katkus, "an outstanding work which simultaneously recalls both Flemish renaissance paintings of rural scenes and the immersive technologies of 21st century virtual reality. Using fluent camerawork and complex mise-en-scene, it evokes a particular place and its peculiar inhabitants with a 360-degree perspective. Deploying humour and sensitivity the writer-director crafts a three-dimensional character study of an individual in the context of his family and acquaintances that is simultaneously concrete and realistic, but also shimmeringly enigmatic," the jury concluded.

The 46th Film Fest Gent takes place from the 8th until the 18th of October in Kinepolis Gent, Studio Skoop, Sphinx, Vooruit, KASKcinema and Capitole. For more information go to www.filmfestival.be

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