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Ghent fest more than about film music

Fest Traveler: Ghent Film Festival

With the accent placed on its closing-night World Soundtrack Awards, which attracts the cream of the film composing crop from the world over, it’s easy to overlook the more than 100 films screening during the 37th Ghent Film Festival, beginning Oct. 11.

Despite the difficulty of securing Euro premieres on the same continent where Cannes, Venice and Berlin reign supreme, Ghent’s new artistic director Patrick Duynslaegher and programmer/fest producer Wim De Witte managed to mine those fests for gems that will figure among the 13 films in Ghent’s international competition.

Those offerings include Sean Durkin’s feature debut “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and Lynne Ramsay’s unsettling “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” both well received in Cannes; and Miranda July’s willfully quirky “The Future,” which played in Sundance and Berlin.

True to his background as a film journalist and tastemaker, Duynslaegher isn’t interested in established talents, per se, but emerging voices. He calls the programming “not in the tradition of the big arthouse names like (Pedro) Almodovar or David Lynch. We’re looking for stimulating new talent.”

In this regard, Duynslaegher is proud to point out that Ghent has three Belgian films in competition for the first time, including sophomore helmer Gust Van den Berghe’s “Blue Bird,” which he calls “nearly experimental cinema,” and “The Invader” by first-time feature director Nicolas Provost.

Several sections round out the film offerings, including Previews, which will give locals an opportunity to view pics such as “The Help” prior to their Belgium releases; World Cinema, a kind of discovery section for films that will likely not be distributed in the country; and two nonfiction sidebars, including Eye Tunes, which will focus on music-driven docs.

But Duynslaegher isn’t blind to Ghent’s calling card of presenting live movie music in a storybook setting, which he calls the festival’s strength. The World Soundtrack Awards concert program will be dedicated to the late Ronni Chasen, the publicist who helped place Ghent on the fest map when her client, Hans Zimmer, played his first live concert at the event’s inaugural ceremony in 2000. Her indefatigable spirit, not to mention her ability to attract A-list film music talent, will be sorely missed.

“It will not be easy to have such a fantastic enthusiast as her,” says fest managing director Jacques Dubrulle. “I don’t think we’ll ever find (another) person like Ronni. She was unique. (Her loss) was very hard for us, and the whole profession.”

If Chasen’s absence serves as a reminder to the WSA’s grand tradition of movie music, this year’s lifetime achievement honoree Giorgio Morodor — the composer behind such films as “Scarface,” “Midnight Express” and “Flashdance,” and, as the producer of a string of disco hits in the ’80s, a forerunner to house, techno and electronica — represents a fresh take on the proceedings.

“The World Soundtrack Awards is focused mainly on symphonic scores,” says Duynslaegher, “and here you have somebody who’s a pioneer in electronic scoring. To give him this recognition is to show that film music is not something narrow. His music is very much revered in the electronica and dance music worlds. So there is a string connection to contemporary music, too.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Oct. 11
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” from Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, based on John le Carre’s bestseller, opens the fest. Stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt and Tom Hardy.
8 p.m., Kinepolis

Oct. 12
Maestros of Suspense: An evening of live Hitchcock movie music by Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman, performed by the National Orchestra of Belgium, conducted by Dirk Brosse.
8 p.m., Bijoke MusicCenter

Oct. 14
“Ingmar Bergman: Truth and Lies” delves into the career and personal life of the legendary Swedish director, with access to Bergman’s personal papers granted by Bergman Foundation in Stockholm.
Through Jan. 15, Caermersklooster — Provincial Cultural Center

Oct. 18
“My Worst Nightmare,” directed by Anne Fontaine, will be screened with star Isabelle Huppert in attendance. 8:30 p.m., Kinepolis

Oct. 20
Film Sound Seminar: Three-time Oscar winner Walter Murch conducts an all-day workshop on film editing and sound design.
10 a.m.-4 p.m., Kinepolis 8

Oct. 21
Q&A with Norman Jewison, recipient of the Joseph Plateau Award for achievements have earned him “a distinct place in the history of international filmmaking.” Patrick Duynslaegher, artistic director of the fest, will moderate. Followed by a screening of “The Thomas Crown Affair.”
4 p.m., Kinepolis 8

Oct. 22
The 11th annual World Soundtrack Awards, with a concert dedicated to the memory of publicist Ronni Chasen. Music from Oscar winners Elliot Goldenthal, Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer; Giorgio Moroder, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree; and Abel Korzeniowski, last year’s World Soundtrack Discovery Award recipient.
8 p.m., Kuipke Event Center

NOMINATIONS

FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
• Alexandre Desplat: “A Better Life,” “The Burma Conspiracy,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Tree of Life,” “The Well Digger’s Daughter,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
• Patrick Doyle: “La Ligne droite,” “Thor,” “Jig”
Clint Mansell: “Black Swan,” “Faster,” “Last Night”
• John Powell: “Mars Needs Moms,” “Rio,” “Kung Fu Panda 2”
• Hans Zimmer: “Inception,” “How Do You Know,” “Megamind,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “The Dilemma,” “Rango,” “Kung Fu Panda 2”

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
• “Black Swan,” Clint Mansell
• “Inception,” Hans Zimmer
• “The King’s Speech,” Alexandre Desplat
• “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
• “True Grit,” Carter Burwell

BEST ORIGINAL SONG WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR A FILM
• “Coming Home” from “Country Strong”
Music and lyrics by Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges
Performed by Gwyneth Paltrow
• “I See the Light” from “Tangled”
Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater
Performed by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi
• “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
Music by A.R. Rahman, lyrics by Dido (Dido Armstrong) and Rollo Armstrong
Performed by Dido and A.R. Rahman
• “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Music and lyrics by Randy Newman
Performed by Randy Newman
• “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque”
Music and lyrics by Diane Warren
Performed by Cher

DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR AWARD
• The Chemical Brothers: “Hanna”
Alex Heffes: “The First Grader,” “The Rite”
iZLER: “Hamill,” “Natural Selection”
• Henry Jackman: “Gulliver’s Travels,” “X-Men: First Class”
• Paul Leonard-Morgan: “Limitless”

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