The  Dragon Festival

Ghent bell tower The famous Gent bell Tower is crowned by a huge gilded dragon with outstretched wings and breathing a tongue of fire...this is the symbol of the city and was a natural choice for the title and logo of the bienial International Film Festival - organised by the Film & Videoclub De Drake (the dragon).

November 4th-7th were the dates of the 1999 event and, this year in addition, on the Sunday was a special competition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of Frederic Chopin. Over the period 79 films and videos from 14 countries were viewed by the jury and a public audience and on the Sunday, after the presentation of the Chopin entries, the findings of the jury were announced.

This was the second occasion that IAC past president - Gerald Mee, was invited to serve on the International Jury. There were seven members of the main panel (from Belgium,France, Switzerland and Great Britain) and five for the Chopin entries (Belgium and Great Britain). Terry Mendoza had been asked to serve on the latter.

There were 10 entries under the British flag; actually, a number of them were from British workers in American film schools. Four British entries received awards and 'special' prizes:

  • MAISIE (by Brian Dunckley) was awarded a prize for the best 'Period Setting'
  • ONE MORE SHOT (Teign/Ken Baylis - for the humorous ending! This was also 'nominated' for Ken's acting, as was his performance in THE AUTUMN YEARS.

Ken Baylis, Brian Dunckley and their wives were at the festival and, of course, Terry Mendoza. Valrie Ellis, IAC Chairman, accompanied me.

The festival was once again very well organised and the projection was faultless. Much of the 'back-room' work that was involved in the preparatory work of the festival was carried out most efficiently by the secretary, Christiane Surdiacourt, and the De Drake Club team with Wolfgang Freier as its President.

Gerald Mee November 20th 1999

Publication with thanks to the IAC

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