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Antwerp Film Festival stops before it even started

16:57 14/11/2019
From Flanders Today

Calicot, the non-profit behind the new International Film Festival Antwerp (Iffa), which was meant to debut next March, has announced that they are putting the event on hold. The director pointed to the “current climate” in the cultural sector as the reason.

“After careful consideration and consultation with all stakeholders and existing partners, Iffa has decided to postpone the 2020 edition,” said Iffa director Bart Vandesompele. “Preparations were in full swing, but in the current climate among companies and governments, it is impossible to build relationships based on trust.”

Vandesompele is referring in part to the recent news that the government of Flanders is cutting cultural project subsidies by 60% but also to the decision by Antwerp’s city council not to fund the new film festival. “The current uncertainty with regard to culture has also put pressure on our file with the city marketing fund,” he said.

Calicot is not abandoning the idea of launching the festival, possibly a year later than planned.

In related news, the Watou Arts Festival in West Flanders could also be in trouble, as the organisation that runs it, vzw Kunst, has decided to give it up, citing financial strain. The city of Poperinge, however, which  had funded the festival for the last three years, has vowed to keep the popular summer art parcours going.

“The city and vzw Kunst have ended their relationship very amicably,” said mayor Christof Dejaegher (CD&V). “We understand their decision; over the last few years, it was difficult to make ends meet. The past 11 editions, though, have been extremely successful, illustrated by the number of visitors. The city council is happy that vzw Kunst is willing to share their enormous expertise with us.”

Last summer’s edition saw 21,000 tickets sold for the event.

Photo courtesy Iffa

Written by Flanders Today