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Phillip Bergson

Writing about Films and Festivals.

Film Critic, UK,Invited Member  of  The UK Critics' Circle

FIPRESCI abd the European Film Academy.

Visiting Lecturer, Prague Film School.

Winner of the  "Student Journalist of the Year" competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES",The Spectator,film critic on "The Sunday Standard", "Screen International",Variety, "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, and on the FilmFestJOURNAL in Berlin and Screen Dailies at Cannes,he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals and is.Casting Consultant on several international features. At the National  Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema,which was inaugurated at the Cine Lumiere in London by His Excellency the President of Iceland.

Presenter and Programmer,London Turkish Film Week, December 2018

Co=programmer, 2nd London Turkish Film Week, April 2019

Artistic Director, 3rd London Turkish Film Week, planned for 1-7 June 2020.

As a FIPRESCI Jury Member

and a member of  International Juries at

Thessaloniki, Europa Cinema (Rimini), Munich Documentary, Manaki Brothers,Cine Jove (Valencia),Chicago, TIFF-ODA, SOFIA...


Bringing the good news from Gent

Any autumn, the rendez-vous now most congenial for cineaste and cinephile just has to be Gent, the lovely Belgian medieval metropolis where the 35th International Film Festival of Flanders was celebrated in splendid style from 7th to 18th October, 2008. With gastronomic delights to rival those of Brussels (and not just chocs, chips and beers), Gent has the bustle and efficiency of the Flemish (think Swiss, with a sense of humour). In the centuries before Shakespeare was scripting,Gent was larger than London and second in size only to Paris. A textile capital and intermittenly a city-port, its wealth generated architectural monuments,well preserved today (we didn't bomb and the Bosch didn't bash them in the two world wars), as well as rich artistic treasures, with works by Hieronymous Bosch, Rubens, Van Eyck, Van Dyck, and many others offering incidental pleasures for the leisured festival visitor. The city is easily reached, with direct trains from Zaventem airport, and fast connections from France, the Netherlands and Germany, by road and rail.

From London, my own journey began in the sumptuous new twin-floor Lounge in the recently revamped New Gothic St.Pancras station, with a fast and comfortable ride on Eurostar to Lille Europe, where a smart, multi-lingual chauffeur was waiting with a gleaming Volvo for the 40-minute transfer to Gent, Ghent, or Gand (depending on your nationality and language) - from  city centre to centre, including the time difference that helps keep the UK from the Eurozone, took about the same time as reaching Heathrow from central London, and clearing security from check-in.

Since its inception in 1974 as a modest, student-type event what used to be called (in Flemish, since you ask) the filmgebeuren has grown almost beyond recognition, but it has not concealed its heart nor lost its charm and is still devoted to promoting disparate kinds of cinema.Now it is able to do so with a  much larger and highly professional team ,but it has not ignored the human scale and attention to detail - whether in the compilation of its excellent,bi-lingual catalogue, or the  attractive design points that direct the visitor to its offerings across the city.It still continues screenings in the original bijou art-houses, Skoop and Sphinx,in the centre of the city, but has long enjoyed the unrivalled facilities of the superb new multiplex , closer to the student quarter, which when it was opened was the Dekaskoop but has now expanded to house 12 full-size auditoria under the title Kinepolis, with larger screens accommodating 70mm, and sundry shops and eateries in house.

This year the Festival programmed 136 features from 47 countries in six of the capacious and comfortable auditoria in Kinepolis.Adjacent, a temporary Festival Village housed more hospitality suites and a gourmet restaurant, complete with candelabra, with nevertheless reasonable prix fixes for festival menus, within the pocket of most film-lovers willing to loiter within tents. A short walk away, a separate modern building housed the Press and Industry Centre, with ample viewing and PC facilties, meeting rooms, and another stylish bar.

Since introducing a Competition in 1985, Gent has focussed on "the Impact of Music on Film", with in this edition a six-strong  International Jury, including previous award-winner Andreas Dresen from Germany and Vibeke Vondelov, one of Denmark's leading producers, who judged 14 new features  and apparently already announced their awards- in Gent's historic City Hall-while I was still exploring the Eurostar Lounge in London! Fortunately, there was a subsequent press screening during my four-day stay of the Grand Prix winner,The Market, which although scripted and deftly directed by our own Ben Hopkins, is set and shot in Turkey and in Turkish, engagingly chronicling the tribulations of a hapless but hopeful small-time businessman in a land not yet within the European Economic Union.But it received a prize of 20,000 Euros designed to help the release of the film in Flanders and Brussels, and a further 26,000 Euros were awarded by the Jury to three other films with similar intentions.

Phillip Bergson


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