Wim De Witte's favourites in Ghent
Wim De Witte Programme Director, Film Fest Ghent
The start of my degree in Press and Communication Sciences at Ghent University in 1988 also marked the beginning of my career at - as it was then known - Internationaal Filmgebeuren van Vlaanderen-Gent, now Film Fest Gent. I started as a 19-year-old steward and worked for many years as a temporary employee at different departments within the organisation. In 1994 I worked as the editor of the festival catalogue, print-traffic organiser and coordinator of the interns at the festival. In later editions I was also the festival’s press officer. From 1997 until 2000, I assisted the head of programming, Walter Provo. In 2000 I became programme executive, from 2011 to 2018 in close collaboration with artistic director Patrick Duynslaegher. In 2019 I became programme director of the most beautiful film festival in the world.
1) Arthouse Theatres
Obviously, I love spending my time watching movies and Ghent is the perfect place to do so. Not only is this city home to Film Fest Ghent, it also offers an immense variety of films all year long. If you enjoy blockbusters, Kinepolis is the place for you. If you’re more of an arthouse lover, Studio Skoop and Sphinx Cinema are where you need to be. These charming theatres have rich histories, excellent cafés and, most importantly, they offer an exquisite selection of films.
The iconic façade of what used to be the backbone of Ghent’s socialist movement, now houses an art centre and a lovely art deco cafe. The second home of every Ghentian, you can spend hours at Voo?uit co-working, having dinner, meeting friends for drinks, attending a performance or a concert, partying,... You name it. And during the summer, the terrace on the first floor offers shade, a cool breeze, and a wonderful espresso martini.
More hidden secrets of Ghent?
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3) Faim Fatale
This restaurant is one of Ghent’s best-kept secrets, as it is neatly tucked away between ‘t Zuid and Sint-Anna, a little off route if you’re visiting the city centre. Their menu makes it well worth the trip, though. As it only consists of one option, the chef essentially chooses your four-course dinner for you. And honestly, when the food is this good, who needs more alternatives? The patio in the back serves as a lovely lunch spot.
Yes, the food is great, but have you seen the interior? The industrial history of the building is reflected in the restaurant's decor. The bell-shaped glass ceiling of this three-storey former warehouse is supported by patina-coloured arches and a gallery on the first floor, which makes the space look like a cross between an antique railway station and a cosy little church. Anyway, go for the surroundings, stay for the amazing fish!
5) Paard van Troje
Paard van Troje proudly presents itself as an “offline bookstore”. So, to see what they have in store, you’d have to go and take a look. Luckily, there’s always a lot to see. The staff is perpetually ready to recommend you your new favourite book and - maybe surprisingly - they have an expertly curated selection of films and documentaries.
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