Ghent focus on Germany, Turkey, Israel

36th Ghent International Film Festival runs Oct. 6-17

BERLIN -- German, Turkish and Israeli cinema will have pride of place at the 36th Ghent International Film Festival (Oct. 6 -17), with films from the three countries accounting for half of the titles in competition.

Andreas Dresen's "Whiskey With Vodka" and Florian Gallenberger's German Film Prize winner "John Rabe", the Israeli films "Zion and his Brother" from Eran Merav and "Eyes Wide Open" by Haim Tabakman and both Miraz Bezar's "The Children Of Diyarbakir" and "There" from directors Hakki Kurtulus and Melik Saracoglu will compete for this year's Ghent Grand Prize.

Other titles in the competition lineup include "Applause" from Danish director Martin Pieter Zandvliet, and "Altiplano" from Belgians Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, Dutch director Ester Rots' drama "Can Go Through Skin," and Norwegian title "Troubled Water" by Erik Poppe.

Cyrus Nowrasteh's "The Stoning of Soraya M.," a drama set in 1980s Iran starring James Caviezel and Shohreh Aghdashloo, is the only U.S. film in competition but the festival will feature the Benelux premieres of several English-language titles including Paul Schrader's "Adam Resurrected," John Amiel's Toronto Film Fest opener "Creation" Sophie Barthes's comedy "Cold Souls" starring Paul Giamatti and documentries "The Cove," "Food, Inc." and "It Might Get Loud."

Belgian Foreign Language Oscar candidate "The Misfortunates" from director Felix van Groeningen will open the festival and Fatih Akin's feel-good comedy "Soul Kitchen" will bow closing night.

Chinese director Wang Quan'An - winner of the 2007 Berlinale Golden Bear for "Tuya's Marriage," heads up this year's international jury, which includes Hungarian filmmaker Laszlo Nemes, Chinese actress Yu Nan, Belgian actor Filip Peeters and Swiss composer Niki Reiser.

Music is always front and center in Ghent and the festival's 36th edition will include four live concerts, among them a performance by Kevin Costner and his Modern West band and French composer and two-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and his Traffic Quintet.

Ghent closes Oct. 17 with the 9th annual World Soundtrack Awards, honoring the best in film music. This year's nominees include double Oscar winner A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire"), Reinhold Heil & Johhny Klimek ("The International") and Carter Burwell ("Twilight"). Ghent will also hand out this year's Joseph Plateau Lifetime Achievement Awards, named after the photographic pioneer and Ghent native, to actor Andy Garcia and French director Claude Miller ("Class Trip," "Little Lilly").