In 2019, the international film community will see the return of the renewed Brussels Independent Film Festival, an annual, weeklong event that highlighted independent and experimental cinematic talent for almost four decades.

The Centre Multimedia in Brussels founded the Brussels Independent Film International Festival (Festival International du Film Indépendant de Bruxelles) in 1974, to focus explicitly on super-8 films and other technically experimental cinematic styles. Although the festival was originally devoted to more highly experimental pieces, it expanded to include many different types of independent offerings.

During its original thirty-eight year run, the festival shone a much needed a spotlight on different, small national cinemas (for example, Lebanon in 2012 and Egypt in 2009). Ir ran a special competition for films by and for the deaf (from 1991 until 2012) as well and hosted national and international award competitions each year. It also created a program for young adults interested in making movies.

The festival has hosted many noteworthy filmmakers: Pedro Almodóvar (All About my Mother, Talk to Her), François Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Women), and Nanni Moretti (The Caiman). Unfortunately, in its original incarnation, the festival came to an end in 2012.

Inspired by that original movement, the revived Brussels Independent Film Festival will continue to emphasize lesser known, vanguard cinematic works and further its tradition of galvanizing budding talent. As in its earlier years, the 2019 festival will showcase films from a small, national cinema in order to examine the chosen culture’s filmic trends in more detail.

Most importantly, the Brussels Independent Film Festival will create a space for unique visionaries and voices. True to its history, the festival will screen films of both novices and veterans—with medium and low budgets—from all over the globe. The festival’s goal is to create a warm, open atmosphere in which filmmakers, fans, critics, and producers can watch the films of emerging talents, explore new cinematic techniques and styles, and award cinematic excellence.

The Brussels Independent Film Festival will create an intimate atmosphere in which to revel in the beauty and wonder of the cinema with like-minded cineastes from all over the globe.

The Brussels Independent Film Festival will take place in the heart of Brussels, Belgium in February 2019.

Join us!

Next to the main screenings at the Cinema Galeries we’ll screen a selection of 25 films in the most unique venue Brussels has to offer, the Atomium.
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It is now a museum and one of the locations of our festival.

Entrance to the screenings is free of charge. Thanks to our sponsors we’re also able to offer complimentary popcorn.

Located in the historic Saint Hubert Galleries, Cinema Galeries is dedicated to art house cinema, and complements a programme of contemporary filmmakers with exhibitions of modern art and educational programmes.

During the Brussels Independent Film Festival we'll reward the best films with an Atomium Film Award. Made out Belgian chocolats it's the first edible film award.

Check out our IMDB listing:

The latest edition of the Brussels Independent Film Festival closed on Sunday, February 18th evening with the presentation of the 'Atomium Film Awards'. The filmmakers were crowned with chocolate and thus edible figurines of the Atomium, made by chocolatier Wim Vyverman.

The prize for the best narrative feature film went to 'Bad poetry Tokyo' (Japan) by Anshul Chauhan. The debut film had it's world premiere at the festival and tells the story of a 30 year old aspiring actress who makes a living as a hostess at a shady club in Tokyo. Betrayed by her lover and her dreams crushed,broken woman leaves Tokyo for her hometown in the countryside after five years of no contact with her family. There she reconnects with an old flame but is also forced to confront some unpleasant truths about her past.

'How camels become lions' (Belgium) by Lydia Rigaux received the award for best Belgian film. "In four episodes, four members of a family tell how exhausted they are to work as a work animal. They realize that their work has no meaning and experience a spiritual emptiness ".

The prize for the best documentary feature was for 'Harm' from Hungary by director Dénes Nagy. 'Mum, I'm back' (Greece) by Dimitris Katsimiris received the prize for best narrative short film. The best documentary short film went to 'Sherry' (USA) by Eliane Lima. The best experimental film was for Alireza Keymanesh and Amir Pousti for 'Flatland' (Iran). 'SOG' by German Jonatan Schwenk finally won the prize for best animated film.

67 films were selected to be screened. The 39th edition of the festival started on 11 February in the Atomium with a selection of experimental films. Films were also screened in Cinema Galeries in the city center.


All selected filmmakers will receive a package of full waiver codes with partner festivals (Venice Film Week, Boston Short Film Festival, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, ...). The value of the package is an estimated 500 USD.

Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animated Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Belgian Film

We accept short and feature films up to 120 minutes: drama, experimental, animation, documentary, ...

The Brussels Independent Film Festival accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance into the festival. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each. The festival has the capability to screen BluRay and DVD.

Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of the Brussels Independent Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Brussels Independent Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Brussels Independent Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection. If chosen as an official selection, Brussels Independent Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the 2018 Brussels Independent Film Festival and all associated screenings. Location and timing of any screenings of the film shall be the sole decision of the organizers of the Brussels Independent Film Festival. Filmmakers will be solely responsible for all costs resulting from the submission of the film to the Festival including but not limited to postage or insurance of the film, and expenses of your staff or any representatives of the film. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

Although every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage to materials while in the possession of the festival, The Brussels Independent Film Festival is not responsible should any materials be damaged while in transit to or from, or while in the possession of the festival.

The filmmaker holds the Brussels Independent Film Festival, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the organisers of the Festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the Festival or from claims by any third parties.

The festival does not offer screening fees for its films. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation in the festival, should your film get selected for the program.

Since the festival only requires a nominal entry fee, we will NOT accept requests for other entry fee waivers.

Overall Rating
  • Topnotch communication with very excellent selection.

    February 2019
  • Eric Du Bellay

    Thank you so much for selecting OPHELIA. It was a great moment in Bruxelles. Great team !

    February 2019
  • Jess O'Brien

    Thank you for selecting our film. Gutted we couldn't attend but the communication was great!

    March 2018
  • natalia sardi

    Great film festival that promotes the art of short films. It was fantastic to be part of it. Thank you!

    March 2018
  • Florence Girardeau

    Very good quality, and very tasty rewards. Bravo to the team !

    February 2018