In 2020, 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 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 2020 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 2020.

Join us!

Next to the main screenings at the Cinema Galeries and Cinema Ritcs 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:


Chocolate awards conclude the 2019 Brussels Independent Film Festival

The 2019 edition of the Brussels Independent Film Festival closed on Saturday evening with the presentation of the 'Atomium Film Awards'. The filmmakers were crowned with Belgian chocolate and thus edible medallions of the Atomium, made by 'Gault & Millau Finest Chocolatier' Wim Vyverman.

The prize for the best narrative feature film was a tie and went to both 'My Thesis Film: A Thesis Film by Erik Anderson' (Canada) by Erik Anderson and 'Majnuni' (Bosnia and Herzegovina) by Kouros Alaghband. In Persian and Arabic, the title 'Majnuni', translates as unfulfilled longing or a particular strain of love-mania that in some cases is aimed at the divine. In this film, we follow a modern-day Majnun, a musical stalker named Adnan, who stalks a broken family and his ex-lover through the war-torn spring of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The madness of his longing spirals him into a musical fugue where he begins to lose his identity and chases after his old love. The film was made under the mentorship of Béla Tarr and had its international premiere at the Brussels Independent Film Festival. The co-winner of the 'best narrative feature film' award Erik Anderson was present at the awards ceremony on Saturday to accept the chocolate award for his film 'My Thesis Film: A Thesis Film by Erik Anderson', which had its European premiere at the festival. A 4-hour long epic look on the struggles of a filmmaker and his quest for a thesis concept which will not only satisfy himself as an artist, but his university and the industry at large.

Belgian director Meltse Van Coillie was also present during the award ceremony to accept the award of 'Best Belgian Film' for her amazing short film 'Elephantfish'. In this film we find ourselves aboard of a cargo ship, drifting in an endless sea. This vast emptiness in time and space is something the sailors cope with in their own ways. Imagination rises from beneath the surface and gradually takes the helm.

The prize for the best documentary feature was for 'Acta Non Verba' (Switzerland) by Yvann Yagchi. 'Diva & Astro' (United States) by Angel Barroeta received the prize for best narrative short film. The best documentary short film went to 'Cleaning Schaerbeek' (Lebanon) by Farah Kassem. The best experimental film was for Matthias De Groof and his film 'Lobi Kuna' (Belgium). The best music video award went to 'Son Lux // The Fool You Need' (United States) by Jean-Paul Frenay. Last, but not least 'Shadow' (China) by Lei Lei won the prize for best animated film.

Out of more than 2,000 entries, 81 films were selected to be screened. All the screenings of this edition were practically fully booked. The 2019 edition started on February 10 in the Atomium and continued until February 16 with screenings at Cinema Galeries and Cinema Ritcs.

The Brussels Independent Film Festival found its inspiration with the Brussels International Independent Film Festival, which started in 1974 but ended in 2012. The festival focused on experimental, provocative films. Among others Pedro Almodóvar, François Ozon and Nanni Moretti were invited. "Our down-to-earth approach of the festival concept is being appreciated by both the audience and filmmakers.", says organizer Kris De Meester. "No red carpet, nor fancy parties or endless Q&A's, but intimate screenings of challenging work from across the globe."


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 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
  • Angie Obeid

    A great diversity of films and international filmmakers, intimate encounters and amazing audience.

    February 2020
  • We were worried about how our film would be accepted on the opening night, but I'm really happy to meet so many wonderful people and good impressions about the film.Thank you very much for the incredible experience!

    February 2020
  • Lorenzo Monti

    Great programming, friendly staff and nice locations! Thanks for the organisation and energy.

    February 2020
  • A lovely film festival in the heart of Brussels. I was blown away by the organizers and their commitment to challenging, eclectic, and experimental films alike. I was very honored to take home Best Experimental Film. Thank you Brussels Independent Film Festival, my award is delicious! :)

    February 2020
  • Kouros Alaghband

    I really thank Brussels Independent FF for hosting the international premiere of our feature. This is an intimate festival with a courageous taste in cinema. They were sweet enough to accommodate us there for the Q&A. All the films that were selected were given waivers. We need more festivals willing to take risks like this one.

    March 2019