Get ready for the 2022 edition of the renewed Brussels Independent Film Festival, an annual weeklong event that has highlighted independent and experimental cinematic talent for over 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 continues to emphasize lesser known, vanguard cinematic works and furthers its tradition of galvanizing budding talent. As in its earlier years, the 2021 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 creates a space for unique visionaries and voices. True to its history, the festival screens 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 wants to 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 next edition of the Brussels Independent Film Festival will take place in the heart of Brussels, Belgium in February 2022.
Next to the main screenings at the Cinema Galeries and Cinema Ritcs we’ll screen a selection of 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.
FREE ENTRANCE AND POPCORN
Entrance to the screenings is free of charge. Thanks to our sponsors we’re also able to offer complimentary popcorn.
THE RABBIT HOLES
In 2020, the Brussels Independent Film Festival launched a new section, 'The Rabbit Holes', where visitors can travel down a cinematic rabbit hole of offbeat, weird, wonderful, poetic, surreal or abstract films for free for the duration of the festival. For its 2022 edition, the festival will go underground again with a selection of experimental films (narrative films, documentaries, animations, music videos...) by artists from all over the globe. The vaulted rooms of the underground exhibition hall at Cinema Galeries will serve as the setting for the weeklong continuous screenings of carefully selected works on different screens. It will feature different works that adopt alternative approaches to filmmaking. They are sometimes profoundly personal, other times formally radical explorations of image, sound and atmosphere. Making films is truly the process of creating art – vibrant, living works that evoke emotion and resonate with viewers. This essential truth often gets lost in today’s world, which sees cinema as a means of commerce and often overlooks obscure and experimental works of great value but limited box office appeal.
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.
EDIBLE FILM AWARDS
During the Brussels Independent Film Festival we'll reward the best films with an Atomium Film Award. Made out Belgian chocolate, it's the first edible film award.
CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM
Brussels Independent Film Festival supports the Connecting Cultures Program by The Bigger Screen. Each year, The Bigger Screens select ten countries and grant filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission. From February 2021 until February 2022 included, The Bigger Screen Connecting Cultures Program supports filmmakers based in the following countries: Burundi, Eritrea, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Iran.
Check out our IMDB listing: http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000970/
ABOUT THE PREVIOUS EDITION: 'BRUSSELS INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2021'
Brussels Independent Film Festival announces winners of Atomium Film Awards 2021
For the 2021 edition of the Brussels Independent Film Festival, 113 films out of more than 2,500 entries from all over the globe were selected to be screened at different locations in the heart of Brussels. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and government regulations, a live event was not in the cards on the foreseen dates. As previously announced, the Brussels Independent Film Festival team decided to postpone this year's screenings by a year. This means we will be hosting a double edition in 2022, in which both the 2021 and 2022 official selections will be screened.
However, an international team of 17 jury members was assembled to view and rate this year's selection. We are happy to share with you today the 2021 Atomium Film Award winners.
The prize for the Best Narrative Feature Film went to Murmur (Canada) by Heather Young. “Donna has recently been convicted of “Driving While Impaired” and is ordered to perform community service at the local animal shelter. When an elderly dog is scheduled to be euthanized, Donna decides to take the dog home and quickly realizes his companionship can ease her loneliness. In a futile attempt to fill the emptiness she feels, Donna begins to take home more and more animals and she is soon in over her head.” The jury members especially appreciated the way director Heather Young creates a sense of isolation and loneliness. The impressive and realistic performance by the protagonist and the animals also stood out.
Ala Kachuu - Take and Run (Switzerland) by Maria Brendle received the award for Best Narrative Short Film. “Sezim (19) wants to fulfill her dream of studying in the Kyrgyz capital when she gets kidnapped by a group of young men and taken to the hinterland. There she’s forced to marry a stranger. If she refuses the marriage, she is threatened with social stigmatization and exclusion. Torn between her desire for freedom and the constraints of Kyrgyz culture, Sezim desperately seeks for a way out.” The jury team deemed this a very strong, very necessary film, and an absolute surprise. They admired the beautiful lensing, strong main character and good editing.
Best Documentary Feature Film went to The Damned - Stories of Slaughterhouse Workers (France) by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt. “Slaughterhouse workers talk about their work. Their testimonies reveal how this “world apart”, at the very limits of the human condition, affects the health of workers. The film relates the daily battle men and women who work in slaughterhouses have to fight against their own emotions to hold on”. Through the course of their stories, the mental images that inhabit them are gradually revealed, and in places, one can guess all those they prefer not to deliver. Shot in the forest, a symbolic space of refuge and isolation, the documentary does not show any image captured in a slaughterhouse.” The jury members noted that it turns out that the words of those who are never heard and generally perceived as monsters are enough to replace any image. This unique perspective incites to a deeper reflection on the matter. Slaughterhouses are not only the stage of animal suffering, but the hidden face of a dehumanizing and alienating capitalism, in which animals as much as slaughterers are essentially reduced to capital. Our jury believes this to be a meaningful and important documentary, which strength specifically lies in its genuine humanistic dimension.
My Own Landscapes (France) by Antoine Chapon was awarded with Best Documentary Short Film. “A former military game designer was spotted in a video game competition organized by the army. Before going to war, he made video game scenarios that prepared soldiers to cultural shocks and healed trauma. Once back from the war, his relationship with his identity, with life and with the video game changed.” This film, examining a video game that was designed to train American and French soldiers, was found by our jury members to be a particularly intriguing look on virtual warfare or as the filmmaker describes it “video games for war”.
The Natural Death of a Mouse (Germany) by Katharina Huber won the prize for Best Animated Film. “Some days she imagines that by her sheer will she can make body parts fall off of people who seem vicious to her. And some other days everyone around her looks beautiful. And when she was little, she wished that flowers would grow out of her footprints.” The jury complimented the impressive visual approach and great storytelling in particular.
The award for Best Experimental Film was for Wild Grass (Taiwan) by Shan Wu. “Following the journey of a Taiwanese woman from humid and dense Taipei to the yellow sprawl of L.A., the story reveals the conflict between expectations and reality while she finds herself struggling with a new language. She begins a relationship rooted in an imbalance of power with her American housemate. Her difficulties communicating lead to an awakening that forces her to look back on the culture that formed her, which she has been trying to escape. Through the protagonist confronting her own image and failures, 'Wild Grass' tells a story of reflection and an identity entangled with beauty, sexuality, nationality and two languages.” The jury members appreciated the film's amazing original images, as well as its very well structured storytelling. The perfect pace and apt slow build up were also thought to be of note.
Best Music Video went to CASS & LEX (Germany) by Phillip Kaminiak. “In his directorial debut, Berlin and Mexico City-based cinematographer Kaminiak embarks on a personal project where he attempts to deal with his previous relationships by training a lens on real-life couple Cassandre Clerc and Johannes Lex. By documenting their lives and translating their relationship into Dance, 'CASS & LEX' tells a poem about the beauty and the horror of love.” The jury praised the great cinematography and editing, and saw in director Phillip Kaminiak a promising new voice.
And last but not least, Best Belgian Film was awarded to Da-Dzma (A Sister and a Brother) (Belgium) by Jaro Minne. “Winter. A fifteen-year-old girl in a remote Georgian village tries to get closer to her older brother, just as he decides to leave home in search for work abroad.” Our jury members noted the way how in this film, many things are said without being pronounced. Although they are physically together and related, the characters only appear in their solitude, in the midst of incomplete communication. The jury admired how the slow pace, off-screen moments and metaphors subtly and brilliantly depict this teenage girl's isolation and suffering, in a family whose precarious situation forces them to migrate.
We would like to thank our international team of jury members for taking the time to view and appraise this year's great selection of films.
Yuki Takafumi (Japan), 5 times Emmy-nominated producer.
Kris De Witte (Belgium), world renowned photographer known for portraits of David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and many others.
Paul de Ruijter (Belgium), line producer and production manager (Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac, etc.).
Maarten Cornelis (USA), veteran film professional and founder of Producer's Nights Los Angeles.
June Beeckmans (Belgium), producer and production manager (Terence Davies' A Quiet Passion, etc.).
Tinne Bral (Belgium), film festival director and film distributor.
Felipe Mafasoli (Brazil), actor and director.
Jane Ching (Hong Kong), film festival manager (Sundance Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival).
Cherise Silverstri (USA) actress, producer, film festival manager (Super Shorts London Film Festival).
Tab Goh (Belgium), visual artist and jury member for several film festivals.
Ana Corbi (USA), actress, artist and filmmaker.
Mieke Daneels (Belgium), actress/visual artist.
Veronica Ottaviano (Italy) film professional and team member of the Verona International Film Festival.
Sofie Hoflack (Belgium) actress, team member of the Doc.Berlin Documentary Film Festival.
Naomie Bessirard (France), natural born film critic.
Jonathan Hung (Hong Kong), film and theatre critic, filmmaker, film festival director.
Rainy Tao (Hong Kong), experienced film critic.
All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length. The Tarkovski Grant is supported by film festivals from all over the world. Find out more here: https://www.thebiggerscreen.org/the-tarkovski-grant
All selected films are also automatically in the running for Producer's Night.
Producer's Night is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their work screened to a private group of elite Hollywood producers. For many directors, it could mean their ticket to the mainstream. The exclusive screening presented by Cinematory, Tarkovski, and Hollywood producer Bhavani Rao, member of the PGA, will show the best of independent cinema from the past year's film festivals at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood. The only way to be considered for this by being selected at one of the partner film festivals. Brussels Independent Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information: www.producersnight.com
In an added effort to support new and emerging filmmakers, the Brussels Independent Film Festival will offer a free year of access to Videomaker's digital magazine to all filmmakers submitting their work to the 2021 edition. Videomaker Magazine is dedicated to video production, features tips and tricks for shooting and editing, buyer's guides for equipment, and editorial content on the industry of film. More information: https://www.videomaker.com
Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:
Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animated Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Music Video
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.
EXHIBITION & SCREENING
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.
LOSS OR DAMAGE
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.