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Brussels Independent Film Festival announces winners of 2020 Atomium Film Awards

The 2020 edition of the Brussels Independent Film Festival closed Saturday evening after a week full of films from all over the globe with the presentation of the 'Atomium Film Awards'. The filmmakers were crowned with edible chocolate awards made by Belgian chocolatier Wim Vyverman.


The prize for the Best Narrative Feature Film went to 'The Names Of The Flowers' (Bolivia) by Bahman Tavoosi. As Bolivia stages the 50th anniversary of Ernesto "Che" Guevara’s death, Julia, an old countryside teacher, is invited to share her historical story with the world: giving a bowl of soup to the captured guerrilla in her classroom, while he recited a poem about flowers to her, a few hours before his death. The invitation is withdrawn soon after, as other women step forward, claiming the story of “the soup and the flower” as their own. The jury members praised the film's “remarkable color design and framing”, as well as its “breathtaking performances”.

'Hollow Heart' (Denmark) by Emilie Marloth Frøkjær received the award for Best Narrative Short Film. Ellen has achieved great success on the art scene with her installation piece "Hollow Heart", where she scans and projects her sick daughter's heart in front of a live audience. As the press begins to doubt Ellen's talent, she chooses to restage the piece bigger and wilder. But as her daughter Adalyn enters puberty and is more fragile than ever, Ellen must choose between chasing fame or assuring Adalyn's health. The jury found the film an “astounding piece of cinema which deeply resonates”.

Best Documentary Feature Film went to 'House Calls' (Germany) by Anne Münch. A portrait about an 80-year-old philosopher who goes from door to door to prepare people for the great occasion of Immanuel Kant’s 300th birthday. In search of closeness, he wants to get to the bottom of the pressing issues of our time. “The goal of getting philosophy demystified and bringing it to the people was very well achieved”, reported one jury member.

'PACIFIC' (Lebanon) by Angie Obeid was awarded with Best Documentary Short Film. This observational documentary follows a group of inhabitants of a Brussels high-rise building named 'PACIFIC', in the aftermath of the suicide of one of its tenants. 

'ON' (Australia) by Jelena Sinik won the prize for Best Animated Film. In our age of attention scarcity, ‘ON’ explores just where our gaze is falling. Take a curious and playful glimpse into both the connectedness and enduring loneliness of the modern condition, through this intimate and unexamined lens.

The award for Best Experimental Film was for 'Shelly' (United States) by Katie Vida. 'Shelly' is a video work developed entirely on Snapchat, the app known for its face altering features. The piece includes filtered selfie video diaries by Kentucky native Shelly, who has exhausted her savings on an Airbnb rental to explore New York. Her meanderings are meaningful for their short-lived revelations. 'Shelly' sheds light on smartphone technology as a form of embodiment, elucidation, connection, and at times, detachment.

Best Music Video went to 'Worthless' (Germany) by Robert Piel for the band Sabbath Assembly. The video tells the coming-of-age tale of a young man as he claims his territory and his sexuality in the face of an adversarial peer group and family. Set in a provincial rural setting, the protagonist finds his identity in skateboarding, brawls, and self-harm, ultimately individuating in an act of extreme savagery. Our jury members praised the “original camera work” in particular.


And last but not least, Best Belgian Film was awarded to 'Int.Anouchka-Night' (Belgium) by Louise Hansenne. Anouchka is a 30-year-old scriptwriter who works in a wine bar to earn a living. She retraces her last 15 years of alcoholism through a script she wrote. “Anouchka is imperturbable and very solid but she opens up and becomes very fragile”, the jury thought. “An excellent film about alcoholism that brought up as many questions as it answered.”


Out of more than 3,000 entries, 100 films from all over the globe were selected to be screened at different locations in the heart of Brussels. The festival's newest section, 'The Rabbit Holes' also proved to be a hit. The vaulted rooms of the underground exhibition hall at Cinema Galeries served as the setting for the continuous screenings of a careful selection of experimental films. 

"We do not have a red carpet, we do not organize fancy parties. We just want to show films", says organizer Kris De Meester. "We are especially happy this year with the large turnout – we had people sitting on the stairs at times – for a selection of what are arguably sometimes challenging films.”


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.


The 2020 edition was yet another successful one, with a record number of attendees and the continued support of the Atomium, Cinema Galeries and Cinema Ritcs.

Official selection 2020

Best Narrative Feature Film: The Names Of The Flowers (Canada) by Bahman Tavoosi

Best Narrative Short Film: Hollow Heart (Denmark) by Emilie Marloth Frøkjær

Best Documentary Feature Film: House Calls (Germany) by Anne Münch

Best Documentary Short Film: PACIFIC (Lebanon) by Angie Obeid

Best Experimental Film: Shelly (United States) by Katie Vida

Best Music Video: Worthless - Sabbath Assembly (Germany) by Robert Piel

Best Animated Film: ON (Australia) by Jelena Sinik

Best Belgian Film: Int.Anouchka-Night (Belgium) by Louise Hansenne

Interrogation (United Kingdom) by Ivo Krankowski

KLOUT (Belgium) by Margot Van Mol

How Countries Fight Their Wars (Netherlands) by Thomas Loopstra and Maurice Baltissen

Woman Holding Perspective (Japan) by Nobuyuki Oura

Meli Melo (Belgium) by Julian Wolf

Shark Week (Canada) by Bri Proke

Transponder (Belgium) by Thomas Verijke

Tony Fraginals (UK) by Ben Young

The Gull Chewing Gum (France) by Guillaume Aubry

Obscure (United States) by Kunlin Wang

Comments (Germany) by Jannis Alexander Kiefer

Flut (Flood) (Germany) by Malte Stein

Fragile Machines (United States by Derek Johnson and Luke Smithers

Dunya's Day (Saudi Arabia) by Raed Alsemari

Kifaru (United States) by David Hambridge

Antílope (Venezuela) by Diego Murillo

Game (Iran) by Ali Haddadi

Miller & Son (United States) by Asher Jelinsky

Strokes Of Madness (Belgium) by Ciska Snauwaert, Sarah D'haeyer, Lena Dewaegenaere, Lander Haverals

Lie Detector (China) by Maximilian Gu

Affleure (Belgium) by Georges Vanev

We are all on the same bus (Portugal) by Nuno Serrão

Adam & Eve Mk II (United Kingdom) by Sebastian Kuder

TATTOO (Iran) by Farhad Delaram

Two (United States) by Vasilios Papaioannu

Consolar (United States) by Susan DeLeo

Wognum (Netherlands) by Tim Bary

A New Religion Called Love (Belgium) by Marisa Papen

L'amour (Canada) by Benoit Ouellet

Miss Chazelles (France) by Thomas Vernay

Melanie (Belgium) by Jacinta Agten

I Hate The Sun (Slovenia) by Fabris Šulin

Mer Bleue (Canada) by Cecilia Araneda

Salt Water (United States) by Abe Abraham

Forgive and Not to Forgive (Hong Kong) by Elysa Wendi

Waiting for Jupiter (France) by Agathe Riedinger

It's wet ! (France) by Alexis Godard, Nan Huang

Shooting Crows (Switzerland) by Christine Hürzeler

Why do men live before they die ?! (France) by Théo Fiette

Zeinab on the Scooter (Lebanon) by Dima El-Horr

Pandemia (Hong Kong) by Yiannis Biliris

At Dawn the Flowers Open the Gates of Paradise (United Kingdom) by Elzbieta Piekacz

Matter Out of Place (United States) by Oona Taper

Sam Tudor - Joseph in the Bathroom (Canada) by Lucas Hrubizna

hier. (somewhere.) (Belgium) by Joy Maurits

A Walk (Russian Federation) by Ivan Arkhipov

In Passing (Canada) by Esther Cheung

Gypsy Hunt (Denmark) by Mikkel Andreas Smidt

On Color (Turkey) by Hüseyin Mert Erverdi

Ellinikon (Greece) by Konstantinos Prepis

Lone in the Dark (Poland) by Tomasz Chrapusta

F For Freaks (Germany) by Sabine Ehrl

Birth of a Poet (United States) by James Franco, Pedro Gómez Millán, Zachary Kerschberg

Petty Thing (China) by Li zexi

Short Calf Muscle (Netherlands) by Victoria Warmerdam

Rhizoma (Belgium) by Santiago Pérez Rodríguez

Tungrus (India) by Rishi Chandna

Fifteen [Quince] (United Kingdom) by Peiman Zekavat

023_GRETA_S (Germany) by Annika Birgel

On the Other Shore (United States) by Gus Reed

El Futuro (Mexico) by Ernesto Martínez Bucio

Vultures [Urubus] (Brazil) by Claudio Borrelli

Meltdown (United Kingdom) by Guli Silberstein

Mongol (United States) by Hao Zheng

Brick and mortar – MacGray (Belgium) by Aline Magrez

Light Matter (Austria) by Virgil Widrich

Decorum (Australia) by Lorenzo Monti

reading wild lands (dispersal 6-18-048-02 W5) (Canada) by Alana Bartol

DOMA KAK DOMA [Home is home] (Netherlands) by Eefje Suijkerbuijk

Invitation (Netherlands) by Sjoerd Martens

Wurlitzer (Hungary) by Balázs Simon

Buffer Zone Blues (Czech Republic) by Franz Milec

Bubbles of Time (Switzerland) by Bastien Bron

The Death of Mr.Tamimi’s Foot (United Arab Emirates) by John Haddad

Vipers follow You - Amon Tobin (Belgium) by Charles De Meyer

Sleeping with the Devil (United States) by Alisa Yang

Hubris - Simon Littauer (Denmark) by Ian Isak

July (Belgium) by Ian Menoyot

A Comfortable Hole (United States) by Fulla Abdul-Jabbar

The Divine Way (Germany) by Ilaria Di Carlo

Animals (Germany) by Jonas Spriestersbach

An Apartment In New York (United States) by Chad Knuth

MHD (United States) by Alejandro Watson

Autumn (Russian Federation) by Daria Elkonina

Fluorescent (Israel) by Avner Pinchover

At Jolie coiffure (Cameroon) by Rosine Mbakam 

Hallebaan 3 (Belgium) by Guy De Troyer

Tulipomania: On the Outside [Spinello remix] (United States) by Cheryl Gelover, Tom Murray

Chairs (Israel) by Avner Pinchover

Heilerijk (Belgium) by Zoë Boogaert

Perpetual War (Belgium) by Lydia Rigaux

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