/about us

The renewed Brussels Independent Film Festival is an annual, weeklong event that highlights independent and experimental cinematic talent.

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). It 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.

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Inspired by that original movement, the revived Brussels Independent Film Festival continues to emphasize lesser known, vanguard cinematic works and further its tradition of galvanizing budding talent. 

 

The festival takes pride in its astute selection process. It is known for discovering hidden gems that later go on to successfully thrive at A-list festivals, with some films even catching the eye of the Academy Awards. In 2021 for example, the Brussels Independent Film Festival selected and awarded 'Ala Kachuu – Take and Run', directed by Maria Brendle, which was nominated in 2022 for an Oscar in the Best Live Action Short Film category.

 

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.

‘OFF ON’ SELECTION

As of 2023 our festival will enter an exciting new phase in its existence. Next to our physical screenings we’ll also be screening online with the special OFF ON SELECTION.  The OFF ON Selection will go online one week prior to the opening of the physical part of the festival and will stay online until the last day of the festival. Viewers will be able to watch, but not download your film. If needed we can geo-block your film to our region.

We’re open to any genre (narrative, web series, made for tv, documentary, experimental …) and especially any duration (which is always an issue for the physical part of the festival). Selected filmmakers will receive all official selection perks (The Tarkovski Grant, The Producer’s Night nomination, …) and are in the running for any of the award titles. When you submit your film for consideration to both a physical section and the Off On Selection it is possible to be selected for both, but this is of course not guaranteed. Filmmakers that submit their film only to any of the other sections (so any other than the Off On Selection) will not be selected for an online screening.

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

/proud partner of The Bigger Screen

Brussels Independent Film Festival is supported by The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. 

Supporting Film Festivals: Film festivals are not only a place to share films, but they are a safe haven for film makers to connect, share, and learn. The Bigger Screens supports and engages with over 25 respected international film festivals from mainstays like the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Brussels Independent Film Festival to emerging events such as the Venice Film Week and The Producer’s Night Los Angeles. These events bring filmmakers and filmgoers together, providing that place to connect and engage in a comfortable setting, away from Hollywood glitz and glamour.

 

Connecting Cultures Program: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects ten countries and grants 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. 

Local Filmmakers Program: We understand that the cost of making a film can be taxing, so to encourage rising talent, we waive the festival submission fee to local talent. With numerous worldwide locations for festivals, this provides great opportunity for filmmakers around the world to enter the international film scene. This opportunity opens the world of film. Think global, act local, right?

Inclusive Audience Program: Our screenings are always low or even free of charge to provide opportunity for interested film goers to view up and coming, challenging, and inspiring pieces of art, encouraging students, seniors, and those in underprivileged environments to share the experience of film and cinema. We welcome film goers, regardless of income and financial status.

The Tarkovski Grant: 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.

/previous editions

Find out all about the previous editions of the Brussels Independent Film Festival: