From Obscure Underground Cinema To Oscar Nominated Film Gems And Chocolate Prizes: Brussels Independent Film Festival Announces Winners Of 2022 Atomium Film Awards
After seeing its live screenings cancelled last year in light of Covid-19 regulations, the Brussels Independent Film Festival was pleased to welcome back guests in person for a special double edition this year. Screening both last year's selection (take a look back at the 2021 award winners on the website: www.brusselsfilmfestival.org/2021-edition), and the new 2022 selection, the event proved to be packed full of cinematic gems. Over the course of 10 days, the festival screened more than 200 feature and short films from 45 countries at Tour & Taxis, Cinema RITCS, Kinepolis Brussels, and Cinema Galeries. On closing night, this year's festival edition was concluded with a Filmmakers Networking Drink at RITCS Café, sponsored by CA/ST Casting Studio. The festival was also pleased to welcome several special guests at its screenings - filmmakers, actors and crew members of the official selection: Alisi Telengut, Anne-Sophie Reinhardt, David Borchkhadze, Goga Devdariani, Sandro Gabilaia, Maia Gurabanidze, Masho Tevdorashvili, Glenn Dumortier, Marius Lefever, Sylvia Borges, Leyokki, David Cabannes, Marijke De Belie, James Smith, Victor Ridley, Alice Spa, Alex Anna, Clément Natiez, Sonsoles Masiá, Simon van der Zande, Ousmane Diallo.
The 2022 Atomium Film Awards took place at Kinepolis last Friday. Winners were crowned with Belgian chocolate and thus edible medallion awards of the Atomium, made by 'Gault & Millau Finest Chocolatier' Wim Vyverman. These eight films were handpicked by this year's jury members as the 'best of the fest':
Best Narrative Feature Film: Humanization (Sweden) by Giulio Musi. To bring a subject as grief and guilt for the loss of a child in a magical realistic way, makes it all the more poignant. The imaginary takes over the narrative storyline. Is it a dream, is it the continuation of the nightmare, or a second chance that never will be fulfilled? The black white photography brings the story to its essence. A powerful film about a delicate subject, according to the jury.
Best Narrative Short Film: The Dress (Poland) by Tadeusz Łysiak. A deep portrayal of the protagonist’s life and struggle, together with the actress' terrific performance, make this a unique and powerful film, the jury members say. Strong cinematography and the use of handheld camera makes the story feel more personal. A universally compelling story, as it touches on the themes of love, desire, loneliness and rejection.
Best Documentary Feature Film: Khan's Flesh (Germany) by Krystsina Savutsina. With meticulous compositions and subtle associations, the filmmaker portrays life in a Belarusian town. Observational yet stylized vignettes depict inhabitants of different ages and classes, in moments of celebration, recreation or labor. The stratification as much as the rituals that structure daily life in the town are brilliantly highlighted, according to the jury members.
Best Documentary Short Film: Generation 328 (Belarus) by Veranika Nikanava. The jury found this a very well structured, shot and carried out production, with sound and music adding towards the overall tone of the piece.
Best Animated Film: The Fourfold (Canada) by Alisi Telengut. A very creative, mind-blowing and almost romantic way of making animation, jury members declared. A film with a very unique aesthetic to it, a visual feast of colors, textures, sound; and a moving, inspiring tale and exploration of human-nature relationship.
Best Experimental Film: Brutalia, Days Of Labour (Greece) by Manolis Mavris. The jury thought it to be a powerfully crafted dystopian, multi-layered dark short film that questions and reflects on many relevant issues of our contemporary society. They praised the brilliantly written screenplay, exquisite direction and cinematography, authentic performances and great production design. An intriguing and thought-provoking film.
Best Music Video: Bellydance Vogue (Lebanon) by Hadi Moussally. A beautiful film about rebirth and creating freedom for yourself. The images of the family dancing mixed with those of the director dancing by himself were found to be very powerful especially.
Best Belgian Film: High Jump (Belgium) by Lennert Madou. A very strong film with beautiful cinematography, deemed the jury members. They were especially blown away by the main actor's performance, whose physicality and truthfulness on the screen is breathtaking. A great coming of age story on how to connect with someone you love on so many levels.
A special thank you to this year's international team of jury members:
Eric Godon (Belgium), actor (In Bruges, The Missing, Undergods, Anna), director and writer.
Kris De Witte (Belgium), world renowned photographer known for portraits of David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and many others.
Maarten Cornelis (USA), veteran film professional and founder of Producer's Night Los Angeles.
Jane Ching (Hong Kong), festival manager (Sundance Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival).
Cherise Silverstri (USA) actress, producer, film festival manager (Super Shorts London Film Festival).
Naomie Bessirard (France), filmmaker and natural born film critic.
ABOUT THE BRUSSELS INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
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 and hosted many noteworthy filmmakers, such as Pedro Almodóvar, François Ozon, and Nanni Moretti amongst others. 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. 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.