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Brussels Short Film Festival marks 25th anniversary edition

The Brussels Short Film Festival
18:07 12/04/2022

The Brussels Short Film Festival (BSFF) celebrates its 25th anniversary in cinemas across the capital from 20 to 30 April.

For the occasion, the festival is screening some of its most treasured films from the past quarter century as well as some excellent new productions.

Launched in 1998 by Céline Masset and Pascal Hologne when they were students, the festival was simply intended to be a bit of fun.

Says Masset: “We saw it as a one-shot event, we had no intention of creating an annual festival, we just wanted to have a party with friends and people from the world of cinema.”

However, the festival has grown into such a major platform for short films that festival winners are pre-selected for the Academy Awards. It’s also become one of the capital’s favourite movie events.

BSFF On Demand - Sisters

Special anniversary programmes

For its silver anniversary edition, organisers decided to dip into their extensive archives. “We asked the public as well as a special group of festival regulars to select their favorites of the years gone by (including Sisters, pictured). We’ve organised them into programmes such as the BSFF All-Stars, the BSFF Hall of Fame, free outdoor evening screenings at the Mont des Arts and a selection of films about unexpected birthday events called Crappy Birthday,” she adds.

For the three competitions (International, National and Next Generation) they received almost 5,000 submissions. This translated into at least 1,000 hours of viewing by the programming staff to winnow the number down to 120 competition films.

Cyclistes film - Arte programme

Shorts from around the world

Festivalgoers are treated to a panoramic view of short films from across the entire globe. New this year, European culture TV channel Arte is presenting a programme of its favourite recent animation films (including Cyclistes, pictured). While Brussels, Budapest and Berlin are behind Ghosts of Europe, screening films about European values and identities.

Returning this year are films from the Seoul International Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival, the Very Short Shorts (films under four mins), Trashy Shorts and the night owls’ favorite, the Night of the Shorts that lasts into the wee hours. In all, the festival consists of 339 films of which 133 are in competition.

Another festival regular is a wide range of workshops. “It’s important for us to organise workshops for the younger generation, young directors, young actors, so there are workshops on film production, on screenwriting, on networking with producers and composers, all the people who make movies.”

Festivalgoers also have the opportunity to meet film professionals while the latter can enjoy networking opportunities around the festival’s Film Market.

“We invite the TV buyers and the festival programmers to come to Brussels and screen the films. It’s important to promote our cinema and we are very happy that they come each year to buy for the major TV channels and festivals,” says Masset.

The Brussels Short Film Festival

Festival hub under big top

The festival is famous for its Belgian conviviality with a big top erected for the occasion on Place Sainte-Croix in front of Flagey arts centre.

“It’s very, very important for us; the tent is the place where you can meet the directors, the actors, all the people in the films. It’s open for everybody, it’s free and it’s open from noon to midnight, plus later,” she concludes.

The Brussels Short Film Festival, 20-30 April, cinemas across the city. Photos: (main image and festival tent) © Boris Radermecker & Sarah Geerits. Sorry! Our prize giveaway has now closed and the winners have been notified.

Written by Richard Harris