Brussels’ International Fantastic Film Festival & Amsterdam’s Imagine Film Festival

    For more than 30 years now, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival rouses the European capitol from its winter sleep for the most expected cinematographic event of the year. Bursting to the seams with amazing spectavles and original manifestations (the Make-Up Contest, the International Body Painting Contest, the Zombie Parade in the heart of Brussels, the Japanimation Day, the Manga Market, the Cosplay Contest, the renowned Vampire Ball and many other festivities) the BIFFF is a warm and atmospheric celebration of everything related to the genre.

    presentation bifff 2015

    The 2015 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival : April 7th-19th, 2015, Bozar Art Museum, Brussels, Belgium.

    During 13 days (what a magic number!) there will be more than 100 films shown, both world- and international premieres, ranging from Fantastic, Thriller, Science-fiction, Horror and Cult to Underground cinema, and special screenings such as the Fantastic Night and Midnight X-tremes.

    Bozar Art Museum, Brussels, Belgium

    Each year, the BIFFF (Brussels’ International Fantastic Film Festival) welcomes more than 60 000 spectators and invites more than 100 international guests, making it one of Europe’s leading film festivals.

    Brussels is one of the founding members of the Federation together with Sitges.

    From science fiction to cult, anime to fantasy and horror to experimental: the Imagine Film Festival, formerly known as the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival (AFFF), celebrates its 31st edition at the EYE Filmmuseum from 8 to 18 April 2015 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The theme this year is ‘We Love Robots‘.

    Imagine @ EYE

    Over the years, this popular event has evolved and matured into what it is today: an international film festival screening an all-encompassing selection of films. While the festival still screens the very best international horror releases, it has broadened its taste to include fantasy, cult, anime and science fiction.

    Beyond film

    Imagine isn’t only about watching movies. In addition to more than 50 features and 40 short films, both domestic and international directors are invited to discuss their work in symposiums, you can participate in a robot workshop, take in a lecture, or, for hardcore horror fans, there’s the annual Night of Terror at Amsterdam’s Pathé Tuschinski.

    It’s been 29 years since, with the first Weekend of Terror, foundations were laid for the current Imagine Film Festival, Amsterdam.

    The WoT in those days was as much a meeting place for film fans who could feast on Italian zombie films to the point of collapse, as for those who were in unanimous agreement that the work of David Cronenberg deserved to be taken seriously.

    Since that first Weekend of Terror, the ‘fantastic’ offering has become a great deal more diverse, and the public’s taste has likewise become more sophisticated. Whereas hard core horror fans considered it sacrilege when in the late eighties the festival screened its first Japanese animation film, today films of that same genre are among the most popular with our patrons.

    Today, ‘The Night of Terror’, keeps the memory of the WoT alive with a midnight marathon of four horror films, for an audience of about 500 in Amsterdam’s extravagant art deco Tuschinski theatre.

    In 2012, the films that Imagine had on offer ranged from the Indonesian martial arts The Raid to Hitchcockian thriller Mientras Duermes, from romantic sci-fi Extraterrestre to the Japanese anime A Letter to Momo. In 2012 Imagine presented nearly 50 feature films and 25 shorts. It also presented a masterclass, a symposium and lots of Q&A’s with directors, writers and actors. Total attendance amounted to 17.000.

    Every year the festival presents its Career Achievement Award to a filmmaker with an outstanding track record in the field of fantastic cinema. In recent years filmmakers such as Dario Argento, Paul Verhoeven, Ray Harryhausen, Roger Corman, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton and Rutger Hauer came to Amsterdam to personally accept the award.

    Imagine has, in more than a quarter of a century, grown into a mature ‘player’ on the festival circuit. As a member of the EFFFF (European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation) it promotes European fantastic cinema through the Méliès competition for both feature length and short films.

    Imagine has come a long way, but through the years has retained its adventurous outlook. It hosts blockbusters as well as low budget independent productions from all over the world. Being relatively small, it also has lost none of its original accessibility and relaxed atmosphere.

    The annual Imagine Festival started out in 1984 as The Weekend of Terror, a two-night “mini-festival” of horror, sci-fi and fantasy films. This small-scale event eventually became a festival of 12 days, reaching a wider audience with a great variety of genre films from all over the world, almost all of them Dutch premieres or single theatrical presentations. At Imagine, movie lovers can indulge in the best, weirdest and most adventurous that the fantasy, horror, science-fiction, animation and thriller genres currently have to offer.

    At present the festival program encompasses a main course of new features, theme programmes, a section of fantastic short films and the nightly horror marathon The Night of Terror. Apart from the Méliès Awards the festival hands out three other prizes: the self-explanatory Career Achievement Award, the Silver Scream Award for the film most popular with the audience, the Black Tulip Award for best feature and the Time Capsule Award for the best 30 second Imagine leader. But Imagine Film Festival is much more than the sum of its 70+ features and short films.

    Additions to the menu are an annual symposium and a masterclass for aspiring filmmakers, taught by experienced professionals. Moreover, the festival is also the place where fans of the fantastic can meet & greet the men and women behind their favourite film in an informal atmosphere. Imagine may have matured considerably over the past years, it has nonetheless retained its distinctive relaxed charm.

    The spacious Arena with its bar-restaurant offers a panoramic and filmic view of the river and the city and can be visited free of charge. Entrance to the Panorama, the permanent display about EYE’s collection and the technological development of film, is also free. Tickets for film screenings and for the large temporary exhibitions in the exhibition space on the second floor are available from the front desk. Exhibitions are free for Museum Card holders.

    EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam :


    • Members of EFFFF

      Brussels’ International Fantastic Film Festival and Amsterdam’s Imagine Film Festival are members of the EFFFF (European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation).The European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (the Federation) is a tightly knit network of 22 film festivals from 15 countries, with a global attendance of more than 450 000 visitors, making it a vital economic and cultural player on the fantastic film scene. Click here for more information.


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